Medical Matters & Advice

Trekking in Nepal need not be considered a risky affair as far as your health is concerned. But very little medical care along the trail is available, so make sure you are physically fit and healthy before departing. In case of serious illness or injury, prompt evacuation to Kathmandu is the best remedy. Helicopter rescue service is extremely expensive. Neither the Government of Nepal nor your embassy nor the trekking agency (if you are trekking with one) is responsible for footing the bill. Therefore, you are requested to insure for rescue operations as well.

Altitude sickness: Altitude sickness is also known as Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) and is a particularly important medical consideration while trekking in Nepal. Altitude sickness means the effect of altitude on those who ascend too rapidly to elevations above 3000 m. The initial symptoms of AMS are: Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, insomnia / sleeplessness, persistent headache, dizziness, lightheadedness, confusion; disorientation, drunken gait, weakness, fatigue, lassitude, heavy legs, slight swelling of hands and face, breathlessness and breathing irregularity, reduced urine output. These symptoms are to be taken very seriously. In case any of these symptoms appear, immediately stop further ascent, otherwise more serious problems can occur which can even cause death, sometimes within hours. The only cure for altitude sickness is to descend to a lower elevation immediately. This must be taken seriously as there is no other cure. Acclimatization by ascending to no more than 300 to 500 meters per day above 3000 meters and proper amount of rest are the best means of preventing AMS. Literature and pamphlets published by “Himalayan Rescue Association” give detailed information on AMS .The central Immigration Office and all trekking agencies in Kathmandu distribute these pamphlets free of cost. Since these documents also give information on the list of suggested medical supplies for trekkers, it should be included in every trekker’s’ medical kit.