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Health Concerns

There are preparations that can be made prior to your trip which will aid you immensely.

First, a physical examination before the trip is necessary as people with heart disease, high blood pressure, asthma, serious anemia, and other cardio and respiratory problems should not travel in the extreme altitudes encountered Tibet. Even if you do not believe that you have a health problem, the sudden change to a high altitude may make a latent one apparent and it is best to be forewarned so that you can take proper precautions. Did you know that some common illnesses can be aggravated by the thin air of high altitudes? Therefore, it is best to ask your doctor to advise you about precautions you can take and items to bring along on your trip that may assist you to adjust to the climate and altitude. It is also a good idea to pack some commonly used over-the-counter medicines, such as those used for cold, inflammation, insect bite, and sunstroke. But, even with these OTC items, you should check with your doctor or pharmacist to ensure that the brands are safe in very high altitude environments.

The weather on the plateau is quite changeable and there is a large temperature difference between day and night. It is very important to keep warm and avoid getting chilled. We recommend that during the day you wear loose, nonbinding clothes that are layered along comfortable walking shoes and absorbent socks. A brimmed hat and a pair of sunglasses are advised to protect you from the ultraviolet radiation which is much stronger there due to the thin air. Skin care products with sun block are a must to avoid sunburns.

Your high altitude diet should consist primarily of foods that are easy to digest, such as light soups, cereals, noodles, fruits and cooked vegetables. This is one time when sugar in your diet is a plus as a source of energy, especially brown sugar which works well to relieve mountain sickness . As always, moderation is key and avoiding cigarettes, cigars and alcohol is very important.

Some experts suggest that children younger than 10 years old should not travel to Tibet. Their lower immune resistance slows recovery from mountain sickness and the altitude can adversely affect their normal growth. Again, always check with your family physician about these decisions.

Tibet has an abundance of exquisitely beautiful lakes. But just because a lake is beautiful, it does not mean that its water is safe to drink. The local people say that after drinking the water from some lakes people may experience serious long term health problems, not just a minor upset stomach. So please be cautious at all times. Pay attention to the instructions given by your guides. Please note that thawed snow is usually very safe to drink.

Lastly, stay away from wild animals. Some animals are in the habit of racing along with cars. This may seem amusing and the animal may give the appearance of harmlessness. But it is not so and a direct encounter with wild animals may turn out to be very dangerous. Always, be careful. Following these simple guidelines will ensure that your trip to Tibet is as wonderful as you have dreamed it to be!
Comments and Questions

Hello Tibet Trip

I'm a 32 year old man, 92kg's, 175m tall and suffer from asthma. I plan on going to the doctor this week to check if I can make the Tibetan city of Lhasa without dying. I have asthma that I control using medication but I'm more than capable of running a 30 minute 5km race...what would you suggest?

Thank you in advance for your advice.

Warren Christopher


6/7/2015 9:30:00 AM


Asked by Warren (China)

Usually, people with the asthma are suggested not to go to that area due to the high altitude. Anyway, just like you said that you are actually strong enough. Probably you can go, but do go to see a doctor first and listen to his or her suggestion.

6/24/2015 4:05:00 AM