Altitude Sickness: Treatments & Prevention

by Kiran Patil last updated -

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Home remedies for altitude sickness include drinking water, avoiding exercise, and consuming acetaminophen, herbal mixtures, lemon soda, and ginger. Many people feel uneasiness and sickness when they climb towards high altitudes. This is termed acute mountain or altitude sickness.

Remedies for Altitude Sickness

While home remedies prove substantially helpful in dealing with the symptoms of altitude sickness, it is also important that one go for a proper medical check-up if the condition is severe. In addition to this, it is hard to get medical assistance in hilly and mountainous regions, therefore, one should be aware of certain treatments and remedies to prevent altitude sickness both before changing altitudes, and while you are experiencing it.

Combination Drugs

Treatments for altitude sickness include the use of medicines like aspirin (only for adults), ibuprofen, and more. To treat the condition, the doctor will prescribe medications for each symptom respectively, like Zofran for nausea, sleeping pills for insomnia, and so on.

They will also provide the patient with oxygen, if available, and other medications to lower the blood pressure levels, such as nifedipine. In advanced cases, incubation and breathing machines may also be required. For swelling of the brain (cerebral edema), they’ll prescribe dexamethasone.

In highly advanced conditions, surgery may also be required.


Rather than using combination drugs like aspirin, which have side effects, it’s advisable to use acetaminophen, a safer drug that confers instant relief from pain at higher elevations.

Home Remedies for Altitude Sickness

Home remedies prove substantially helpful in dealing with the symptoms of altitude sickness. In addition to this, it is hard to get medical assistance in hilly and mountainous regions. Therefore, one should be aware of home remedies to prevent altitude sickness both before changing altitudes and while you are experiencing it. Let us look at the different home remedies and measures to avoid altitude sickness.

Eat Digestible Food

Avoid eating heavy, oily, junk foods while ascending in height. You should also eat in small portions. Eat foods which are easily digestible, so your body doesn’t expend energy more than it can afford. It is also important that you add foods rich in carbohydrates in your diet, such as legumes, oatmeal, etc.

Drink Water

When your breathing becomes fast and deep, you tend to dehydrate at a faster rate. To counter this, drink water in considerable amounts to keep yourself hydrated. Be vigilant and check whether the urine is clear and in proper quantities. Alcohol can add to the dehydration problem, so it is better to avoid it completely, especially when you are climbing at higher elevations.

Avoid Exercises

Exercising should be avoided, even if it is not rigorous until you are completely regulated to the new altitude. Thus, when you are at high altitudes, invest more of your time in leisure activities, rather than in those which require the expenditure of energy.  Limiting exertion is better than using a bunch of different medications. Activities, like running, hiking, lifting, or straining in any capacity, can worsen the symptoms of altitude sickness.

Herbal Potions

These herbal potions are made from the common ingredients which are easily found at home. Ingredients include basic and normal things like lemon, water, ginger, garlic, and honey. Drinking the potion helps in building body stamina, and fighting colds, coughs, fevers, and headaches, while also providing the energy to combat the metabolic effects of high altitude areas.

Lemon Soda

This can be taken to prevent vomiting, the colloquial tendency. However, home remedies are more useful and easier to get. You can take a glass of fresh sweet lemon soda, digestive capsules made of herbs and natural ingredients like green mango, amla, ginger, or methi.



Christopher Hobbs, the renowned herbalist, believes ginger to be very beneficial when dealing with altitude sickness, as it plays a pivotal role in treating mild levels of altitude sickness. It is advisable to mix 20 drops of ginger liquid with a half cup of water in case you suffer from altitude sickness.

Travelers can experience High Altitude Cerebral Edema or High Altitude Pulmonary Edema, in which case, emergency medical attention should be sought out due to their life-threatening potential. However, home remedies can help prevent the condition from getting to this dangerous point.

Ways to prevent

  • In order to prevent altitude sickness or mountain sickness, one needs to follow a proper diet plan and take certain other measures like no consumption of alcohol and caffeine, no smoking, etc.
  • It is also important that you keep yourself properly hydrated while climbing; it is recommended that you consume almost double the amount of water that you may consume at home; this is because at higher altitudes the atmosphere becomes very dry, thereby increasing the need for water. Not just that, but the ascent should be done slowly and tactfully, as too much exertion on the body can cause or aggravate the condition of altitude sickness.
  • A proper diet while climbing a mountain should include both potassium and carbohydrates in rich quantities, such as broccoli, potatoes, chocolate, dates, and dry fruits.
  • Medicines can be taken before you begin the ascent, such as acetazolamide (Diamox) to prevent acute mountain sickness.
  • Besides, at night one should ideally sit by the fire in order to avoid getting hypothermia. Protection Status
About the Author

Kiran Patil is the founder of Organic Facts. He has a keen interest in health, nutrition, and organic living. He completed his B.Tech and M. Tech (Chemical Engineering) from IIT Bombay and has been actively writing about health and nutrition since over past 12 years. When not working he likes to trek and do gardening.

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