Wednesday 1 February 2012

The Walking Chemist

I have many reasons for choosing Nepal for my sabbatical, as a climber and walker I want to see the largest mountains in the world. Also looking back on all my holidays I have only been to relatively developed, westernised countries.

Nepal, allows me to experience a different culture, meet new friends and try different foods. However, this has a few downsides, whilst Nepal is still developing and does have some western comforts (luxury hotels, internet, pizza restaurants, etc) it still does not have some of the basics that we take for granted like 24 hour electricity (I’m told there are frequent power cuts in Kathmandu) and a plentiful clean water supply.

So, it seems highly probable that I’ll get sick sometime during my trip and I want to be as prepared as possible! 


I recently went to see my Doctor and the practice Nurse (Linda) to talk about which vaccinations I need for my trip. They advised me that I need to have vaccinations for Typhoid, Hepatitis B, Japanese Encephalitis (for my elephant safari) and Rabies just in case I have a run in with any stray dogs or monkeys. See the great websites & for more information travel vaccinations.

These vaccinations are on top of the “normal” ones for Tetanus, Diphtheria, Polio, Tuberculosis and Hepatitis A. The good news and lucky for me, as I’m a bit of a light-weight when it comes to injections, needles and blood, is that I already am covered for these otherwise I would have needed more injections. In total I need 9 injections over the next 6 months. My arms are going to feel like a pincushions!

The second reason for seeing my Doctor was to obtain the prescription only medicines Acetazolamide (aka Diamox) used to alleviate altitude sickness symptoms, antibiotics (Ciprofloxacin) to treat traveller’s diarrhoea and anti-malarial tablets for my elephant safari in the Terai region of Nepal.

After reading other people’s accounts on some internet forums about unsuccessfully trying to obtain Diamox and precautionary antibiotics from their Doctors, I thought this was going to be difficult conversation. My Doctor was a bit of a star though and after having a good chat (he was genuinely interested in my trip and I even spoke to another Doctor who works for a charity in Nepal, explaining what I was going to do), I was handed the prescriptions. Result!

This week I’ve had the first round of injections. Two down, seven to go!