Travel itineraries vary greatly, from from sightseeing/cultural tours around the capital Kathmandu, low altitude hill treks in the Annapurna region, high altitude trekking to Everest Base camp or on the Annapurna circuit, to extreme altitude mountaineering. Each itinerary requires different medical/physical preparation.
The following information provides some broad and general guidelines about health risks and recommendations for travel to Nepal. This should not be taken as a substitute for a personal consultation with one of our travel health doctors, whose advice will be specific for you and your trip and may include issues not mentioned here.
Most Common Health Issues
Travellers’ Diarrhoea, Giardia and Dysentery
Observe strict food and water safety precautions. Talk to us and your tour operator about options for safe drinking water. Take a well-stocked kit with guidelines for treatment and seek medical advice and where necessary evacuation to Kathmandu for persistent or severe illness.
Pollution in Kathmandu and travellers congregating from around the world results in a high incidence of colds & flus and bronchitis and pneumonia in travellers, particularly a problem in those with underlying respiratory or heart issues . Flu vaccination is highly advisable as well as pneumonia vaccination for those at risk. It may be advisable to carry antibiotics for self-treatment of severe illness if trekking in remote locations.
High altitude trekkers (those going above 2700 m) need to be informed about the risks, prevention and treatment of altitude sickness, which range from inconvenient mild symptoms to more severe forms affecting the lungs and brain. Certain trekking itineraries (rapid ascent) pose higher risk and some individuals are more prone than others. The medication Acetazolamide (Diamox) is highly recommended for Everest base camp trekkers commencing the day before reaching Namche Bazaar (3440m).
Those planning on trekking (of any sort) should ensure they are well prepared. This includes not only being physically fit but also the wearing in of footwear, getting used to carrying a backpack and trekking uphill and downhill. Walking poles help.
Animal Bites and Scratches
Rabies occurs in Nepal. Highest risk is from dog bites. Be especially cautious of monkeys and dogs around the ‘Monkey temple’ west of Kathmandu. Consider pre-travel vaccination well before travel. Thoroughly flush and disinfect animal wounds and seek prompt medical care.
Security and other general travel issues
Look at Australian Government’s website: http://smartraveller.gov.au/Countries/asia/south/Pages/nepal.aspx
As well as being up to date for routine childhood vaccines such as tetanus, measles and hepatitis B, the following vaccines are often recommended –influenza, hepatitis A, typhoid, rabies, Japanese encephalitis and cholera. Decisions regarding which are most appropriate depend on duration and nature of travel, itinerary, age and underlying medical conditions.