Sanitation in Kathmandu
Apart from maintaining personal hygiene, keep your head on straight about sanitation while you're in Nepal. There are a lot of potential hazards to your health in the water you drink and the food you eat, and your hands will also carry an alarming amount of germs that don't belong in your mouth or your eyes. It is wise to be mindful of what you ingest and there are a few simple rules to help you avoid gastrointestinal civil war. First, don't drink the water available through the plumbing or from the mountain streams. These water sources do not undergo the extensive treatment processes as in more developed countries and they carry water-born bacteria. The way to make the water potable is by adding iodine or by boiling it sufficiently to kill all the nasties. You will also want to filter the water since it will probably have other undesired elements present. A great alternative is to always drink bottled water (where the cap and the plastic wrap are in tact), but as you get on the high mountain trails the bottles get to be expensive.
The second rule is to stay away from raw foods such as fruits and vegetables. This carries over from rule one since the raw items were likely rinsed with untreated water. Some restaurants that serve tourists are likely to be safe since they do use treated water, but don't take that fact for granted. Further, food from street vendors is not regulated by any health standards and can be very risky. The meat may not be thoroughly cooked and the implements may not be kept very clean. It is best to stick to food that is either packaged or thoroughly cooked. The third rule is to keep your hands clean and to keep them out of your mouth and away from your eyes. It's a hard habit but get used to keeping your hands clean using soap and water, and most importantly, to sterilize them using an alcohol-based sanitizer.
It's a good idea to carry a small bottle
of it in your pocket, and just out of habit to spread a little across your
hands several times throughout the day, especially before you eat. Don't bite
your nails or pick your teeth at all, you'll simply need to break that habit.
The most susceptible area for becoming infected is actually your eyes and it's
an even harder habit to break to rub your eyes. You'll find that a lot of dust
collects there and you'll need to remember to wipe it away with a clean cloth
instead of your bare hands. These three rules will help you avoid a great deal
of the dangers of a bacterial infection, but your body is not invincible, so
be sure to pack some cipro along just in case.