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Health and Insurance
Though Nepal is not any more unsafe than any other developing country, update
your preventive inoculations. Injections against meningitis, tetanus, typhoid
and, perhaps, cholera are recommended. Vaccination against rabies (which is
quite rampant in Nepal) can be good but it is too bothersome and expensive to be
worth the trouble. Just keep yourself safe from stray dogs and monkeys.
Malaria is under control in Nepal. The risk of catching it is small and only in
the southern plains. Mosquito netting and/or repellent are advised when there,
especially during the summer and monsoon seasons. Also, as a preventive measure,
take chloroquine pills starting two weeks before and six weeks after your visit
to the plains.
AIDS is a growing problem. Official figures of only a couple of dozen cases
of HIV in Nepal is a better indicator of the government's inability to collect
data (or deny them) than the actual cases of the disease. Don't be misled into
believing that unsafe sex is okay. Though prostitution in Nepal is insignificant
compared to other Asian countries, watch out.
Also, doctors in Kathmandu are reporting that health problems due to severe
air pollution are rising astronomically in Kathmandu. Old vehicles spewing out
black smoke is unfortunately a normal scene on the roads of Kathmandu. Along the
main roads traveled mainly by vehicles, the air gets quite nasty especially
during rush hour. Make a conscious effort to minimize your walking on these
streets used mainly by vehicles during rush hour.
Many, if not most, travelers to Nepal are likely to get stomach problems at some
point during their visit. It is generally caused simply because of a change in
diet and climate, but also by drinking contaminated water and eating
contaminated food. But if you do get it, the most effective remedy is to fast
for a day and consume plenty of water or some fluid. You can find effective
medicines against amoebal diarrhea in any drug store in Kathmandu. Carry some
with you when you are going to be away on trekking trails. A rehydration package
called "Jeevan Jal" is found everywhere in Nepal; it is quite
See FAQ on Trekking.
Almost all good doctors and all well equipped hospitals and clinics are in
Kathmandu. Visiting a doctor in a clinic is probably better than going directly
to a public hospital. Hospitals in Kathmandu can be very crowded with the whole
country coming there for medical treatment. Private "nursing homes"
and clinics are plentiful in Kathmandu. Elsewhere in the country, there is not
much of a choice: you can at best get a service that may pull you through until
you reach Kathmandu. See FAQ on Trekking on how to get emergency help while on
Oh yes, some sort of travel insurance is highly recommended. Most travel
insurance covers emergency flights, medical expenses, and theft or loss of
possessions. If you plan to go rafting or trekking, make sure your insurance
covers these "dangerous activities." Remember to keep your receipts to
make claims. In order to make claims on lost or stolen items, you will need a
police report issued in Nepal by the Interpol Section of the Nepal Police.