Mount Kilimanjaro climbers might encounter some challenges during climbing on health issues. On your arrival it is recommended that you have a day in Moshi or Arusha town for the acclimatization of weather as well as resting from jet lag before attempting Kilimanjaro. There are numerous health issues while climbing Kilimanjaro as listed below and majority of them are due to the change of altitude and weather:
Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)
Mountain Kilimanjaro Altitude Sickness normally occurs on the high altitude such as Gilman's Point, Stella Point or on the Summit of Kilimanjaro. The record shows that more than 80% of Mount Kilimanjaro climber suffers from this illness but they recover and make it to the top. For those who get serious illness the only proper cure is to descent to at least 600 m from the point you are. The symptoms of the illness include reduced urine output, nausea, anorexia, headaches, rapid pulse, insomnia, swelling of the hands and feet.
Regularly the avoidance of this situation is by far to reduce the pace of your trekking from the first day, eating as much as you can since altitude change tend to reduce appetite completely as well as drinking much water 3 to 4 liters per day including hot drinks such as chocolate, coffee or tea. While trekking with us we feed you much to make sure that you have enough energy.
Along with all the natural precaution also preventative medicine (such as Diamox) is available and you should consult your physician for specialist advice. Fluid build-up may cause a situation known as edema, which can affect the lungs, preventing effective oxygen exchange, or affect the brain (cerebral) which will result in the swelling of the brain tissue. When this situation occurs immediately ask for assistance from our guide as we always trek with oxygen kit to take care of such circumstance.
The hypothermia illness is a situation whereby your body fails to generate a proper temperature during climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Regularly Mount Kilimanjaro weather change and covering of mist and rain is a common thing. If it happens that a climber's clothes get wet his/her body is likely to be unstable on temperature stability. As mountaineers, we are aware of this and before trekking we always counter check your climbing gear to avoid inconveniences like this. Common gear like raincoat is a mandate to have it even if isn't a rainy season as on Kilimanjaro it rains anytime.
Treatment of this illness is simple but should not be undermined. Remove all the wet clothes and wear dry warm clothes. If the fire is light up for cooking then you can stay around for some few minutes for stabilization and thereafter retire as it might ruin your acclimatization of climbing weather. The other more proper solution but takes time is by sleeping in a sleeping bag with your colleague who hasn't experience the same problem.
Sun related injuries
About 55% of the earth's protective atmosphere is below an altitude of 5000m. Far less ultraviolet light is being filtered out, making the sun's rays much more powerful, which could result in severe sun burning of the skin. It is strongly recommended to use a 20+ sun protection cream at lower altitudes, and a total block cream above an altitude of 3000m.Wearing sun glass when in Kilimanjaro especially places with snow or ice is highly recommended. Basically, the sunshine at the top of Kilimanjaro in the morning makes the Kili ice shinning much and will bring to snow blindness. Snow blindness is a painful thing and might require your eyes to be bandaged for some time.
Health and Immunizations
No immunizations are required by law to enter Tanzania if you are travelling directly from Europe or the US. (Proof of a Yellow Fever inoculation IS REQUIRED if you are travelling to the island of Zanzibar). If you are travelling from a country where Yellow Fever is present you will need to prove you have had the inoculation.
Several vaccinations are highly recommended when traveling to Tanzania, they include:
It is also recommended that you are up to date with your polio and tetanus vaccinations. Rabies is also prevalent and if you're planning to spend a lot of time in Tanzania, it may be worth getting the rabies shots before you go.
There's a risk of catching malaria pretty much everywhere you travel in Tanzania. While it's true that areas of high altitude like the Ngorongoro Conservation Area are relatively malaria-free, you will usually be passing through areas where malaria is prevalent in order to get there.
Tanzania is home to the chloroquine-resistant strain of malaria as well as several others. Make sure your doctor or travel clinic knows you are traveling to Tanzania (don't just say Africa) so s/he can prescribe the right anti-malarial medication. Tips on how to avoid malaria will also help.