Health and Safety

Overlooking the vast Mt. Kenya gorges

Overlooking the vast Mt. Kenya gorges

Mt. Kenya like any other mountain in the world can sometimes be dangerous and hazardous. It is therefore important to:-

1. Be well equipped

2. Let your expedition leader know your health history

3. Have good communication system

4. Have good basic first aid kit and know how to use it

5. Be able to identify mountain illnesses.

HOW TO RECOGNISE ALTITUDE RELATED ILLNESS

At high altitudes the amount of oxygen decreases dramatically. This can result in medical urgency that must be a concern to every hiker.

AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness)

Signs include:- Headache, nausea, fatigue, malaise, loss of appetite and difficulty in sleeping.

Treatment

Slow down, stay in camps, drink water and rest while the body adjusts to the altitude. If symptoms persist after 48 hours descend.

HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Aedema)

Symptoms include:- Shortened breath during exercise progressing to shortened breath while resting, a dry cough deteriorating to a frothy sputum, audible gurgling (rales) from the chest area, increased heart and breathing rate.

Treatment

Descend immediately and seek medical attention. Descending is the treatment. It can progress quickly to a point where the patient cannot walk. It doesn’t improve with rest at the same altitude.

HACE (High Altitude Cerebral Aedema)

Symptoms include:- Ams that progress to severe headaches, loss of co-ordination, slurred speech, irrational behaviour, coma and death.

Treatment.

Descend immediately, Hace can quickly progress to lethal stage.

Prevention pf Ams, Hape and Hace

Allow 2 nights at 10,00ft or at higher nuts at around 14,000ft Before proceeding higher, increase fluid intake to 4-6 liters per day. Avoid extreme physical exertion and eat a light diet rich in carbohydrates. Take symptoms seriously. Rest and acclimatize if Ams is suspected. Report to ranger rescues station and descend immediately is Hape or Hace is suspected.

However it is important to drink plenty of water slowly to allow your body get used to the altitude.