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Tibet Health Concerns

With an average elevation of 4,900 meters (16,000 ft), Tibet is the highest region on Earth and is commonly regarded as the "Roof of the World." For most travelers who comes to Tibet for the first time, they would face lots of challenges to their healths.

Acute Mountain Sickness

Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), also called Altitude Illness or Mountain Sickness, is the biggest health risk to most visitors in Tibet. AMS is very common at high altitudes due to the decreasing availability of oxygen. Most people will experience differing degrees of symptoms at high elevation.

Definition of High Altitude:

High Altitude: 1500 - 3500 m (5000 - 11500 ft)

Very High Altitude: 3500 - 5500 m (11500 - 18000 ft)

Extreme Altitude: above 5500 m

What are the symptoms of AMS?

Shortness of breath during exertion; Hyperventilation (fast breathing);
Increased urination; Altered breathing patterns at night;
Frequent nighttime awakening; Strange dreams.

Altitude of Different Regions of Tibet

Place Altitude Place Altitude
Lhasa 3658 m
12001 ft
Nyingchi 3000 m
9843 ft
Shigatse 3836 m
12585 ft
Tsedang 3500 m
11483 ft
Nagqu 4507 m
14787 ft
Gyangtse 4040 m
13255 ft
Pome 2750 m
9022 ft
Tingri 4300 m
14108 ft
Amdo 4800 m
15748 ft
Zayui 2325 m
7628 ft
Chamdo 3205 m
10515 ft
Damshung 4200 m
13780 ft

While if you are properly informed and prepared, high altitude would not be an obstacle to safe and comfortable travel.

Tips to Avoid AMS

Do exercise to improve your fitness before coming to Tibet.

Try to avoid catching a cold (frequent hand-washing, etc.).

Make sure to get a good night's sleep the night before flying to Lhasa.

Avoid strenuous activity during your first day in Tibet.

When arriving in the airport in Lhasa, walk slowly, take deep breaths.

Take time to acclimatize.

Ascend to higher altitudes gradually. DO NOT ASCEND ANY HIGHER if you begin feeling ill.

Prepare AMS medication, in accordance with a doctor's advice.

Other Health Concerns

For lowing the reactions of AMS, you could take AMS medicine in advance, besides, you will experience other challenges to your body. So most importantly, first aid fit is a must preparation for your trip.

Medications Others first aid kit
AMS Cold, Influenza Salves Bandages
Intestinal Complaints Diarrhea Face and Hand Lotions Iodine, Purification Tablets
Hepatitis Bronchitis Sunscreen, Sunglasses, Hat Other first aid equipments

Because the temperature variation between day and night is very huge in Tibet, you will experience extreme climates as well as extreme alititude, so it is fatal to prepare suitable and enough clothings for your trip. Besides, to prevent sunburn and dry air, you should get your sunscreen, sunglasses, hat and face and hand lotions ready to protect your skin and eyes.

In many remote regions, wild animals may roam in somewhere, thus it is better to get a appropriate vaccinations before traveling to Tibet.

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