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The Ears / Nose

As you ascend to altitude, problems with ears and noses increase. Sunburn and skin damage to the ears and nose is a painful problem.

Changes in the inner ear trigger the symptoms of dizziness and light-headedness commonly found in AMS.

One of the commonest problems at high altitude is a blocked nose. Although this seems to be a minor hardship when life threatening conditions seem just around the corner, a blocked nose upsets the normal warming and humidifying process that is essential to keep the lungs healthy.

Failure to warm and moisten air when breathing in leads to a sore throat, persistent cough or in the worst cases, damage to the areas of the lung essential for the normal passage of oxygen.

Dizziness could be a sign of AMS.
Wear a wide brimmed hat and use sunblock on ears, nose and insides of nostrils.
Use or improvise a nose guard on sunglasses.
Blow your nose regularly.
Use a barrier cream (eg Vaseline) to protect dried, cracked skin.

Ensure gloves have a soft, absorbent patch over the thumb -great for wiping your nose!
Pack tissues and wipes, high factor sun-block and barrier cream.

A climber with a cold was suffering from a runny nose and spent 2 days climbing Ramtang on glaciers and snowfields. The reflected sunlight badly burned the underside of his nose as the sun-block had been washed off. It took almost a week to recover fully.

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