How to Stay Healthy in Nepal

For Boiling water, Iodine, Altitude Sickness, Washing hands, Emergency Contraception (see below)

Water needs to be brought to a rolling boil to kill all the important disease causing organisms. Good evidence is now available to show that there is no need to boil the water for over 3-4 minutes, specially with firewood and fuel shortages. Some hotels and restaurants may only filter their water. This is certainly not good enough for drinking as for example; hepatitis virus can pass through the filter.

The addition of 6 drops of 4% Lugol’s iodine (locally available) to 1 litre water will also kill all the important disease-causing organisms. After the addition of iodine to the water wait for 20 minutes before drinking. The mixture has to be shaken after 10 minutes. Chlorine tablets which are also locally available do not kill giardia and amoebic cysts. Vegetables for salad should also be soaked in iodine (6 drops in 1 litre) for 20 minutes before consumption. The iodine may not kill the notorious “blue green algae” (cyclospora), which affects people in the spring and summer here in Nepal.

Before going trekking to the Himalayas make sure you familiarize yourself with the common symptoms of mountain sickness so that you may be better able to help yourself and others. AMS (acute mountain sickness) causes headache and nausea at high altitude (>2700 m). So if you are going to Lahsa, Tibet or Kailash/Mana sarover please take diamox (125 mg two times per day) for 4 days, starting on day before your trip. Make sure you have no sulpha allergy before taking this drug expect tingling of your fingers and toes. The life-threatening problems at altitude are HACE (High Altitude Cerebral Edema) and HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema) For further info, please check our website:

It is important to wash your hands with soap more often than you would do at home. Moist towelettes are used commonly but like toilet paper if you use them on treks, please make sure you burn them or bring them back to Kathmandu to dispose of them otherwise like toilet paper the trekking areas will be littered with used towelettes which are certainly not biodegradable. Liquid soap is also very useful. On treks please carry a lighter to burn your toilet paper so as not to pollute the area. Be careful not to burn the forest/out house down!

Travel can make you uninhibited and do things that you would never do at home. If you require emergency contraception you should contact our clinic. The medicine is: Levonorgestrel (Postinor 2) : Two tablets should be taken. The first Tablet should be taken within 5 days of unprotected sex and the second after 12 hours of first tablet. It is 60-90% effective. Side Effects: Nausea, Vomiting, Headache, Irregular bleeding It is wise to consult a doctor before taking any medication..