Health/Altitude Sickness

Acclimatization and Altitude sickness Ladakh is a high altitude cold desert with a low level of atmospheric oxygen. It is, therefore, absolutely necessary that visitors reaching Leh from the plains of India by air, give themselves sufficient time for acclimatization before engaging in any physical activity. The rarefied atmosphere may cause high altitude ailments like Acute Mountain Sickness, necessitating instant evacuation of visitors who are unable to get acclimatized.

Anyone travelling to altitudes above 10,000 ft (2,700 m) is liable to suffer from acute mountain sickness (AMS) unless properly acclimatized. The most common symptoms of acute mountain sickness are headache, disturbed sleep and loss of appetite, nausea, coughing, irregular breathing, breathlessness, lassitude and lack of concentration. If you are reaching Leh by air, it is important to take complete rest for the first 24 hours after arrival. Any kind of physical exertion is to be avoided. Smoking and drinking should also be avoided till you are fully acclimatized. The symptoms of acute mountain sickness generally develop during the first 36 hours, and not immediately upon arrival. Your body should get used to the lower oxygen level of Ladakh after 2 or 3 days if you have taken complete rest for the first 24 hours and as much rest as possible during the next 12 hours. High Altitude Pulmonary Oedema (HAPO) and High Altitude Cerebral Oedema (HACO) are very serious forms of acute mountain sickness. These are life-threatening ailments and warrant immediate medical attention. As a preventive measure, Tab Dismox 250 mg should be taken at the rate of 1 tablet twice a day for 3 days, atleast 2 days before coming to Ladakh or any high altitude area.

Healthcare & Medical Assistance

The main centre for health care in Leh is the SNM Hospital, which is well equipped and staffed by specialists to handle all problems. Elsewhere in the region, there are sub-district hospitals at block headquarters and medical dispensaries in major villages, which are staffed by qualified doctors. In addition, services of the following private clinics and associated facilities are also available in Leh.

Meditation Facilities

The Mahabodhi International Meditation (MIM) Centre situated near Choglamsar, Leh, offers regular courses in various forms of meditation under the supervision of trained teachers. The MIM Centre�s facilities are quite good and the charges are nominal, sufficient to cover the cost of food. The Centre also runs a branch within Leh town at Changspa. Meditation facilities are also available in Hotel Agling Resort on commercial basis in a package covering accommodation and courses.

Precautions

Acute mountain sickness can occur to any one at an altitude above 10,000 ft. from the sea level. The most common symptoms of acute mountain sickness are headache disturb sleep loss of appetite, nausea, coughing, irregular breathing, breathlessness, lassitude and lack of concentration. Since Leh Town is situated at an altitude of 11,500 ft. above sea level. It is advisable to take the following precautions, so as to acclimatize your body properly.

  1. Take complete rest for the first 36 hours of your arrival at Leh. However, this period may vary with different people.
  2. Your body should get used to the lower oxygen levels.
  3. In case you develop any of the above-mentioned symptoms, please consult a Doctor.
  4. Rescue and precaution for mountaineering and trekking in Ladakh Tourists undertaking mountaineering and trekking in Ladakh should take some precautions. There is no private aerial rescue agency in Ladakh and only as a life saving measure; engaging the Indian Air Force help in evacuation.