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Last Updated: July 07, 2022, 21:51 IST

Thousands of devotees take part in Char Dham Yatra every year (Image: News18 Hindi)

Char Dham Yatra comprises a tour to the 4 shrines of Kedarnath (3,553 metres), Badrinath (3,300 metres), Yamunotri (3,291 metres) and Gangotri (3,415 metres)

Thousands of devotees take part in Char Dham Yatra every year. Char Dham Yatra comprises a tour to the four holy shrines of Kedarnath (3,553 metres), Badrinath (3,300 metres), Yamunotri (3,291 metres) and Gangotri (3,415 metres). Being situated at high altitudes, the four pilgrim sites have often reported deaths due to cardiac issues and breathlessness. As per a report in India Today, Uttarakhand emergency operation centre’s data states that 203 pilgrims have died since the start of the Char Dham Yatra on May 3. The death toll is predominantly due to cardiac arrest and other health issues.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Dr KS Chauhan, Chief Medical Officer of Uttarkashi district, said all the deaths reported in the district were of devotees travelling on foot. Chauhan told the national daily that there is an elevation on the trekking paths at Char Dham and when people keep walking, they do not realise the sudden decrease in oxygen level. The tourists who come from the planes and are not acclimated to the place and keep moving without enough rest and later complain of dizziness. According to Chauhan, most people who passed away had problems like hypertension, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

It should be noted that the higher you climb, the lower the air pressure and oxygen levels get in the atmosphere. Our bodies can handle the shift, but they need time to gradually adjust. Hence it is essential that you undergo a full body check-up before you plan your visit to the Char Dham. If you have an underlying heart condition, it is imperative to take your doctor’s advice before you embark on your journey to the high-altitude areas.

Other ways how you can prevent altitude sickness is by trekking slowly and keeping yourself hydrated all the time.

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