Nepal Trekking Information » Health and Medicine

Health and Medicine

Trekking in Nepal need not be considered a risky affair as far as your health is concerned. Nevertheless, preventive measures such as a thorough medical check up and inoculations before you start trekking can save you from unexpected hazards. Since the remote places of Nepal are not supplied with necessities that are essential for modern medical treatment, and the rescue and evacuation procedures are usually measured in days, it is imperative to make a comprehensive First Aid Kit consisting of basic drugs and accessories as part of your gear for trekking. Various trekking guide books and the pamphlet published by the Himalayan Rescue Association give you detailed information and a complete list of medical supplies. These guide books are easily available in the book shops of Kathmandu. In case of serious illness or injury, prompt evacuation to Kathmandu (or Bangkok, Thailand if possible) is the best remedy. Modern dentistry is unknown in the hills of Nepal, so it is advised to have a checkup before departure from home. Tooth fillings sometimes loosen in cold temperatures and at high altitudes, so it is recommended to have them checked.


The following information is not intended to be a comprehensive medical guide; neither will medications and their use be discussed in any detail. Please consult your physician and get a complete check - up before your departure. Make sure that you are well prepared for the trek since lack of fitness can often lead to discomfort or illness. Something as simple as a foot blister can totally ruin a trek, not only for you but also for your companion. The vast majority of diseases that plague the trekker in Nepal are transmitted by food or water contaminated by infected human or animal. We Nepalese can drink water directly from the water tap without filtering, boiling because we used to. But you should assume that all water and uncooked foods in Nepal are infected. To make yourself an expert on health aspects of Nepal would not only be difficult but also troublesome. However, one should have some knowledge on Acute Mountain Sickness ( AMA) , Diarrhea, Giar-dia, Dysentery, Cholera, Hepatitis, Rabies, Typhoid, Tetanus, Meningitis, Diphtheria, Malaria and HIV/ AIDS. Common sense can often save lives.


Prevention the Best Medicine:

Care in what you eat and drink is the most important health rule. The number one rule is don't consume the water including ice. Reputable brands of bottled water or soft drinks are generally fine. Take care with fruit juice, particularly if water many have been added.


Boiled milk is fine if it is kept hygienically and yoghurt is usually good. Tea or coffe should also be OK since the water wuld have been boiled. Salads and fruit should be washed with purified water or peeled where possible. Ice crea is usually OK if it is a reputable brand name, but beware of ice cream that has melted and been refrozen. Throughly cooled food is the safest but not if it has been left to cool. Stomach upsets are the most likely travel health problem but the majority of these upsets will be relatively minor. Wash your hands frequently, as it's quite easy to contaminate your own food. You should clean your teeth with purified water rather than straight from the tap. Avoid potential diseases by dressing sensibly. You can get worm infections through bare fee. Try to avoid insect bites by covering bare skin when insects are around, by screening windows or by using insect repellents.


Medical Kit:

  • A simple but adequate medical kit can be most useful without taking much space in your baggage. The following is recommended as tried and true list of items.
  • Aspirin or Panadol – for pain or fever.
  • Antihistamine – useful as a decongestant for colds, allergies, to ease the itch from insect bites and stings or to help prevent motion sickness.
  • Antibiotis – useful especially while trekking well off the beaten track but they must be prescribed.
  • Kaolin preparation ( Pepto – Bismol), Imodium or Lomotil – for stomach upsets.
  • Rehydration mixture – for treatment of servere diarrhoea.
  • Antiseptic, mercurochrome and antibiotic powder or similar ”dry” spray – for cuts and grazes.
  • Calamine lotion – to ease irritation from bites or stings.
  • Bandages and band – Aids – for minor injuries.
  • Scissors, tweezers and a thermometer
  • Insect repellent, sun block, suntalotion, chapsticks and water – purification tablets.
  • Throuat lozenges (Strepsils).
  • Moleskin.
  • Sulamyd 10% eye drops.
  • Acetarninophen (Paracetamol)
  • Antacid tablets.
  • Diamox (altitude sickness - can be bought in Kathmandu)
  • Sterile Syringe set (anti-AIDS precaution)