Notices

Altitude Sickness & Diamox in Cusco

Reply

Dec 9th, 2011, 07:31 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 382
Altitude Sickness & Diamox in Cusco

We are going to Peru in January. We are in good health. Upon arriving in Cusco, we will be met and taken immediately to stay in Ollantaytambo, then to Aguas Calientes, then MP, then back to Ollantaytambo, and then we will be staying in Cusco for 4 nights, then Lima for 2 nights. Do you recommend that we take Diamox when we finally come back to Cusco, or will coca tea be sufficient to help prevent altitude sickness? What have your experiences been? Thank you very much for your advice.
wkwb42a is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 9th, 2011, 09:14 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 2,236
Well, altitude sickness is impossible to predict, even in the same person one one trip or another. Unfortunately good health has little to do with it. I've seen healthy people very badly stricken.

Your itinerary has some built in acclimatization, so if you stay well hydrated then there's a decent chance you'll do fine. Carry Diamox with you and take it if symptoms progress beyond a mild headache. Someone else will be along with a different opinion.

My personal experience is that I used it on several trips for a few days when climbing above 17,000 feet. I had a mild headache, it possibly helped ease that and maybe I slept better. But it was not a magic bullet. I stopped using it while still up high and did OK.

Staying hydrated is key.
Nelson is online now  
Reply With Quote
Dec 10th, 2011, 03:10 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 12,269
http://www.mdtravelhealth.com/illnes..._sickness.html


Correct info here it is a PREVENTIVE so personally

for short trips like yours begin it in Lima to be safe.

70-50% of folks doing what you are doing have symptoms

usually short of breath headache sleep disturbance.

So I always begin 48 hours PRIOR to rapid ascent to be

safest. I pick mine up in mirafloresperu.com pharmacias

no precription required.


Altitude Illness and Travellers Diarrhea are 2 biggest

causes of ruined bad trips so Itake both seriously.

Health and fitness have nothing to do with it we lost

a young Brit olympic rower last fall who heeded the "advice"

of one of the Tripadvertizer "experts" and chose not to

take a preventive and did some treking around Titicaca.

So rarely AI can kill the very fit better safe than sorry.


Happpy Travels!
qwovadis is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 10th, 2011, 03:15 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 12,269
Altitude sickness,
she was a day from death
www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1282844

pretty sad preventable.. my prayers go out to her family.
qwovadis is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 10th, 2011, 04:52 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,109
We chose to take it (with the same itinerary as yours) and had no problems with the altitude (beyond the obvious being aware of it of course). Our guide observed that sometimes "Pisco Sour Sickness" gets called "Altitude Sickness" - in other words no alcohol for the first few days. We observed that as well. Have a great trip!
Elizabeth_S is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 10th, 2011, 07:26 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 2,236
By the way, there is nothing wrong with a few cups of coco tea!

My wife and I visited this area many years ago and it still ranks as one of our favorites.

Have a GREAT trip!
Nelson is online now  
Reply With Quote
Dec 11th, 2011, 09:15 AM
  #7
ESW
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 728
As said before altitude sickness can affect anyone regardless of age or general level of fitness. Most people will experience mild headache (treat with ibuprofen or paracetamol) and breathless One of the important things is to allow your body time to acclimatise. Don't try and do too much when you first arrive. Take things slowly. (Very often young fit people are more prone to altitude sickness as they try and do too much too quickly). Starting in Ollantaytambo at 2792m before going on to Cusco at 3400m is very sensible. In fact it would be even better if you could get to Aguas Calientes for your first night as that is only 2040m and then on to MP at 2450m and then Ollantaytambo. Most people will have few problems in acclimatising at this altitude.

Even having acclimatised at this altitude, you may still experience problems at Cusco so again take it easy the first day.

Be aware of the symptoms of AMS and if you are experiencing problems don't push on in the hope that they will get better.
http://www.traveldoctor.co.uk/altitude.htm

we've never used Diamox (check with your physician first as there are several prescription drugs it must not be used with). Allowing plenty of time to acclimatise we haven't had problems with altitude but we have taken it very slow and steady.

Also check that your insurance does cover you for emergency evacuation if there are problems.

