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Before You Go: Traveler Healthcare in Nepal

Dengue Fever Warning

Nepal‘s medical facilities range from fairly basic in Kathmandu, to much more limited elsewhere. Be prepared to pay in cash prior to treatment, even in emergency situations. Check that you have a travel insurance policy that covers medical evacuation in case you may need specialized or prolonged treatment.

Malaria: If you’re visiting Chitwan National Park or Nepal’s Terai or Hill districts, be sure to consult with a doctor about taking anti-malaria tablets before you leave. You should also pack mosquito netting, full-coverage clothing and footwear, as well as mosquito repellent that contains at least 35% DEET. You may also want to stay indoors during dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.

Malaria is a parasitic infection caused by mosquito bites. Symptoms of malaria include fever, vomiting, headaches and fatigue. Malaria is not contagious.

Dengue Fever: Dengue fever outbreaks occur occasionally throughout Nepal, including areas of Kathmandu. Take precautions against bites by packing mosquito netting, full-coverage clothing and footwear, as well as mosquito repellent that contains at least 35% DEET.

Dengue fever is a virus caused by mosquito bites, and is more usually more prevalent in cities with high population densities. Symptoms of Dengue fever include headaches, fever, a skin rash, vomiting, and joint and muscle pain. At the time of posting, there’s no commercially available vaccination against Dengue fever. Dengue fever is not contagious.

Japanese Encephalitis: Japanese Encephalitis outbreaks occur occasionally throughout Nepal, including areas of Kathmandu. Japanese Encephalitis is a virus transmitted by mosquito bites. Symptoms include fever, headache and vomiting.

Your risk of contracting Japanese Encephalitis is typically low, but you should consult with your doctor before you go in case you would benefit from the vaccine.

Altitude Sickness: Altitude sickness, or Acute Mountain Sickness, can cause nausea, loss of breath, headaches, dizziness and rapid heartbeat. You can buy medications to help relieve symptoms.

Check to be sure you have travel insurance that includes mountain rescue if you‘ll be doing any mountain climbing or trekking.

Typhoid: Typhoid is a bacterial illness you can get from contaminated food and beverages. Symptoms include a high fever, abdominal pain, weakness, headaches, constipation and a skin rash.

Typhoid is prevalent in Nepal. Be sure to consult with a doctor about considering a typhoid vaccination before you leave.

Cholera: Cholera is a bacterial infection transmitted through contaminated food and drinks. Symptoms include severe diarrhea, vomiting, muscle cramps, dehydration and rapid heart rate.

Hepatitis A: Hepatitis A is a virus you can get from contaminated food and beverages. Symptoms include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and joint pain.

Hepatitis A vaccinations are routinely given as part of the childhood immunization regime, but you should consult with your doctor to make sure you are properly protected before you go.

Leptospirosis: Leptospirosis outbreaks are common in Nepal. You can lower your risk by always wearing closed-toed shoes, avoiding muddy water and not swimming in rivers and lakes.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection transmitted by contaminated freshwater sources. Symptoms of leptospirosis include fever, chills, headaches, vomiting, abdominal and muscle pain, jaundice, red eyes, rash and diarrhea.

Rabies: Rabies is a virus you can get if you’re bitten, scratched or even licked by an infected animal. If you will be in contact with animals, or in remote regions, consult with your doctor about getting a rabies vaccination before you go.)

If you’re bringing prescription medications:
  1. Check to see if there are restrictions on your medication in your destination country, especially if the medication contains narcotics, amphetamines or other often controlled substances
  2. Bring medications in their original, labeled container. Never carry loose medication
  3. Include your dated prescription signed by your doctor, certifying the condition the medications are prescribed for, dosages and their generic drug names. Ensure the name on the prescription, container and your passport all match.
  4. If you need syringes or needles, your doctor includes their need on the prescription.
  5. Before you leave, find out how you can legally access medications in the case of loss, theft or emergency – even OTC medication may require documentation from your doctor. Never have controlled substances mailed to you
  6. If legal, consider bring a second container of any essential medications, in case one is lost or stolen. Pack the primary bottle in your carry on, and the second one in another location. Personal-use quantity restrictions may limit you to 30-or 90-day supplies
Travel Health Insurance Checklist:
  1. Investigate travel health insurance options
  2. Be sure the plan includes any pre-existing conditions you have, and be sure to declare them before you go
  3. See if you need an “Extreme Sports” add-on policy if you’re planning activities like scuba diving or spelunking
  4. Find out the payment or reimbursement process and 24-hour emergency coverage contact