Despite all the negative publicity concerning Nepal, I assure you all that this country is remarkably safe, from every perspective. In this blog, I’m focusing on ‘safety’, but concerning, only health issues.
Now, being prepared and getting to know about the health and safety hazards before travelling to any place is very important. With unpredictable weather and difficulties along the trails, these little advices might just come in handy!
Health (Problems/ Precautions/ Treatment)
We are used to outbreak of diseases,and not being acknowledged about it for a long time. So, it’s obviously not even of a trekkers concern. This,unfortunately, increases chances of them ruining their holidays.Immunization is certainly the best way to stay safe against outbreaks.
Here is a list of vaccines with respect to, the diseases they prevent from happening. It’s recommended for you to take them, especially of the following ones, before coming here; of course, you should consult your doctor about that!
Influenza “Flu” vaccine: Chances of catching flu is high especially where weather fluctuates! And in Nepal, there are areas, where every one or the other day, people fall sick and even die due to flu! You never know what’s waiting for you! So get immunized!
Encephalitis: Transfers even through a mosquito bite and deadly in nature! If you like wandering in the woods, this is what I would like to suggest you!
Typhoid: Epidemics of this disease is common in Nepal. It’s communicable even through water. Watch your back during your stay in tea houses and homes of local families! Or, get immunized!
Yellow Fever: It’s troublesome to suffer from this disease so highly recommended!
Rabies: Not actually necessary if you ask me. All up to you! But if monkeys and dogs want some of your food better let them have it.
Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)
The most common health issue that troubles almost everyone who prefers trekking at higher altitudes (above 3000m) is AMS.
Also termed as altitude sickness, happens when our body is exposed to higher altitude.Things turn normal when it gradually familiarizesto the height and copes with the less oxygen in the air. AMS can sometimes turn fatal.
Normally, it only causes headache and dizziness.But the symptoms get severe things are turning serious.
- Accumulation of fluid in the lungs and brain
- Breathlessness at rest
- A dry, irritating cough (which may progress to the production of pink, frothy sputum)
- Severe headache
- Lack of coordination (typically leading to a ‘drunken walk’)
- Irrational behavior
- Vomiting and eventually
Better to take high precautionary measures! By the look of the symptoms, I don’t want anyone having to go through AMS!
- Avoid rapid ascend to high altitude. It’s not a race for Christ’s sake!
- Drink as much fluid as your bladders can handle. (The mountain air is dry and cold, and moisture is lost as you breathe. Evaporation of sweat may occur unnoticed, and result in dehydration.)
- Eat light carbohydrate food as it gives more energy
- Avoid alcohol, smokesand any other sedatives and sleeping pills.
- Don’t over exert yourself, take plenty of rest.
The best treatment for AMS is descending to lower altitude even 500m can help a lot. However, medical assistance is necessary in more severe cases. For less severe case aspirin, relocation to lower altitude, drinking water and oxygen masks can help a lot.
I’ve also tried to make a list of medicines that you may want to carry with you.
- Aspirin or Paracetamol (for pain and fever)
- Cold and flu tablets.
- Anti-inflammatory spray/ cream for cramps and strains
- Insect repellant
- Water purification tablets or drops
- And of course your personal medicine if any.
However, these are only some the important health related issues that you should consider.
Safety while trekking is another main concern. Trekking should be fun and not a nightmare, so here are some points to help minimize your chances of running into trouble while trekking.
- Carry suitable clothing for all weather conditions. Better safe than sorry!
- Keep an eye on local newspapers,as there may be strikes and demonstrations (happens quite often).
- If possible, read plenty about the place where you are going (books, blogs, anything). Trust me; it helps a lot to understand the place better.
- Do not go for a trek alone (Especially women),not even for a day hike!Also,avoid trekking at nights.
- Ask locals for any safe/ unsafe routethat exists but remember to be skeptical about the information.
- While trekking in high altitudes, read about AMS and dos and don’ts of it.
- Don’t forget to bring maps, cell phones (not necessary, but recommended), GPS if travelling to remote locations of the country.
- Always carry your documents, passport and permits with you. Make sure to have copies of them as well. Just in case!
- Also, drinking pure water, eating hygienic food and staying away from alcohol and smoking are basics.
- Most importantly, respect and enjoy the local cultures and traditions and avoid any action which may offend the local. You wouldn’t want to start a fight with the Gurkhas,would you?
If you consider these health and safety points, you just might land up having the best time of your life while trekking in Nepal. Stay Safe! Enjoy!