By Patrick Brighton M.D.
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Additional info for Hikers' and Backpackers' Guide to Treating Medical Emergencies
This pattern becomes more pronounced during sleep and can be very alarming to a tent mate. There do not seem to be any negative effects from acute episodes of periodic breathing. Taking 125 mg of Diamox (acetazolamide) before bedtime can help reduce or eliminate apnea. Second, when humans other than Sherpas or high-Andes dwellers ascend to the 14,000-foot range and above for long periods of time, they often demonstrate the rather impressive swelling of their hands, feet, and face. This is not a permanent condition—just really funny.
I cannot recommend this. However, if you are very experienced, and wish to do so, it is your choice. WHAT ARE DIAMOX AND DECADRON? Diamox (acetazolamide) works at high altitude as a respiratory stimulant—that is, it increases your rate of breathing. This usually 40 …high altitude… alleviates the headache caused by AMS. If you would like to engage in a lively discussion of acetazolamide’s biochemical mechanism of action and why it works the way it does, call me; we’ll have a latte. Some experienced folks recommend starting Diamox (125 mg, twice per day) several days before beginning an ascent; other experienced folks argue strongly against taking Diamox to prevent AMS.
22 …gastrointestinal disorders… Fluids are essential —especially electrolyte solutions, such as Gatorade, Cytomax, Gookinaid, and so on. Even if you throw up most of what you drink, it is essential to keep pounding the drinks. Antiemetic tablets or suppositories reduce nausea and vomiting (Phenergan works very well but requires a prescription and makes you drowsy). For diarrhea, Lomotil or Imodium work the best. Unless you packed a laboratory with a scanning electron microscope, you don’t know whether the illness is a result of bacteria, viruses, or what.