Poor sanitation, altitude sickness, air pollution, and rabies are just some health concerns in Nepal. Find out how to stay healthy before you go with these tips.
The tap water and river water in Nepal is unsafe to drink and visitors have a choice between bottled water, purification tablets, or boiling water. If you are boiling water, make sure you boil it longer at altitude, as the time to boil properly is greater than at sea level. Make sure you check that the camp team, who may be boiling water, adhere to these rules. When buying bottled water, make sure the top has not been tampered, as there are a minority of water sellers who fill empty bottles with tap water. Drinking sufficient amounts of water in Nepal is essential to avoid the risk of dehydration.
When traveling in Nepal, it's important to maintain standards of hygiene to avoid diarrhea and vomiting. This is particularly important if you're camping on a trek, for example, as the effects of illness whilst walking can be debilitating. Wash your hands before and after meals and in camp use an alcohol hand gel. After using the toilet wash your hands thoroughly. In some camps, drop toilets are used. For this reason, leave your boots in the outer part of your tent – not the inside where you sleep and put your hands. Use shoe bags to avoid contamination of your belongings. Giardia is an unpleasant gastrointestinal parasite found in contaminated water in Nepal.
Rabies is common in Nepal and it's best to avoid stroking dogs, cows, and other animals that are found in the countryside and all over the streets of Kathmandu. Wash your hands after touching animals. Any licks and saliva from animals should be cleaned up immediately and if you are scratched or bitten, you will need to consider a rabies injection.
If you are visiting the Terai in Nepal, this lowland part is a malarial zone and you will need to seek medical advice before travelling and take anti-malarial tablets. In the evenings, wear long trousers and longer sleeves, and use an insect repellent to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.
The air quality in Kathmandu is full of belching exhaust fumes and open fires which when combined with altitude and heat is a risk to asthmatics and can cause sore throats and colds. Acquiring a chest infection is very common in Nepal.
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