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Mountain Sickness

Mountain sickness is one's physical reactions to the climatic features of the plateau when one ascends from a plain to high altitude. Usually, the thin air, strong radiation and extreme coldness bring about such typical symptoms as nausea, headache, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, weak legs, purple lips and bloated abdomen and so on. People fear that it is too formidable to overcome. In fact, as long as proper measures are taken, most people can adapt themselves to the plateau, thus having a pleasant Tibet trip.

Kalama Mountain, Tibet high mountain The following are some tips to prevent or at least alleviate the uncomfortable feelings caused by mountain sickness. 1. Before your departure, you'd better take a physical examination. People with serious disease are not advised to travel in Tibet. If it is only a slight problem, you need not to pay too much attention to it, but remember to take some medicines. Try to get as much information as you can on mountain sickness and ask the doctor's advice. Some people say that it is helpful to do exercises before the trip to build up body resistance. It is not always true. It will sometimes only increase your lung capacity, which will in fact make it more difficult to adjust yourself to the thin air. 2. Work out a good itinerary. It is a favorable choice to travel from relatively low elevation. For example, you can travel first in Nyingchi Region, the average elevation of which is about 2,900 meters (around 9,514 feet), then to higher places. It is better to travel by plane than by road or by railway. The latter ways will not help adapt tourists gradually to the plateau, but rather make tourists too tired to adapt.

3. Take good rest after your arrival. People cannot feel mountain sickness until several hours after the arrival. If you are too excited in the first hours, you will suffer a lot when it comes. Do not eat too much. Your stomach may not work as well as it does on the plain. Besides, do not drink alcohol. 4. When mountain sickness comes, do not be panic. You can just sleep or take medicines following the doctor's advice. Tibetan doctors know too well procedures for curing mountain sickness. Do not depend on inbreathing pure oxygen. It will only slow your adaptation process.

5. Be careful not to catch cold. On the plateau, a cold can easily turn into dangerous high altitude illness. Wear warm clothes for the plateau is usually extremely cold. Take special care when having a bath. 6. Please be optimistic. Fight your fear of mountain sickness. When you overcome it, it will do you no harm. Generally speaking, this process takes 2-4 days or a little longer.
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