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Health Tips

Anybody planning a trek up Mount Kenya should be prepared for a physically and mentally challenging, as well as exciting, experience.

Ice Rock's first priority is your safety. Our guides and porters maintain a close eye on our clients in case anyone develops some of the health problems connected with high altitude climbs and treks. While most of our clients have a trouble-free climb, an awareness of the potential hazards is useful.

Although not as high as Mount Kilimanjaro, the pace of the ascent up Mount Kenya is faster, leading to rapidly decreasing levels of oxygen in the air.

Altitude Sickness is the most common problem resulting from this reduction in oxygen levels.

Symptoms include headache, nausea, vomiting, anorexia, exhaustion, lassitude, muscle weakness a rapid pulse rate while resting, swelling of the hands and feet and reduced urine output.

The most extreme forms of altitude sickness are Pulmonary and Cerebral Edemas. Certain people have a predilection for developing edema - it is not known why - but it tends to affect young, fit males who over exert themselves.

Ice Rock's guides and porters will move anyone suspected of having altitude sickness to a lower altitude. Sometimes, a drop of as little as 500 metres can relieve the symptoms of altitude sickness.

The best way of avoiding it altogether is to gradually acclimatize to the higher altitudes on the mountain by spending a day or two in the foothills of the mountain before making the ascent.

Use of the drug Diamox may prevent or relieve altitude sickness, but one of its side effects is dehydration so anyone taking this drug must consume more water.

Dehydration is another common problem.
The temperature during the day on Mount Kenya can be very warm so walkers will sweat considerably.
Cold weather at night increases urinary output, further increasing fluid loss.

The symptoms of dehydration are thirst (which signals that the body is already short of 2 litres of water), headaches, muscle cramps and nausea.

Climbers and walkers should drink a minimum of 5 to 7 litres of fluid per day.
Mountain water should be purified. Ice Rock's guides will collect and boil water for you, but you should still purify the water using purification tablets.

Exposure is the lowering of the body's core temperature.
Kit and clothing appropriate to temperatures that may fall to well below freezing is a must.

About 40% of the Earth's protective atmosphere is below an altitude of 4,000 metres, so climbers are exposed to higher levels of ultra-violet rays. High factor sunscreen and sunglasses (to reduce the effects of sun glare) are a must.
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