FACTS about ACCLIMATIZATION
Acclimatization is the adjustment of the human body to the diminished supply of oxygen at high altitudes. Bone marrow will produce quantities of extra, new red blood cells to take oxygen from the air in amounts needed for good health, but this process may take several days. Mountain sickness is caused by an insufficient flow of oxygen to the brain and other vital organs. It can affect anyone at altitudes above 3,000 metres (10,000 feet).
At Kilimanjaro, Meru and Mt. Kenya, all guests will feel the effects of altitude to some degree and many will experience a mild form of altitude sickness but the more severe forms of altitude sickness can be debilitating and even life-threatening if not treated immediately.
The following are suggestions as to how to clients can speed up the acclimatization process and increase their chances of a more enjoyable and successful climb:
- Drink Lots – Hydration is an important way of flushing out toxins from the system and ensuring that all bodily functions and circulation are improved. We recommend drinking 3-5 liters a day if possible; preferably during the day to avoid disturbed sleep
- Include Rest Days – Every extra night spent en route to the summit is a worthwhile addition and helps acclimatization
- Walk High, Sleep Low – Wherever possible, it is recommended that guests try to use any spare time in camps to walk to a point higher than that at which they would sleep. Their body will then acclimatize to an altitude with lesser oxygen and thus suffer less when they sleep
- Walk Slowly – Every extra minute spent on the trail is a worthwhile method of inducing the body to acclimatize. There is often little to do when reaching camp anyway, and it is the perfect way to take in the views and scenery of Kilimanjaro.