We've drunk coca tea. I'm not sure whether it helps but some people swear by it. The locals chew coca leaves but we've not tried this. (Don't try taking any home as customs will get very excited...)
ESW is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 11th, 2011, 11:55 AM
  #8
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 7
My trip to Peru will be next month, I am so excited about it but I am worry about altitud sickness, as i read in this forum best option is go the sacred valley first and the back to Cusco, i hope it helps !

thanks
javi342 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 20th, 2011, 08:07 PM
  #9
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 382
Thank you you all very much for your advice. We depart on Jan. 8. We are still trying to decide about taking Diamox. We have recently realized that when we were in Quito and Otavalo, after our trip to the Galapagos, we were not affected by the altitude there. Again, many thanks.
wkwb42a is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 24th, 2011, 02:06 PM
  #10
JBX
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 957
If you've been to Quito and were okay at that elevation, then should be okay for Ollanta, Agua Calientes, Machu Picchu. Because Cusco is higher still then likely will feel the difference ...... all have offered up good suggestions to take it easy when you do get to Cusco, chew the leaves/drink the coca tea, etc.

As for opting to take Diamox, that's tough call as you'll get as many pro/cons opinions. I discussed with my Dr. ( I have asthma) and chose not to take it. I definitely noticed difference at Cusco elevation, however was okay .... albeit did move a little slower.
JBX is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 26th, 2011, 06:47 PM
  #11
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 16,079
Pisco Sour sickness, LOL! I did suffer from that in Lima.

My own experience is that when I fly into a high altitude city, I need to be careful to walk slowly at first (you may feel your heartbeat speed up). Slight headache at night in Cusco even after 4 nights at lower elevation, which went away with Tylenol. I enjoy the coca tea. Hard candies and sips of water can also help if you feel a bit queasy. At the higher altitudes between Arequipa and Puno, and around the Bolivian Andes, I chewed coca leaves and it took away the headache and drowsy feeling with no other side effects (better than caffeine, really).

Take it easy for a few days, not TREKKING or carrying heavy luggage, minimizing uphill walking, not overeating, avoiding alcohol and caffeine, should be all that you need if you are not going higher than Cusco. Be aware of the symptoms and don't hesitate to ask for oxygen, most hotels will have a canister.
mlgb is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 27th, 2011, 02:03 PM
  #12
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 32,129
Seven of us arrived about 5 hours ago in Cuzco. We are all taking 125mg (I think) of diamox. So far all of us feel fine except for our fittest person who claims her heart is about to jump out of her chest. The diamox has left us all a bit tingly but no other symptoms.
colduphere is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 27th, 2011, 07:18 PM
  #13
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 16,079
Try drinking a Coca Cola, it is supposed to taste strange on Diamox!
mlgb is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 27th, 2011, 07:39 PM
  #14
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 32,129
Yes you are right mlgb. I forgot that the teenagers were saying that Coke tasted flat and weird. And I guess me forgetting they had said that would be another effect. Oh oh.
colduphere is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 27th, 2011, 08:41 PM
  #15
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 382
We are departing in a week and a half for our exciting trip to Lima, Sacred Valley, MP, and Cusco. Our doctor recommended that we take with us (in addition to diamox) potassium pills because diamox is a diuretic. Any comments? Thank you.
wkwb42a is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 27th, 2011, 08:58 PM
  #16
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 16,079
Travel clinic never mentioned that to me. The main reason I try to avoid Diamox is that you can't take Pepto Bismol simultaneously. Pepto has worked very well for me as a preventative for TD. It was only when I ran out in Bolivia (and ate at a highly recommended hotel restaurant) that I came down with a tummy upset. Whether it was the antibiotic or self limiting I'll never know but luckily it cleared within a day.
mlgb is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 27th, 2011, 09:03 PM
  #17
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 16,079
btw they're talking about you in the Lounge

http://www.fodors.com/community/fodo...re-in-peru.cfm
mlgb is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 28th, 2011, 05:38 AM
  #18
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 32,129
Those loungers need a life.
colduphere is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 28th, 2011, 05:13 PM
  #19
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 45,322
But cold, we are missing you and you know how much we love you!
LoveItaly is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 28th, 2011, 05:23 PM
  #20
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 9,885
If you are going to take Diamox, my understanding from my husband's experience of needing to take it is that it must be started about 2 days *before* you are going to be at the high altitude. My husband developed it for the first time somewhere in his 40s and it has gotten worse with every subsequent trip, which is sometimes the course it takes.

Have you had altitude sickness before? I think that is the main predictor, although of course, everyone who gets it has a first episode sometime!
socialworker is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:43 PM.