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Stay Healthy

No vaccinations are required for China, although anti-malaria medication is recommended for low-lying subtropical areas of Southeast Tibet during the rainy season. Immunization against polio, tetanus, rabies (fairly commonplace), hepatitis, meningitis, and typhoid should also be considered. Avoid unboiled water and ice-cubes, as well as uncooked vegetables and unpeeled fruit since dysentery is commonplace. It is strongly recommended that everyone has a check-up by their doctor before embarking on a prolonged overland journey in remote parts of Tibet, and that you prepare by undertaking some physical exercise each day (walking, swimming or jogging)

Generally, the dry and sunny atmosphere in Tibet means that bacteria are not as plentiful nd as virulent as at lower altitudes in Nepal, India, and China, Thus, one remains fairly healthy while travelling in Tibet. Altitude sickness is the commonest ailment and you are advised to take plenty of fluids throughout your stay. You should have a daily intake of four litres at high altitude, and keep your water-bottle handy and filled up, or be sure to drink sufficient soft drinks, mineral water, or soup in the course of the day. Otherwise the effects of the high altitude are much more likely to cause you to feel headaches, light-headedness, nausea, or sleeplessness. Always remember to replenish your water-bottle when stopping near a stream, spring or lake in the course of a long overland journey. It is important to pace yourself well when walking in Tibet. Move slowly and in a relaxed manner to minimize discomfort. Apart from paracetamol, aspirin and mild sleeping tablets which can help, the following remedies have sometimes been recommended by experienced travelers and mountaineers: Coca 30 and Phosphorum 30(homeopathic); and acetazolamide (eg the diuretic Diamox). In view of the demanding nature of travel on the plateau, most agencies require a medical certificate signed by your doctor if you are over the age of 65.

Apart from altitude sickness, the major irritant to health in Tibet is the dryness of the atmosphere which often causes respiratory problems or cracking of the lips. You are advised to carry throat lozenges and an expectorant for dry coughs such as Actifed, as well as n effective lip-salve such as Blistease or Carmex.

Don’t forget to consult your doctor before departure and ensure that you bring adequate supplies of any necessary prescribed drug (to be carried in hand luggage). Oxygen pillows or bottles are sometimes available on standard Central Tibetan routes, and certain trekking routes, the first-aid kit will be carried by an ’ambulance’ horse.

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Lhasa Holy HighlightsLhasa Holy Highlights, 4 days Potala Palace, Johkang Temple, St.Barkhor, Drepung & Sera Monastery $357
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