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altitude sickness

Jersey Shore
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altitude sickness

Has anyone experienced altitude sickness in Cuszco/ Machu Picchu? Are there any preventive measures to take such as exercises or medicines? We are planning an April trip with smarTour and would like to be prepared.

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Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu
Sacred Valley, Peru
Leicester
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1. Re: altitude sickness

I spend a lot of time at altitude whicc has included cuzco. The only thing you can do is to take 48 hours to aclimatise. The first 24 of which should be spent doing nothing - just hang around the hotel and relax. The second 24 can be spent gently walking around but still take it very easy. Some people recomend the cocoa tea, however, there is no medical evidence that it has any benefit at all, in fact all the independat testing shows it has no effect and may even do the opposite as one of the problems with altitude is fluid retention. There is a drug called diamox, but it is not recomended for altitudes at this level due to possible nasty side effects (normaly only really used for areas considerably higher.

For more info have a look at the british mountaineering council web site at http://www.thebmc.co.uk/world/mm/mm1.htm

Miami
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2. Re: altitude sickness

I was just in Peru and stayed in Cusco for 10 days. I was prescribed Diamox and it gave me no side effects whatsoever. It gave me relief from headaches and my shortness of breath due to the high altitude. There is also a "Soroche" ("altitude sickness" in Spanish) pill available in pharmacies, but in the more rural areas it did not seem to be available for I saw no pharmacies at all. I also recommend drinking "Mate de Coca," Coco tea to alleviate high altitude sickness.

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Peru
Peru
South America
Cusco
Cusco
Cusco Region, Peru
Lima, Peru
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for Cusco, Lima, Arequipa, Peru
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3. Re: altitude sickness

I agree with the opinion of¨"IIlovepiink".

You should take these pills 48 hrs prior to going to Cusco.

The best way to do it though is to first go to a lower altitude, like Arequipa or the Sacred Valley (2700 meters above sea level)and then after 3 or 4 days ascend to Cusco (3500 masl)

Strormy69 is also right when suggesting to take it one step at a time ang go slowly for the first couple of days, but pls, it is not cocoa tea ( cocoa is chocolate) but COCA tea, and it does work.

My daughter and friends have just been visiting and we all went to the SV first and stayed at www.urubamba.com and no one got sick.

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Cusco
Cusco
Cusco Region, Peru
Arequipa
Arequipa
Arequipa Region, Peru
Sacred Valley
Sacred Valley
Cusco Region, Peru
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4. Re: altitude sickness

We went directly from Lima to Cusco and spent three days acclimatizing in Cusco prior to our Inca Trail hike. We did nothing our first day in Cusco - and then walked around town the second day and did a "tourist" tour. We did the same on the third day prior to our leaving for the Trail. No problems with the altitude for either of us.

I would NOT recommend the Coca Tea as it gave me really bad diarrhea. My husband also got sick when hiking the Trail when he "chewed" on the leaves directly.

As for medication - I do not believe in taking a pill unless absolutely necessary. Get in physical shape before going to Peru - give yourself a few days of down time - and you should be fine!

Also, stay aware from alcohol the first few days at altitude.

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Lima
Lima
Lima Region, Peru
Cusco
Cusco
Cusco Region, Peru
Inca Trail
Inca Trail
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Machu Picchu, Peru
Peru
Peru
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Lima, Peru
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5. Re: altitude sickness

To JenniferPhoenix:

I have to completely disagree with you when you say that Coca tea gives you diarrhea.

The coca leaf is actually used, by the locals, to combat diarrhea and many other diseases.

Probably you got yr diarrhea from some other source, or even you got it from altitude sickness.

Coca leaf has been used by the locals for hundreds of years and it is considered a sacred leaf.

Go to http://cocaine.org/cocaleaf/ for more info.

Washington,DC
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6. Re: altitude sickness

I just returned from Cusco. The hotels all have oxygen tanks so if you feel winded or nauseas they will supply you with oxygen. Just be prepared to take it easy the first day and drinks lots of water (bottled only).

Be sure to take bug spray and Imodium with you!

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Cusco
Cusco
Cusco Region, Peru
Charlottesville...
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7. Re: altitude sickness

You have a lot of information already. Remember, Machu Picchu is located at less altitute than the city of Cuzco. That helps a lot. Besides that, many factors including if you are overweight, or if you exercise should affect you too. I have been a few times to Cuzco, last time with my American husband and son. Took all precautions, saw the Dr., got the pills, rested for 3 days (stayed at Pisac, even less altitude), came back to Cuzco City and both my son and husband with shortness of breath in the middle of the night (I was scared but otherwise fine, must be my inca's blood). Staff extremely nice, came to our room with oxygen, in 10 minutes problem solved. Coca Leaves tea, did not help, but also did not hurt. We saw people much older than us, in better shape (fit), with no problem, so bear that in mind, and build your strength starting now with a regime of walking or jogging. And if you agree with your Dr., you should take pills, don't do what my husband did, he kept them in his pocket all the tiime until he was in bad shape, then it was too late to take them. Other sympton he developed was pressure in his head, a throbbing headache. At the airline counter they offered us 3 tickets to any place in Peru, if we changed our ticket for a later departure, same day...my hubby said NO! Let's go back to Lima (no more altitude!). Now he regrets it. You will be fine, using good judgement, listening to your body, and stop and rest when you need it, even if you have to stop the walking tour and take a cab back to the hotel. Take it easy and enjoy your trip!

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Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu
Sacred Valley, Peru
Peru
Peru
South America
Lima
Lima
Lima Region, Peru
Leicester
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8. Re: altitude sickness

I am astonished how easily anti altitude pills seem to be prescribed in the US. These are dangerous pills (They are often speed based and can have serious side effects) and in the UK and any one from any nationality who does serios altitude would consider it malpratice to take them for such low altitude - you do not need to take the risk, you just need to spend a couple of days aclimatising - this isnt anywhere near high enough to justify them.

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9. Re: altitude sickness

Stormy

You have been very lucky in not getting altitude sickness so you take it very lighly.

I know of cases of people even dying in Cusco.

Any precaution for not getting sick is good.

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Cusco
Cusco
Cusco Region, Peru
Leicester
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10. Re: altitude sickness

I have never heard of anyone suffering even acute mountain sickness below 4000m, and life threatening below 5000m. Although it can happen at lower altitudes such as Cuzco, you are more likely to be hit by lightening.