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1 September 2005 Awareness of Altitude Sickness Among a Sample of Trekkers in Nepal
James L. Glazer, Craig Edgar, Matthew S. Siegel
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Objective.—To quantify awareness of altitude sickness in a sample of trekkers in Nepal and identify strategies for increasing knowledge in that population.

Methods.—Sixty-five high-altitude trekkers were surveyed. Demographic data were gathered. Respondents were asked about their experience in high-altitude environments, and they answered clinical-vignette questions designed to test their abilities to recognize and identify treatments for common symptoms of altitude sickness. An altitude-awareness score was generated by tabulating correct answers to questions. Scores were correlated with demographic data.

Results.—Respondents who scored highest (n = 8) had significantly more experience in high-altitude environments, averaging 5 to 10 years (P < .05), and achieved higher average altitudes on their treks of 5171 m (P < .05) than did low scorers. Respondents with low scores (n = 17) trekked to an average altitude of 4138 m. Seventy-three percent wanted to learn more about altitude sickness, 30% said they would prefer to learn from the Internet, and 27% said they would ask a doctor.

Conclusion.—This study suggests that a large population of at-risk high-altitude travelers may be relatively naïve to the dangers of altitude sickness. Overall, respondents were interested in learning more about altitude sickness. Physicians and the Internet are the most attractive sources of information for this population.

James L. Glazer, Craig Edgar, and Matthew S. Siegel "Awareness of Altitude Sickness Among a Sample of Trekkers in Nepal," Wilderness & Environmental Medicine 16(3), 132-138, (1 September 2005).
Published: 1 September 2005

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altitude sickness
high altitude
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