Because it is a capital city that is 2,850 meters above sea level, altitude sickness often affects travelers in Quito. Due to the high altitude, oxygen levels drop making lungs work twice as hard to get and filter oxygen. If it is one of your first times in Quito, here are a few ways to prevent getting altitude sickness. Because unfortunately, regardless of age, gender or fitness level, altitude sickness can affect anyone.
What’s Altitude Sickness?
Let’s start by understanding what is it. Also known as “Mountain Sickness,” Altitude Sickness is a condition that can occur when you travel to high points of elevation. And it happens when you aren’t able to take in as much oxygen as you need. Because of the low levels of oxygen, your body is working twice as hard to try and get used to not having the same amount of oxygen. The most common symptoms include: fatigue, headache, dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, and loss of appetite. These symptoms can kick in about six to 12 hours after you land in Quito, so it does not have to happen straight away.
Altitude Sickness is very common for travelers coming from regions with low elevations, and happens more often in places that are at an elevation higher than 2,500 meters. It’s best to do everything you can to prevent it, and know how to treat it if you do get it.
How to Prevent it?
The best thing you can do to prevent altitude sickness is to allow 2-3 days for your body to get used to the oxygen level. So for the first days at Quito stay away from strenuous exercise and fast paced walking/climbing.
So take it easy, but do not sit in bed all day either. Go for a slow walk around the city center, enjoy nutritious food and drink lots of water and fluids. Your stomach may feel funky as well. Due to the altitude, the digestion process slows down, so we recommend you try to avoid heavy foods at the beginning of your trip.
How to Treat it?
If you do begin to feel sick, it is better to take a few hours to rest. There are a few herbal teas such as the famous “Mate de Coca” that will alleviate certain symptoms such as nausea and headaches. Keep resting until you feel better, and do not attempt any vigorous exercise until you feel fully better again. Remember that your body needs time to adjust, so be patient.
With these tips you’re prepared to prevent and in the worst case, treat altitude sickness! Learn more travel tips for visiting Quito here. If you are planning on visiting Quito, make the best Quito Hotel your home base. Anahi Boutique Hotel offers stylish and comfortable accommodation, along with high quality service and useful amenities. For room and rates click here.