How to cope with altitude sickness in Cusco
Many people arrive to Cusco and as soon as they start to walk they feel the onsets of altitude sickness. Most feel better after a day or two but for others the symptoms can stay, preventing you to enjoy your time in Cusco or even missing out on treks or visits to Machu Picchu and other incredible sights.
Symptoms generally include:
- Shortness of breath
- Body pains
We have some suggestions on how to combat these problems and to get your holiday back on track.
Altitude Sickness can start from 2,399 m (7874 feet), so at 3400 meters there is a very good chance you will feel the affects. Taking a day or even two of little to no exercise will work wanders. However this is usually difficult in Cusco where everything feels like it is uphill but try your best. We suggest planning activities that don't include much physical exertion such as a Cooking class or Chocolate making workshops.
2) No alcohol
As tempting as a Pisco Sour is or even a cold Cusqueña is, your body will thank you for not having a mega hangover the next day.
3) Hyperbaric Chamber
A non-invasive and safe effective treatment for altitude treatment is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. It consists of getting into a Chamber where the pressure is slowly lowered to emulate 10 feet below sea level. This creates pressure which allows blood, plasma and other liquids of the body to absorb additional oxygen, greatly increasing oxygen uptake by the cells, tissues, glands, organs, brain and fluids of the body. For more info click here.
4) Stay hydrated
The body dehydrates quickly in high altitudes. It is recommended you drink lots of water before and during your trip to Cusco. Also, avoid heavy meals since your stomach takes longer to digest food at high altitudes. A diet of low proteins and high carbs is advisable.
5) Drink Coca Tea
Coca tea has been used since Incan time to combat the affects of altitude. You can drink it with loose leaves or tea bags and will find it in most hotels, supermarkets or markets. It may sounds gimmicky but it definitely works!