Medication shops are not frequent on trekking routes; therefore, it is best to carry your own first aid kit. You should read about the possible problems before hand and consult with your local travel doctor regarding any required vaccination before you leave. Your local G.P will be able to offer you advice on what may occur and what to bring along.
On the Everest base camp route at Pheriche and on the Annapurna circuit route at Manang, there are clinics operated by the Himalayan rescue association. These clinics specialize in treating trekker’s health problems and offer programs on how to deal with and avoid altitude sickness. These clinics are open only during the main trekking season. While on the trek the following problems could occur.
- Upset stomach, often caused by change in diet or contaminated food and water. This is a common ailment, suffered by trekkers and travelers alike. To avoid it one should pay particular attention to hygiene and quality of the food and drink. You should bring a general antibiotics and Imodium as well as antiseptic hand wipes or soap along with you.
- Cough, sore throats and chapped lips are common in the dry mountain air. On rare occasions these can lead to chest infection. Sore throats can best be avoided by attempting not to breathe cold air directly through the mouth. This can be achieved by the use of a neckerchief or scarf tied over your mouth. Also sucking lozenges can help. Smoking also should be avoided as should alcohol at high altitudes.
- Joint and muscle strains, foot problems and blisters are other hindrances for trekkers. Wearing good footwear will go a long way in avoiding in these problems. You ensure that your boots or shoes are well broken in before your trek. For sprains and strains, apply cold water to reduce swelling and support the joint with a crepe bandage. We suggest you include in your first aid kit, bandages, a good supply of band aids and corn pads, as well as any joint support braces you need and a good muscle rub cream.
- Acute mountain sickness (AMS) is a fatal sickness caused by rapid altitude ascension. Therefore climbers ascending 3000 meters or above should acquire sound knowledge of proper acclimatization processes. Symptoms of the AMS include headache, lose of the appetite, swelling of limbs, dizziness, and difficulty in sleeping, irregular breathing, nausea and unusual weariness. Maintaining good fluid in take helps combat altitude sickness and hurried decent or evacuation to lower altitude is the only best cure. We recommend you to drink at least three liters of water a day and trek slowly when gaining altitude.
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