When you are climbing Mount Kilimanjaro you might encounter some challenges during your trek some of these challenges are health related. Once you arrive into Tanzania, we recommend that you have a a rest day in either Moshi or Arusha town for the acclimatization of weather as well as resting from jet lag before attempting Kilimanjaro. There are numerous health issues while climbing Kilimanjaro as listed below and majority of them are due to the change of altitude and weather:
Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)
When climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, altitude Sickness normally occurs on the high altitude such as Gilman’s Point, Stella Point or on the Summit of Kilimanjaro. It is estimated that more than 80% of Mt. Kilimanjaro climbers suffer from this illness but they recover and make it to the top. For those who get serious illness the only proper cure is to descent to at least 600 m from the point you are. Some of the symptoms of the illness include reduced urine output, nausea, anorexia, headaches, rapid pulse, insomnia, swelling of the hands and feet.
To avoid mountain sickness, it is recommended that you reduce the pace of your trekking from the first day, eat as much as you can since altitude change tend to reduce appetite completely as well as drinking 3 to 4 liters of water per day including hot drinks such as chocolate, coffee or tea. While trekking with Kili Top & Safaris, we feed you much to make sure that you have enough energy.
Along with all the natural preventive measures preventative medicine (such as Diamox) is available however you should consult your physician for specialist advice. Fluid build-up may case a situation known as edema, which can affect the lungs, preventing effective oxygen exchange, or affect the brain (cerebral) which will result in the swelling of the brain tissue. When this situation occurs immediately ask for assistance from our guide as we always trek with oxygen kit to take care of such circumstances.
Hypothermia illness occurs when body fails to generate proper temperature during climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. The weather of Mt. Kilimanjaro regularly changes and covering of mist and rain is a common thing. If it happens that your clothing gets wet, your body is likely to be unstable on temperature stability.
Active Kilitop experienced guides are aware of this and before trekking they always counter check your climbing gear to avoid inconveniences like this. Common gear like raincoat is a must to have it even if is not raining season as on Kilimanjaro it can rain anytime.
Treatment of hypothermia is simple however it should not be not be underestimated. The first thing you should do to prevent is that you should remove all the wet clothes and wear dry warm clothes. While in your camp you can also go to the kitchen where there is fire for cooking and stay around for some few minutes for stabilization and thereafter retire as it might ruin your acclimatization.The other more proper solution but takes time is by sleeping in a sleeping bag with your colleague who hasn’t experienced the same problem.
Sun related injuries
It is generally estimated that about 55% of the earth’s protective atmosphere is below an altitude of 5000m. as you trek to a higher altitude, far less ultraviolet light is filtered out, this makes the sun’s rays much more powerful, which could result in severe sun burning of the skin. It is strongly recommended that you use a 20+ sun protection cream at lower altitudes, and a total block cream above an altitude of 3000m.
Wearing sun glass when in Kilimanjaro especially places with snow or ice is also highly recommended. Basically the sunshine at the top of Kilimanjaro in the morning makes the Kili ice shinning much and this might lead to snow blindness. Snow blindness is a painful thing and might require your eyes to be bandaged for sometime.