HEALTH & MEDICINE ADVICE FOR THE HIMALAYAS
You should make an appointment to get a check-up with your family doctor and dentist. Below is a quick list of frequently needed immunizations. This is only a basic guide and we strongly recommend that you follow the advice given by your doctor.
*Polio: Normally you will just need one booster shot as an adult.
*Tetanus: An updated booster shot every 10 years is recommended.
*Typhoid: This series is now available in pill form and provides 5 years of coverage.
*Hepatitis (A): The Hepatitis A Vaccine (commonly called Havrix) is highly effective and provides 10 years coverage.
Hepatitis (B): The Hepatitis B Vaccine is recommended for long term travelers and those in the health care profession. Twinrix is a combined Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B vaccine.
Anti-malarial prophylactics: Typically not recommended unless traveling to lowland or jungle areas of the Terai.
Meningitis A+C: This vaccination is now recommended for Nepal. Each shot provides three years of coverage.
Rabies Vaccine: Recommended for long term travelers but optional for tourists.
Cholera: The risk of cholera to the foreign traveler or resident in Nepal is still minimal.
Japanese Encephalitis: JE is found only in the rural areas of southern Nepal or the Terai.
Yellow Fever: Yellow fever is not a disease risk in Nepal and is only required if arriving from a country where yellow fever is present.
*Diamox: A number of studies have consistently shown that the controlled taking of Diamox (Acetazolamide) can be effective in reducing some of the symptoms of AMS (acute mountain sickness). We would recommend that you ask your doctor to provide you with a small supply of Diamox (12 x 250mg tablets).
* denotes recommended shots and medication for tourists trekking in Nepal, India, Tibet, Bhutan and Pakistan
Given enough notice, your doctor or local health clinic should be able to administer all the above. Two excellent sources of up to date medical advice are: The CIWEC CLINC in Kathmandu, Nepal and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
PERSONAL FIRST AID KIT
Although every trek carries a comprehensive medical kit, it is advisable to bring a small supply of first aid items for your own personal use. Base this on the following list, plus any special medications you may require:
- Insect repellent.
- Antiseptic cream.
- Sun/face cream and lip screen.
- Throat lozenges or hard candies.
- Anti-protozoan. (Flagyl). Ask your doctor.
- Antibiotics. a broad-spectrum antibiotic. Please ask your doctor.
- Analgesics. Aspirin, Advil or Tylenol - for headaches etc.
- Moleskin or Second Skin for blisters.
- Diamox. already discussed.
- Re-hydration salts. A small tub of Gatorade powder mix is a good idea.
- Multi-vitamin tablets are a good idea.
- Iodine-based water purification tablets.
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