Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Info on Safety while at Nepal

Safety Measures

Food & Water: Most of the water you get at Nepal (that isn't bottled) is non-potable.

  • Make sure the seals of the bottled water is still intact.
  • Purify non-bottled water with iodine or chlorine tablets (available readily in most drug stores in Kathmandu).
  • Avoid eating the ice because it might be made of untreated water
  • Avoid Salads, Ice creams and fresh juice from the streets because they may have been made with untreated water, and the vegetables might not be clean.
  • Try not to let the tap water or any other water sources that are not from bottled water, to enter your system (dont drink tap water, dont brush your teeth with tap water)
  • All water used for drinking, brushing teeth, and making ice cubes should be boiled, hot drinks are advised as beverages due to the ice in cold drinks being unsafe
  • Cheese, unless cured, is best avoided. Yoghurt is safe only if it is known to be made from pasteurized milk.
  • All meat, poultry, and fish must be well cooked and served while hot, Pork is best to be avoided
  • Fruits with intact skins should be peeled by you just prior to consumption.

Safety while Climbing:
Don't walk on unstable ground. Use your trekking pole for balance. Look out for animals that might eat you, or anything dangerous. Pay attention to your surroundings and make sure everybody is alright.

Safety Hazards & Prevention


Hypothermia can kill at an amazing pace when cold temperatures and strong winds cause the body to lose heat quickly. Shivering starts first in order to produce body heat from the rapid muscular shaking. When the body’s temperature drops to or below 35ºc, dizziness and disorientation kick in, then the shivering stops.

  • Involuntary shivering
  • Inability to do things requiring motor skills e.g. skiing, but can still walk and talk
Hypothermia treatment:
  • Change wet clothing for windproof, waterproof gear
  • Add heat – if safe, start a fire
  • Increase exercise, if possible
  • Get into a pre-warmed sleeping bag or blankets
  • Drink hot drinks, followed by candy or other high-sugar foods
  • Apply heat to neck, armpits and groin
  • Keep the individual’s movement to a minimum. Making the muscles work at this stage is likely to send cold blood from the legs and arms into the central circulatory system. This will cause the core temperature to fall even more, which could be fatal as when the heart is cold its natural rhythm is disturbed. This is called afterdrop.
  • Eat properly with plenty of carbohydrates and fats for energy and warmth.
  • Drink plenty. If a person doesn’t get up in the night at least once to urinate then they are not drinking enough. Urine should be a pale yellow, straw-like colour, not dark.
  • Get enough sleep. Climbing mountains is gruelling work and cannot be done on only four hours sleep. Being well rested will make you feel energized and positive about the day’s climb.
  • Remove any wet clothes immediately. They cause accelerated heat loss and impair movement.
  • Insulate well, particularly the head and neck as these are the areas which lose the most heat the quickest.

Things to take note for Hypothermia treatment: (IMPORTANT)

  • If you can detect a faint pulse do not do CPR to support their heart. Only start rescue breathing, chest compressions or full CPR if you cannot detect any breathing, any pulse or both. Check frequently to see if they start breathing on their own, even if it is shallow, the same for a pulse.
  • Administering CPR to someone, even someone with a slight pulse can cause his or her heart to stop.
  • Remember, make all efforts to keep them alive until help arrives, they have been warmed and declared dead. People have recovered in morgues from hypothermia and have had profoundly low body temperatures and still recover.
  • Never give up hope with a hypothermia victim that does not have any other serious medical complications (like severe injuries from a fall or extreme altitude sickness).

Acute Mountain Sickness:

Acute mountain sickness is due to a combination of reduced air pressure and lower oxygen levels at high altitudes. The faster you climb to a high altitude, the more likely you will get acute mountain sickness. Your symptoms will also depend on the speed of your climb and how hard you push (exert) yourself.

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Rapid pulse (heart rate)
  • Shortness of breath with exertion
Complications (if not treated asap):
  • Coma
  • Fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema)
  • Swelling of the brain
  • Climb the mountain gradually
  • Stop for a day or two of rest for every 2,000 feet (600 meters) above 8,000 feet (2,400 meters)
  • Sleep at a lower altitude when possible
  • Learn how to recognize early symptoms of mountain sickness
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Eat regular meals, high in carbohydrates
If symptoms such as headache or shortness of breath do not improve promptly with simple changes, visiting a doctor may be helpful if descent is inconvenient and a doctor is available.

Descend immediately if shortness of breath at rest, mental confusion or lethargy, or loss of muscle coordination develop. Symptoms of most people with acute altitude sickness improve by the time they reach a medical facility, which is usually located at a lower altitude.

Self Care for Altitude Sickness :

  • Delay further ascent until symptoms improve.
  • Rest and stay warm.
  • Take acetaminophen (Tylenol) for headache.
  • Do not use sleeping pills or other central nervous system depressants to treat insomnia because they can suppress breathing.
  • If symptoms continue, do not travel any higher.
  • If symptoms worsen, descend approximately 1,000-2,000 feet (300-600 meters) immediately.

Other possible sicknesses you may get [hopefully not]:
  • High-Altitude Cerebral Edema, 
  • High-Altitude Pulmonary Edema
The combination of less oxygen and lower air pressure found at high altitudes pose a twin health hazard, which can manifest in one or more forms of altitude sickness.


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