Bhutan received 2753 trekking tourist last year which made up 10.3 percent of the total tourist visits, an increase by 15 percent in the previous year.
With the increase in the number of tourist visiting Bhutan for trekking and Bhutanese trekking up the mountains, the risk of people getting altitude sickness, or mountain sickness increases.
Health officials have however been proactive in this case and health workers in the highlands have been trained to treat mountain sickness. This means the health workers will now be able to provide timely emergency medical services and treatment to trekkers and travellers suffering from high altitude sickness.
Earlier people who got altitude sickness had to be rushed to the hospitals because health workers did not have much idea about treating altitude sickness.
According to doctors altitude sickness usually occurs at an altitude of over 2500 meters when one’s body is not acclimatised to the climate. The percentage of oxygen at any level is the same but its pressure is decreased as one climbs up, which is why we get less oxygen when we breathe. Getting used to that takes time but when you are not acclimatised you get mountain sickness.
There are three types of mountain illness. The most common illness which many are prone to suffer from while scaling heights is called acute mountain sickness (AMS). But if this is not taken care of it could lead to a condition called high altitude cerebral edema (HACE) or high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE).
Symptoms of AMS are similar to a hangover with severe headache, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision and decreased urine output.
The most trekked route on the altitude of 162 to 7554 meters in Bhutan Jomolhari and Drukpath trek.