How to Prevent Altitude Sickness in Cusco?
Cusco, Peru is a popular destination for travelers seeking adventure and cultural experiences. However, the high altitude can cause altitude sickness, which can be uncomfortable and even dangerous. To avoid this, it’s important to take certain precautions before and during your trip. Here are 10 tips to help you prevent altitude sickness and enjoy your time in Cusco. Keep reading.
What is Altitude Sickness?
Altitude sickness is a common condition experienced by travelers visiting high-altitude destinations such as Cusco, Puno or Arequipa in Peru. Cusco, which sits at an altitude of over 11,000 feet (3,400 meters). The city of Cusco is a popular destination for tourists due to its rich history and cultural significance, as well as its proximity to Machu Picchu.
Altitude sickness, also known as (SOROCHE), occurs when the body is unable to adjust to the lower air pressure and decreased oxygen levels at high altitudes. The symptoms can range from mild to severe and can include headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, and shortness of breath.
If you do experience symptoms of altitude sickness while in Cusco, Perú there are many remedies that can help alleviate the symptoms. These include taking over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen, it is also recommended drinking coca tea or chewing coca leaves. It is important to note that while these remedies can help alleviate the symptoms, they do not cure the condition and may only provide temporary relief.
The Top 10 Tips for Preventing Altitude Sickness in Cusco
We have compiled a list of ten tips to help prevent altitude sickness and ensure a safe and enjoyable trip to Cusco:
1) Acclimate Slowly
One of the best ways to prevent altitude sickness while in Cusco is to acclimate slowly. This means allowing your body time to adjust to the lower air pressure and decreased oxygen levels at higher elevations. It is recommended to spend at least two to three days in Cusco before embarking on any high-altitude trek such as the Rainbow Mountain tour from Cusco or the classic Inca trail.
2) Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated is essential when traveling to high-altitude destinations such as Cusco, Perú. It is recommended to drink plenty, at least 3 to 4 liters of water per day to help prevent altitude sickness. Avoid alcohol and caffeine as they can dehydrate the body and exacerbate symptoms.
3) Eat Light, Nutritious Meals
Eating light, nutritious meals can help prevent altitude sickness. Avoid heavy, greasy foods such as pizza or KFC and instead opt for nutrient-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
4) Avoid Overexertion
Overexertion can exacerbate symptoms of altitude sickness. It is recommended to take it slow and avoid strenuous activities such as hiking or trekking until your body has acclimated to the higher altitude. As you want to go for a walk take frequent breaks and allow your body time to rest and recover, this helps a lot.
5) Consider Medication
Some medication can help prevent altitude sickness by increasing the amount of oxygen in the blood. Consult with a healthcare provider before taking any medication and follow the recommended dosage. By the way tour guides in Perú are not allowed to provide medications for any reason.
6) Drink Coca Tea
Coca tea is a traditional remedy for altitude sickness in Peru. It contains alkaloids that can help alleviate symptoms such as headache and nausea. Most hotels in Cusco offer Coca tea or Muña tea.
7) Avoid Smoking
Smoking can exacerbate symptoms of altitude sickness by decreasing oxygen levels in the body. It is recommended to avoid smoking when traveling to Cusco.
8) Consult with a Healthcare Provider
Individuals with pre-existing medical conditions such as heart or lung disease may be at a higher risk for altitude sickness. It is recommended to consult with a doctor before traveling to high-altitude destinations to determine if any precautions or medications are necessary. If you are thinking of doing the Inca Trail trek, think twice if you suffer from any of the mentioned diseases.
9) Monitor Your Symptoms
Pay attention to any symptoms of altitude sickness, if you are not feeling well it is best to stay and miss that trek. Don’t ignore symptoms like shortness of breath, severe headaches, or persistent nausea.
10) Be Prepared for Emergencies
In severe cases of altitude sickness, it may be necessary to seek emergency medical treatment. It is recommended to have travel insurance. By the way tour companies in Peru do not offer this service to their clients so that is why to take one before travelling to Peru.
In conclusion, altitude sickness can be a concern when visiting Cusco, Peru. However, by following these 10 tips and taking the necessary precautions, it is possible to prevent altitude sickness. Remember to acclimate slowly, stay hydrated, eat light meals, avoid overexertion, and seek medical attention if necessary. It’s also a good idea to bring a reusable water bottle with you and refill it frequently to ensure you’re getting enough fluids. By doing so, you will be able to fully enjoy your trip in Cusco.