Home ministry issues 18 point advisory for Amarnath pilgrims

New Delhi, March 18 (IANS) The home ministry on Friday issued an 18 point health advisory for the Amarnath Yatra pilgrims, which also suggests that those having difficulty in breathing carry portable oxygen along.

The advisory, which carries 14 do’s and four don’ts, advised the pilgrims to achieve physical fitness before starting Amarnath Yatra with a preparatory morning and evening walk of about 4-5 kilometre every day from a month prior to the pilgrimage.

The advisory warns that the Amarnath Yatra involves trekking at altitudes as high as 14,000 feet which may lead of the pilgrims developing high altitude with symptoms like loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, drowsiness, chest tightness, fast breathing and increased heart rate.

“If high altitude sickness is not treated timely, it may be lethal in a matter of hours,” it said.

The advisory suggested the pilgrims to start deep breathing exercises, yoga, drinking lots of water to combat dehydration and headaches, checking with a physician prior to travelling to higher elevations, following the prescribed food menu available at Amarnath shrine board’s website (shriamarnathjishrine.com), and when to have food during travelling.

“In case of any signs of high altitude sickness or any other discomfort, immediately contact the nearest medical facility located at every two kilometres,” said the advisory, stressing that the symptoms of high altitude illness not be ignored.

It also suggested to give up drinking alcohol or smoking.

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