Do I need vaccinations before travelling to Nepal?

There is no shortage of reasons for anyone to go to Nepal. From high altitude mountaineering in the Himalayas to the jungle safari on the southern flatlands, from trekking in some of the most famed trails to encountering rich cultural heritage, there is something for everyone. But importantly, before venturing into this beautiful country, you might want to familiarize yourself with some of the health and vaccination recommendations for Nepal.

No vaccination is legally required while entering or leaving Nepal. Having said that, there are a few health precautions that you might want to consider if Nepal is on your next travel list. This article will attempt to inform you about some of the possible vaccination and health requirements before traveling to Nepal. Please keep in mind that this is not a professional medical advice, but a general guideline to inform you about some of the possible health precautions that you may need to understand before the journey. To help you in identifying some potential health risks and immunization issues you may encounter while holidaying in Nepal, here we present the most common travel health issues which should be helpful for preparing your trip.

Hepatitis A and Typhoid risk in Nepal

During the course of your stay in Nepal, you could be at a slight risk of contracting hepatitis A or typhoid from contaminated food or water. Typhoid exhibits a flu-like symptoms and sometimes hard to diagnose immediately, while hepatitis A affects the liver. However, both of these conditions are easily avoidable if you get a single vaccine shot, which will protect you against both for several years. It is recommended you get immunized leading up to your visit to the country, especially if you are one of those adventurous eater or a foodie who has an appetite for most delicacies offered along the way. Additionally, while you are in Nepal, it is best advised you follow proper hand washing and safe hygiene practice. Avoid drinking tap water, and if you must drink, make sure it has been boiled.

Hepatitis B risk in Nepal

Hepatitis B is a viral disease affecting the liver, and is transmitted through bodily fluids such as blood or blood products. If you are planning to get a tattoo or piercing, or may enter a new sexual relationship during your time in Nepal, then you should consider immunizing yourself against the disease. Although hepatitis B is part of the childhood immunization schedule in many countries and a vaccine preventable condition, many adults have missed this immunization. Well, since you will be traveling to Nepal, this might be a good time for vaccination.

What if you are planning to stay a little longer in Nepal?

For some of you who are intending a longer stay in Nepal, and depending on the time of the year and places you are likely to visit, there are additional vaccination considerations. If you will be here during the monsoon months and traveling to the southern plains of the country (rice growing region), you may also need the Japanese Encephalitis vaccine, particularly if you will stay there for several weeks. Malaria is also a concern in the region during that time of the year. As both diseases are mosquito-borne, insect avoidance measures should also be followed.

Although rabies is rare among travellers in Nepal, the risk escalates with prolonged stay and consequently with more likelihood of animal contact. For the adventurous traveller who will likely engage in a multitude of outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, biking, and other sporting deeds for an extended period, it is recommended you get the pre-exposure rabies vaccination. Stray dogs are common in Nepal, and it is usually prudence to minimize animal contact during your stay in the country.

Of course this is not to deter you or have any health concern as you plan your visit to this wonderful country. It is likely you are already immunized against the foresaid diseases, and can travel to Nepal with a peace of mind. If by any chance you have missed out your vaccination on any of those, now might be the time to do so as you prepare for your Nepal Travel. Have a pleasant journey!

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