Medicine and Precautions

List of medicine and Precaution while trekking

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure- Benjamin Franklin”

I have compiled a list of medicine that someone may need while hiking especially at high altitude. I am not a doctor. It is always better to consult a physician before taking medicine. However, once you are travelling at higher altitude and inaccessible areas. Medicines are usually not available in remote areas. These necessary medicines are advisable to carry with you.

Prevention is always better than cure. Most of the problem can be avoided with following certain guidelines. While travelling to high altitude give proper importance to acclimatization. As a rule of thumb after a 1000 meter ascent stay there for at least 2 days.

Rules of acclimatization

  • Increase elevation slowly. ”Climb high – sleep low”.
  • Eat and drink properly. Prefer a diet that is high in carbohydrates and low in fat and salt. Further take plenty of water. Tea, soup, watery meal will also help. Drink water/tea/coffee/ juice/soup more frequently.
  • Slow your pace. Walk at a speed at which you are comfortable. There is no need to push further.
  • Monitor your body including heart rate and blood pressure.

Further, do not make rapid ascent, continuity is more important than the velocity. Do not go too fast, just keep walking at your own pace. Over 3000 meters, do not climb more than 300-400 meters a day and try to avoid walking more than 10-12 kms. No alcohol, no sleeping pills and no smoking. Drink at least 4-5 litres of fluid a day. You will be releasing a significant amount of this water in breathing. Do not carry heavy rucksack, 10 kg is okay. Further avoid travelling alone. Travelling in group is good, but if it is not possible it is recommended to hire a local guide.

It is advisable to include following medicines in your medical kit. Most of these medicines are preferably suited for high altitude trekking/hiking. Further, the list can be modified based on the altitude, accessibility and other facilities available nearby the trekking areas.

  • Digene or Pepto-Bismol for avoiding diarrhoea
  • Aspirin/Paracetamol or Similar Drug.
  • Oral Rehydration Solution and glucose
  • Altitude Medicines. Acetazolamide (DiamoxTM), 250mg tablets
  • First aid kit including scissors, Bandage ,Elastic Bandage, adhesive bandages, crepe bandage and a Thermometer ( One that reads below normal temperatures for diagnosis of hypothermia as well as above for fever).
  • Blister kit
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Iodine tablets and/or water filter
  • Diamox or Acetazolamide
  • Avomine
  • Acetaminophen or Tylenol for analgesia
  • Ibuprofen or Advil for analgesia and as an anti-inflammatory agent
  • Immodium or Lomotil for diarrhea
  • A nasal decongestant such as Afrin, Otrivin
  • Pepcid or Zantac for heartburn
  • An antibiotic, especially a Quinolone such as Ciprofloxacin
  • An asthma inhaler if you are prone to exercise induced asthma or asthma associated with bronchitis or upper respiratory infections
  • First aid kit including scissors, Bandage ,Elastic Bandage, adhesive bandages, crepe bandage and a Thermometer ( One that reads below normal temperatures for diagnosis of hypothermia as well as above for fever).
  • Vitamin C powder
  • Aspirin/Paracetamol or Similar Drug.
  • Codeine for severe pain.
  • Oral Rehydration Solution and glucose
  • Altitude Medicines i.e Acetazolamide (DiamoxTM), 250mg tablets
  • Body heating Pouch & Toe warmer (warmiee)
  • Bactoban 1% cream (15g tube) for skin related problem.
  • Nicardia (Nifedipine) – Only in case of emergencies if HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema) is suspected
  • Voveran SR 100mg – Relief from severe pain
  • Zinetac 150mg – Acidity or gastric problems (only if severe)
  • Entroquinol – Relief from Loose motion (mild)
  • Burnol – Antiseptic ointment (for Burns)
  • Vicks/Amrutanjan Inhaler (Not to be shared)
  • Vaseline/Himalaya Lip guard (Not to be shared)
  • Relispray – Ayurvedic spray for sprains and aches

I am again stressing, prevention is always better than cure. I do carry most of the medicine in my medicine kit. But fortunately, I have never used them barring few basic medicine i.e paracetamol, anti-biotics and pain-killer in worse cases. Acclimatize properly, drink enough fluid, and walk slowly. Do not smoke and do not drink alcohol. Rest will be automatically taken care

“Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread. — Edward Alley”