Causes of mountain sickness, symptoms, prevention, treatment, first emergency medical care.

The development of mountain sickness depends on age, gender, physical and mental state, degree of fitness, degree and duration of oxygen starvation, intensity of physical activity, altitude experience. Malnutrition and malnutrition preceding movement, lack of acclimatization reduce the body’s stability. 

Causes of altitude sickness, symptoms, prevention, treatment, first aid.

At an altitude due to a lack of oxygen in the air, significant shortness of breath occurs even with little physical exertion. Efficiency decreases markedly, and the recovery period after fatigue lengthens. From the digestive organs, there is a violation of the absorption of water and nutrients, the secretion of gastric juice. This leads to impaired digestion and absorption of food, especially fats.

. If under normal conditions a person releases an average of 3 liters of fluid, then with complex high-altitude transitions, moisture loss reaches 7-10 liters per day.

Insufficient oxygen saturation of the blood at an altitude leads to oxygen starvation of the most sensitive brain cells, which causes mental disorders. Changes in the body’s thermoregulation are noted, and those suffering from mountain sickness are more prone to frostbite than others.

The pain sensitivity sharply decreases, up to its complete loss. In high altitude conditions, pneumonia develops. Dangerous disease in such cases, often leading to death.

Mountain sickness prevention measures.

With a long stay at altitude, the body undergoes a number of changes, which are adaptive reactions to maintain normal life. Acclimatization depending on the length of stay in the mountains can be full or partial.

The period of partial acclimatization for each person may vary. It occurs most quickly and fully in physically healthy people aged 24 to 40 years. In conditions of physical activity, a 14-day period is sufficient for partial acclimatization.

A diet with a calorie content of up to 5,000 kcal with a 5-10% increase in carbohydrate content is recommended, especially glucose. Given the dehydration of the body, fluid intake should be at least 4 – 5 liters per day. It also requires an increased intake of vitamins (2-3 times), especially those belonging to group B involved in the oxidation process (B1, B2, B6, B12, B15), as well as vitamins C, PP, folic acid, vitamin A.

Perhaps the use of adaptogens. Substances that help the body adapt to extreme conditions: ginseng, eleutherococcus, acclimatizin (a mixture of eleutherococcus, lemongrass Far Eastern and yellow sugar). You can also apply the following mixture: 0.05 g of ascorbic acid, 0.5 g of citric acid and 50 g of glucose at a time or dry blackcurrant drink (in briquettes of 20 g) containing glucose and organic acids.

Symptoms of mountain sickness.

Mountain sickness can occur both suddenly, with excessive overstrain in conditions of oxygen starvation, and gradually. The first signs are apathy, fatigue, drowsiness, malaise, dizziness. If you continue to remain at height, digestive disorders, nausea and vomiting occur, the rhythm of breathing is disturbed, chills and fever appear.

Mountain sickness can progress. Headache is extremely aggravated, drowsiness is more pronounced. There may be nasal bleeding, shortness of breath is pronounced, irritability is increased, loss of consciousness, cyanosis of the skin and mucous membranes is possible. Sometimes this is preceded by a stage of arousal (euphoria), reminiscent of alcoholic intoxication.

Characteristic changes in human behavior in mountain sickness:

Apathy, great efforts in the performance of mental work or abandonment of it.
Difficulty concentrating.
Difficulty remembering, slow thinking.
Frequent and intrusive return to the same topic.
Touchiness.
Increased irritability.
Less critical of oneself and more critical of others.

Then there is excitement, expressed in a sense of complacency and a sense of one’s own strength. The patient becomes cheerful, talkative, loses control over his actions, can not really assess the situation. After some time, the excitement is replaced by depression, there is gloominess, contentiousness. The dream is upset, fantastic dreams arise, causing the patient to have bad forebodings.

With all these mental disorders, criticism of their actions and a real assessment of their condition are lost. At the same time, the patient is sure that his consciousness is not only clear, but also unusually sharp. An obsessive, crazy idea, a feeling of the absolute correctness of one’s actions, intolerance to criticisms may appear.

First emergency medical aid for mountain sickness.

It is imperative that all members of the group are attentive to each other and observant, so that they can prevent inappropriate actions of a comrade in time. If someone develops signs of mountain sickness, it is necessary to release the sick person from part or all of the load. Slow down the pace, make a stop. Often these measures are enough to prevent the further development of mountain sickness..

With an increase in mountain sickness, it is necessary to make a long stop and apply medications. In case of headache, analgin should be taken (1 g per dose, not more than 3 g per day). With nausea and vomiting – aeron, validol, sour fruits and juices. In case of insomnia, etaminal sodium (Nembutal), trioxazine, hot weak tea. At high altitude, pneumonia can develop. In this case, it is necessary to take measures to speedy descent to a height of 2000-2500 meters.

Based on the book SURVIVAL (Survival).
Koleda S.I., Drachev P.N..

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