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Health problems en route

#1
Blisters, Diarrhea, swollen joints, sunburn, fever, etc. -Which health problems can be expected, and which of them can be managed and which would endanger going on at all?

Curious,
Kerryman
 

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William Marques

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#2
Health on the Camino

Blisters, Diarrhea, swollen joints, sunburn, fever, etc. -Which health problems can be expected, and which of them can be managed and which would endanger going on at all?
All of the above can be a problem. All can be managed or lived with. Sensible precautions are are:
1. not to wear new shoes and to take things easy the first week, bad blisters can really be a problem.
2. wear sunscreen and drink plenty of water to protect from sunburn and dehydration.
3. some of us get mild diarrhea every foreign holiday and usually it lasts a few days at the begining as the body adjusts, if it is the real thing you may have to say somewhere for a few days to recover.
4. swollen joints can be from pushing to hard, slow down.
For any serious accident or illness the Spanish medical system is very good and if you know you may have a serious weakness make sure you have a mobile phone and the emergency services number to hand.
Buen camino
William
 

Peter Robins

Veteran Member
Donating Member
#3
I would agree with William's comments.

I think 'Spanish tummy' used to be much more of a problem than it is nowadays, because outsiders were not used to the Spanish/Mediterranean style of cooking (lots of olive oil, etc). With Spanish restaurants in many towns, and ready-made meals in the supermarket and so on, non-Spanish digestions are now fully used to it.

In my experience the most problematic of the more common mishaps are the muscular ones. It's quite easy to slip and pull a muscle or similar, which could well put you out of action for a week or two. You then have to decide whether to stay where you are, go somewhere else (lie on a beach perhaps?) or go home till it improves. Your answer will no doubt depend on what other commitments you have.
 
#4
There are many things that can happen which are not good for your (fysical) health. I had a small first-aid kitt with me. There are a lot of "farmacia's", docters along the way, so there's no need to take a lot of pills, plasters etc.

Personally I'd say... listen to your body!

Maybe have some walks with your backpack (pack the bag as you would while walking), where the shoes, socks etc that you want to use.

William Marques said:
drink plenty of water to protect from sunburn and dehydration.
There are special sachets with "powder" (in Holland they're called ORS) which you can put into your water once or twice a week. They are full with minerals and salt, which help to prevent dehydration. Or eat some salty nuts, especially when it's very hot and you sweat a lot.

Also... you might want to think about buying your water. There are enough water places along the way, but not everybody reacts well to the water. Not that the water isn't good, but your body might have some problems with it, which can cause diarrhea or stomag aches.

But again... listen to your body and feel what it needs and does not need.
 

Peter Robins

Veteran Member
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#5
Shamanca said:
There are special sachets with "powder" (in Holland they're called ORS) which you can put into your water once or twice a week. They are full with minerals and salt, which help to prevent dehydration. Or eat some salty nuts, especially when it's very hot and you sweat a lot.
um, these are really 2 separate things with the same cause: when you walk in hot weather and sweat a lot, you lose both water and salt. The way to prevent dehydration (loss of water) is to drink more: fill up before you set out in the morning, and carry plenty of water with you. Avoid alcohol until you reach your destination as, contrary to the claims of certain brewers, it increases dehydration.
You may well also need to increase your salt intake; there are tablets you can take, or simply ask for salt when you're in a bar or restaurant, and add some to your food or drink. Don't overdo it though, as too much salt is bad for you too :?

Shamanca said:
listen to your body and feel what it needs and does not need.
I agree in general, but one thing that the body seems to have no way of communicating is an imbalance of salt, though cramp often means a lack of salt is affecting the proper functioning of the muscles.
 

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#6
Speaking in general, I quite agree that all illnesses and pains that one usually develops on the Camino are temporary.
But speaking in particular, I know that some are so troublesome or take so long in curing that -given a usual time window for the Camino- one may have to give up.

I just remembered a very nasty one I was actually disposed toward myself, a stress weakening ('marching fracture') of the middle foot bones, which I then avoided by making the right choice of hiking boots.

And I remember a guy from South America who flew back with knee joints and ankles so swollen, he had lost all confidence they would ever carry him on.

These load and structure stress reactions are often related to overweight, both of the body and the rucksack. And -come to think of it- I think these are the most serious and longest lasting health problems that can occur en route.

Hope this helps anyone.

Claus
 

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