Supplemental Emergency Oxygen On Mount Kilimanjaro
Our guides are well trained and experienced to administer supplemental emergency oxygen to sufferers from rare complications of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) who may develop High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE), a potentially fatal swelling of brain tissue as a result of poor acclimatization, resulting in confusion, paralysis and coma if unrelieved.
AMS is the way your body tells you to go back down the mountain (read more on how to avoid or minimize it). You have over-extended and over-welcomed yourself on the shinning mountain. Headache and nausea warn that your systems are shutting down and trekking any higher will put your life in danger. Most effects of altitude sickness can be dealt with by simply descending a few hundred feet to more comfortable conditions and resting, but HACE symptoms are not so easily relieved.
Evacuation is essential, since after effects can persist for days or weeks depending on their severity. Your body produces extra red blood corpuscles at altitude to enable your blood to carry more oxygen to the brain, but this process takes a few days and is halted as soon as more oxygen becomes available.
After using supplementary oxygen, you must not attempt to hike higher. Although it relieves breathing difficulty and oxygen starvation, it reverses acclimatization changes. Supplementary oxygen is routinely carried only for emergency treatment and not as an aid to climbers who wish to continue to the summit. It would be a very dangerous practice. There is no way of avoiding some discomfort on the mountain, even if everyone who climbed wore heated, pressurized kits and oxygen masks. And where would be the pleasure in your Kilimanjaro climb then? The best safety insurance on Kilimanjaro climb is our guides, who will monitor you for AMS and avoid potential complications by getting you off the mountain if your condition becomes threatening. We advise trekkers to take an extra day acclimatizing on Kilimanjaro to make summit success more likely and allow you to avoid the worst effects of Altitude Sickness.