Kilimanjaro Advice


Hi – I’m climbing Kilimanjaro in January for Alzheimer’s Society and went to see my doctor last night re jabs etc. We discussed Altitude Sickness and she gave me your website. 15 years ago I suffered with altitude sickness whilst skiing at Breckenridge in the US  – short of breath, headaches – still skied and used an oxygen machine in the evenings. Question is should I use Diamox prior or take some with me. Any guidance you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

I’m 52 and generally fit. – but know that means nothing


My suggestions would be:
Check out the altitude experience of the doctor who is coming with you or how they are backed up from home.
Check out the flexibility of Discover Adventures team…can it be split up if some people are slower than others? How do they deal with anyone having an issue with altitude?
I would certainly suggest you carry Diamox. It is not actually licensed for use at altitude, so you may find your GP is not willing to prescribe it – some will and some wont. Before you go out, you should try out a test dose on yourself, to check you don’t have any reaction and also so you have experienced the side effects that you might get, like tingling in hands and feet. You can find out more about it on the internet. A useful little booklet is the Medex booklet.  For prevention the recommended dose is 250mg ie 1/2 tablet twice a day and treatment is one tablet twice a day. Staying hydrated is extremely important.
If you have a chance to go to altitude again, either in the Alps or in the USA before you go it might be worth seeing how you feel.
Everyone is always feeling a big psychological push to get to the summit, especially when you are doing it for charity, but remember safety and your health comes first.
Dr Kitty Duncan

| June 1st, 2013 | Posted in Questions to the mountain doc team |

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