Kathmandu has the best health facilities in the country, but standards at clinics and hospitals decline the further you get from the capital. In mountainous areas, there may be no health facilities at all. Trekkers who become unwell in the mountains are generally evacuated to Kathmandu, or overseas in the event of something really serious. Always take out travel insurance to cover the costs of hospital treatment and emergency evacuations.
Many of the most popular areas for visitors are remote and inaccessible, so you should read up on the possible health risks. While trekking, it makes sense to carry an emergency medical kit so that you can treat any symptoms until you reach medical care.
Before You Come
- Medical Checklist
- Insurance: Considering the terrain, potential health risks and high cost of medical evacuation, it is
- unwise to travel to Nepal without adequate health insurance.
- Recommended Vaccinations
Emergency Treatments for Trekking
While trekking it may be impossible to reach medical treatment, so consider carrying the following drugs for emergencies (the concentrations in which these drugs are sold in Nepal are noted next to the drug):
Availability & Cost of Health Care
Kathmandu has several excellent clinics, including the Nepal International Clinic and CIWEC Clinic (which has a branch in Pokhara). While trekking, your only option may be small, local health posts, and even these are few and far between. In remote areas, you should carry an appropriate medical kit and be prepared to treat yourself until you can reach a health professional.
- Respiratory Infections
- HIV & AIDS
Even veteran travelers to South Asia seem to come down with the trots in Nepal. It’s just one of those things. The main cause of infection is contaminated water and food, due to low standards of hygiene. However, diarrhea is usually self-limiting and most people recover within a few days.
Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)
A complex and as yet not fully understood set of physical and biochemical changes occurs as the human body is exposed to the decreased levels of oxygen available in the air breathed at high altitude. The general term used to describe these changes is acclimatization.
Ascending too fast for adequate acclimatization to take place can result in a person experiencing symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). It is essential that anyone contemplating a trek in the Himalaya has a basic knowledge of the symptoms of AMS.
You must also be psychologically prepared. There is no way of knowing beforehand who will susceptible to AMS, or when particular individual will experience it. Age, sex physical fitness, will-power and pressing itineraries have absolutely no bearing on AMS, and you must be ready at all times to respond appropriately, should a problem develop.