Altitude sickness, also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS), is a common concern for visitors to high-altitude destinations like Machu Picchu in Peru. Machu Picchu itself is situated at an elevation of approximately 2,430 meters (7,970 feet) above sea level, which can cause some individuals to experience symptoms of altitude sickness.
Here are some steps you can take to prevent and manage altitude sickness while visiting Machu Picchu:
1. Acclimatize: Give yourself enough time to acclimatize to the high altitude before engaging in strenuous activities. It’s recommended to spend a couple of days in Cusco (located at a similar altitude) before heading to Machu Picchu.
2. Hydrate: Drink plenty of fluids, preferably water, to stay hydrated. Avoid excessive alcohol consumption, as it can worsen the symptoms of altitude sickness.
3. Take it easy: Avoid overexertion and take things slowly as you explore Machu Picchu. Listen to your body and rest when needed.
4. Medication: Consult with a healthcare professional before your trip to discuss the possibility of taking medication such as acetazolamide (Diamox). This medication can help prevent altitude sickness by increasing your breathing rate and aiding in acclimatization.
5. Avoid sleeping pills: It’s advisable to avoid sleeping pills or sedatives, as they can suppress your respiratory system and potentially worsen altitude-related symptoms.
6. Coca tea or candies: Coca tea or candies made from the coca plant leaves are commonly used by locals to alleviate symptoms of altitude sickness. While its effectiveness varies, you may consider trying it under the guidance of locals or medical professionals.
It’s important to remember that altitude sickness can affect anyone, regardless of their fitness level or health status. However it is also good to take into consideration that Machu Picchu is at lowest attitude than Cusco. Most of people who are affected by the altitude in Cusco fell much better in Machu Picchu.