HealthTips

Vaccinations

As per Ministry of Health, Royal Government of Bhutan there is no standing requirement of vaccination to travel to Bhutan. WHO however, recommends Adult Diphtheria & Tetanus, Hepatitis A & B, Polio, Typhoid, Cholera, Rubella, Japanese B Encephalitis, and Rabies vaccinations. You may at your own concern, wish to take immunization against certain preventable diseases; recommend you to go through US Centers for Disease Control for updated information the issue. 

General Health Concerns

General health problems for visitors in Bhutan include diarrhea and respiratory problems due to   change in climatic conditions. For some, altitude change could also cause some palpitations, breathlessness or headaches, especially if you are on trek. Travelers are advised not to drink water from uncertified sources. 

Altitude Sickness

Altitude Sickness is one important concern that a traveler needs to be aware of. International Society for Mountain Medicine will provide you good information on prevention and management of this sickness.

Symptoms include headache, dizziness and lethargy, loss of appetite, nausea, breathlessness and irritability. Difficulty sleeping is another common symptom and tends to be worse at night. This sickness are caused by the accumulation of fluid in the lungs and brain, and include breathlessness at rest, dry cough, severe headache, lack of coordination (leading to drunken-walk), confusion, irrational behavior, vomiting and eventually unconsciousness. These symptoms, even in mild form are to be taken seriously before it gets serious.

Prevention:

1. Ascend slowly and do not push yourself while ascending high passes, allow your body to acclimatize the high altitude; take plenty of breaks
2. Should descend down to lower altitude for overnight halts
3. Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration
4. Eat light, high-carbohydrate meals for more energy.
5. Avoid alcohol and smoke to prevent dehydration
6. Avoid sedatives

Treatment:

1. Mild symptoms could be treated by taking rest at same altitude until recovery.
2. Paracetamol or Aspirin is recommended for headache; advisable that you consult your physician beforehand about medication.
3. If symptoms persists or worsens, immediate descent is necessary; this is the most effective way to treat this sickness.
4. Drug treatments are given at some cases but should not compromise to descend or to enable further ascent.

Generally acute altitude sickness victims need to be evacuated to better health; travelers   precisely trekkers are advised to have adequate coverage of Travel Insurance prior to commencing journey in Bhutan.

Health Care Facilities in Bhutan

There are no private clinics or private practicing physicians available in Bhutan; however, most places have government run hospitals/health facilities that will treat travelers in need of medical help. The best available facility is in Thimphu at the Jigme Dorji Wangchuk National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) that has doctors and specialists covering all areas of specialization. On the event of seriously ill/injured, need to consider getting evacuated to better medical facilities out of Bhutan either in Thailand or in India.

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