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Travel medicine update

Altitude sickness: minimising the risk

Jonathan Cohen, Robert North

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Abstract

Travellers of all ages are increasingly accessing high altitude areas. It is important that GPs can advise their patients on minimising the problems associated with high altitude.

Article Extract

One problem associated with high altitudes is acute mountain sickness (AMS), which may range in presentation from mild to severe symptoms and is responsible for a number of deaths each year. The symptoms, and severe forms especially, are completely preventable.

The risk of AMS increases with both high altitude and rapid ascent to high altitude. AMS is more likely to occur in travellers who ascend rapidly to heights of 2400 m, and especially above 3400 m.

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