Nepal wasn’t really riddled with any safety concerns but there are health concerns before going. Luckily my program gave me a guide to what I needed to do to be safe. A lot of this was tips as well as prep-work before I go.
For the water, at least in the cities and most rural areas, it is undrinkable for visitors. So we will be drinking only bottled water during our time in Kathmandu. However we will be spending a bit of time out in rural areas, so we were instructed to pack iodine drops to make the water safe.
The vaccinations that were required for my program were
- MMA (measles mumps, rubella)
- Tdap (tetanus booster shot)
- TB test (and x-ray if exposure is positive)
Those are both things that people are typically already vaccinated with.
The ones that were recommended to me where
- Japanese Encephalitis
- Hep A
- Hep B
I was not recommended to get Malaria but was told to exercise mosquito safety. There is no risk of mosquito born illnesses in the capital or in the mountain regions because of the high altitude.
Visiting the doctor:
I went to my doctor before going and we talked through some of the needs. I already had MMR but needed a TB test and a Tdap shot. Additionally I was behind on Meningitis so I had to get that as well. They did TB in my forearm, tetanus in one arm and Meningitis in the other. They told me both of my arms would be pretty sore.
Visiting the VNA:
Afterward I went to a place called passport health, which is the same idea as the VNA. They carry vaccines that I couldn’t get at the regular doctor. There they gave me typhoid and Hep A . I already had all 3 Hep B shots. For flu they said the season was almost over so I don’t need to worry about it. The other two shots, rabies and Japanese Encephalitis, are series shots and since I only had about a week at home, I didn’t have time to get vaccinated for those series. Luckily they are both ones that should be able to be avoided situational. For rabies I was told to just stay far away from animals. If I get rabies, things could get bad very quickly. For encephalitis, it comes from mosquito. I won’t spend a lot of time in mosquito areas, but when I do I was given strict instructions about how to avoid any exposure.
The passport health office gave me a whole packet about safety as far as food, and such. They also gave me a prescription for something similar to Cipro in case I get a pretty bad stomach thing. Lastly, they told me to bring Imodium, because it was inevitable that I would have some serious stomach problems.
We will see how all of this holds up once I get other there. But these were the steps I took to be safe in this foreign place.