Peru-Travel.Info – The Soroche

Part II: General recommendations for people traveling to high elevations

The day before your travel we recommend :

  • Sleep well.
  • Don’t eat foods that are spicy and/or hard to digest.
  • Don’t drink alcoholic beverages.

The day you arrive:

  • Refrain from strenuous physical activity.
  • Drink at least one liter of water a day.
  • Eat small quantities of food, preferably carbohydrates.
  • Wear appropriate clothing to stay warm.
  • Complete rest is recommended for people with altitude sickness scores higher than six points (see chart below).
  • Don’t take sleeping pills or tranquilizers.

The second to the fourth day after your arrival

  • Refrain from strenuous physical activity.
  • Drink plenty of liquids, commensurate to your physical activity.
  • Don’t eat foods that are hard to digest.
  • Wear appropriate clothing to stay warm.
  • Don’t take sleeping pills or tranquilizers.

During  your  first four days in  high  elevations  refrain  from  any strenuous physical activity, specially if you are noy used to altitude.

If you feel like you are choking or are breathing noisily, your lips and/or  ears  turn  purple  or  blue  (cyanosis), you have a persistent cough  and  your sputum  is foamy  or pinkish  in color,  you  may be developing a serious pulmonary edema caused by the high altitude. If that is the case, immediately seek medical help

You need oxygen or to be promptly removed to lower elevations.

If  you feel  fatigue or  acute  weakness,  feel  nauseous  (sometimes vomiting explosively), and have a severe headache that pain relievers  won’t ease, you are probably developing a brain edema. If you don’t have a headache, but feel extremely tired and have difficulty keeping your balance, you may also be developing a brain edema. Immediately seek medical help. You need oxygen or to be promptly removed to lower elevations.

Chart of Symptoms and Indications of Altitude Sickness (soroche)

  Headache   1 point
  Nausea or lack of appetite   1 point
  Insomnia or difficulty sleeping   1 point
  Dizziness–vertigo   1 point
  Headache that pain relievers won’t ease   2 points
  Vomiting   2 points
  Difficulty breathing when lying down   3 points
  Extreme fatigue   3 points
  Lessening volume of urine   3 points


Score Intensity of Altitude Sickness
 1 to 3   Light
 4 to 6   Moderate
 More than 6   Severe (complete rest is recommended)

Source : Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru

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