Travel Guide

Pre-trek Preparations

First aid kit, high altitude sickness, tibet

Staying healthy

Trekking in Tibet is relatively safe despite the remoteness of trekking areas; with common sense, preparation, and some basic medical knowledge, most illnesses or injures can be treated with a properly stocked personal first-aid kit.

There is no emergency helicopter service in Tibet. If anybody becomes sick or injured and requires evacuation, he or she must be carried or ride a pack animal to the nearest road head. An emergency ambulance service (dail 120) is now operational in Lhasa and will expand to cover central Tibet.

Pre-trek preparations

Prior to departure, visit your physician. Most treks in Tibet are rather strenuous and occur at elevations from 12,000 to 17,000 feet (3660 to 5200). People with diabetes, asthma, or high blood pressure can successfully trek in Tibet, but should check with doctor about potential problems and precautions.

First-Aid Kit

Always carry a basic first-aid kit, even if you are with a commercial trekking company. The quantities suggested below are based on the needs of one person during a three-week visit in Tibet. Consult your doctor for appropriate dosages. A must for all trekking group first-aid kits is James Wilkerson’s Medicine for Mountaineering.

Medications

Analgesics and anti- inflammatory

Aspirin, Acetaminophen, or Paracetamol.

20 tablets (5 grains / 325 to 500 mg). Aspirin is better as an anti-inflammatory.

Acetaminophen or Paracetamol with codeine

10 tablets (325 mg plus 30 mg codeine). Good for moderately severe pain and to suppress coughs.

Ibuprofen

10 tablets (200 or 400 mg). A good anti-inflammatory.

Antibiotics

Cephalexin

20 tablets (250 mg). A penicillin-based drug for skin infections and abscesses, and for chest, urinary, inner ear, and sinus infections. Substitute with Erythromycin (250 mg) for those allergic to penicillin.

Trimethoprims/Sulfamethoxazole

10 “double-strength” tablets (160 mg/ 800 mg) for urinary infections, chest infections, and sinusitis.

Tinidazole

4 to 8 tablets (500 mg) for intestinal parasites such as giardia and amebas. Substitute 15 to 30 tablets of metronidazole (200 mg)

Norfloxacin

24 tablets (400 mg) for treating bacterial diarrhea. Ciprofloxacin (500 mg) is equually effective but expensive.

Ophthalmic antibiotic cream or drops

To relieve conjunctivitis and other eye infections.

Antibiotic ointment

May prevent slightly infected cuts from worsening.

 Antidiarrhea and gastrointestinal medications

Loperamide or Lomotil

10 tablets to stop diarrhea.

Antacid tablets (optional)

24 tablets for upset or acid stomach.

Oral rehydration salts

2 packets for diarrhea.

Antiworm medication/Antihelminth (optional)

6 tablets (100 mg).

Laxative (optional)

5 suppositories of tablets.

Antivomiting medication (optional)

5 suppositories or tablets (25 mg)

Antihistamines

Diphenhydramine (50 mg) or Chlorpheniramine (4 mg).

5 tablets for severe itching, rashes, or swelling from allergic reactions or for insect bites, hay fever, cold symptoms, motion sickness, and insomnia at high elevations.

Decongestants and respiratory medications

Nasal decongestant

10 tablets for relief of cold and sinus symptoms.

Throat lozenges

10 pieces or more (hard candies are a good substitute).

Nose spray or drops (optional)

1 small bottle (0.25 to 0.50 percent solution).

Aromatic balms (optional)

Used as an inhalant or a chest or a rub; several brands are also excellent topical anti-inflammatories for muscle pain.

High-altitude Medication

Acetazolamide

10 tablets (250 mg) for prevention of AMS.

Dexamethasone (optional)

5 tablets (4 mg) for high altitude cerebral edema (emergency use only