When we’re organising an expedition, our number one concern is safety. And that includes the safety of the people on our expeditions, as well as our own team and the porters who work with us. When you’re trekking at high altitude, safety becomes even more important. You might be wondering why we send an expedition doctor to Kilimanjaro… what exactly do they do? Why are they important? Well, this post explains our decision…
Why we send an expedition doctor to Kilimanjaro
As well as an expedition leader from the UK or Ireland, we send a doctor on every single one of our expeditions. But we also keep our group sizes sustainably small. These specialised doctors have experience trekking at high altitudes, and know exactly the kind of ailments and complaints that usually come up. Sending our own doctor means that any issues can be treated quickly and simply.
One of the biggest concerns that trekkers have is altitude sickness. Unfortunately, this is something that can affect anyone, no matter how experienced they are. There are many ways that you can prevent it, but if it does strike, it needs to be treated quickly. That’s where our doctor comes in. They know how to treat AMS and can do so swiftly, meaning recovery is often simple.
The most important thing you can do is to tell the doctor the moment you feel unwell. Don’t feel like you’re moaning if you have a little headache – often, that’s the first sign of AMS and if you treat it then, it’s much easier to deal with.
Another common medical complaint? Gastroenteritis (also known as Delhi Belly). This is actually the most common cause of illness on expeditions. The good news is that it is easily avoided! Always wash your hands and apply hand sanitizer after going to the toilet and before touching food. Also use drinking water to brush your teeth, and don’t ingest water when you’re in the shower.
Bringing your own first aid kit
Our doctor has an extensive first aid kit, but you also need to bring your own mini one. That’s because you need to bring your own medications, but also preferred painkillers, plasters and the like. We recommend you bring…
- Rehydration salts
- Throat lozenges
- Nasal spray
- Decongestant such as Sudafed
- Antibiotics suitable to treat traveller’s diarrhoea
If you want to know more about why we send an expedition doctor to Kilimanjaro and all our expeditions, you can read this post about one of our doctors, Mark Willis.