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Staying Fit and Healthy in Nepal

What comes first? A healthy mind or a healthy body? Just like the other unanswered question - which came first, the chicken or the egg??

A healthy mind promotes a healthy body and vice versa. There are some who think that it’s all in the mind. A mind can make a healthy body sick or a sick body perfectly fit and fine. Basically, we need both, a healthy mind and a healthy body just like we don’t care which came first, the chicken or the egg as long as we get to eat the chicken drumstick and boiled eggs.

To stay fit and healthy in Nepal, one needs to have a strong mind to keep oneself healthy physically and some regular medicines handy. The best way is to travel with a first aid kit with different medicines for headache, cold, stomachache, allergy, pain killers, thermometer, band-aids, and other regular prescriptions.

Like our mind feels strange for a couple of days in a new place, our body also feels the same. Our body and mind both need to get acclimatized in a new place for which it will take a couple of days so one has to be more careful about what one eats, especially the water.

The water available in Nepal is regarded to be infected, unsafe and impure, not only to the tourists but the local people as well. Purified water which is known as mineral water is available in the shops and hotels. Most of the restaurants serve filtered and boiled drinkable water but it is always better to ask the quality of water before drinking it. The water in the rivers and streams of Nepal is also contaminated. The water that is boiled for ten minutes is considered drinkable so tea, coffee and other drinks are safe for drinking. Some people purify the water by using the iodine tablets. Never get tempted to drink water directly from the tap.

Like water, food should also be taken into consideration when it comes to health so it is highly advised to hop into only such restaurants that offer hygienic food. Of course, the restaurant wont carry the tag “hygiene” but even then you can make out by the environment and if not use your sixth sense. It’s again the same game of your mind. So don’t eat at such places where your intuition stops you from eating. That could be just a psychology but it does come out true. The food choice from one country to another is different. The staple food in Nepal is dal, bhat, tarkari and achar: lentil soup, rice, curry and pickle. Although most of the Nepali cuisines are not very spicy, it could still be hot for some. And if you are too tempted to try Nepali dishes, you may place your order for the same dish with lesser spice. Avoid uncooked and undercooked food.

The air of Kathmandu is also polluted and not very safe to breathe in fresh air so it is not recommended for morning walks or jogs. If you need exercise in Kathmandu, the best way is to head to the gymnasiums located inside the star rated hotels or other total fitness centers. But if you are in Nepal for the purpose of trekking, then you will get plenty of exercise and a bonus, that is better air in those high altitude trekking areas.

Some other possible health hazards:
Diarrhea: This is one of the common problems in Nepal but one does not need to panic at the sight of the loose stool. Drink plenty of water and other liquids. You should be fine within few days and if not, please consult with the doctor.

Dehydration: During summer while trekking, sweating is quite normal but it is important to restore the lost fluids by drinking plenty of liquids. Dehydration drains the energy out of the body making it feel weak, tired and lethargic and sometimes with bouts of headaches too and the best way to deal with it is to drink plenty of water and other fluids without getting thirsty.

Altitude Sickness: While ascending from low level to high altitude areas in Nepal, a trekker might feel shortness of breath with the heart pounding in the lack of oxygen in the air. This sort of condition is called acute mountain sickness that ends up with the feeling of tiredness, loss of appetite, headache, sleeplessness, frequent nausea and vomiting. The best way to overcome this sickness is by taking enough rest and drinking plenty of liquids. And to prevent the sickness, every trekker should take a rest between the treks and get oneself acclimatized with the rising altitude and if the condition is very bad, descend immediately towards the comfortable altitude.

Food Poisoning: It is regarded to be the outcome of contaminated food but it is strange sometimes when a group of people eat the same food but one or two are the victims of it. So you can get food poisoning anytime, anywhere due to any reason but even then, avoid food that looks unpalatable to you. One can recover from food poising within 24 hours after the body ejects all the food, it rids itself from the poison too. Drink plenty of fluids and take rest.

Cold and Cough: While trekking in high altitude areas for a log time, you can get a running nose and mild cough, the symptoms of cold due to breathing excess of dry cold air. The regular cough tablets can help to treat the problem with plenty of hot soup including warm water.

Blisters: Walking or trekking for a longer period of time ends up with blisters in your feet which can be quite painful. The best way to avoid blister is to keep your feet as dry as possible by using clean and fresh powdered socks and comfortable shoes. You may apply powder to your feet occasionally on your mission.

Sunburn: The ultraviolet rays from the sun in high altitude places can be very powerful. While trekking, it is always good to wear a protective sun hat with sunscreen and a pair of sunglasses. As the air in those areas is also very dry and windy, the sunscreen lotion helps the skin to be less itchy. Any other lotion can be used to protect the skin and lips from getting cracked and chapped.

Prevention is always better than cure but sometimes the preventive measures are just beyond our control. For such circumstances, it is always recommended to take medical insurance, especially medical evacuation insurance before traveling to Nepal. In case of emergency medical need, this kind of insurance will definitely helps to save lots of money and ease your tensions. Please read more about Medical Matters in Nepal.


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