Experiences while being sick on the camino?

Did you get homesick on the Camino de Santiago?

The question was:

Over the last few days I have been down with some kind of cold/flu bug (bad cough, achy muscles, no energy). I was lying in bed yesterday, trying to force myself to get up and make some breakfast (said endeavour not being helped by the fact I had no appetite), when the thought crossed my mind, “Seriously, you are going to walk nearly 800km? You can’t even walk 10 metres to the kitchen.”

Now, obviously that was the flu talking. But, it did make me wonder about how people coped with illness while on the Camino. My understanding is albuerges are only for one night, and while if I had had to, I probably could have dragged myself a km or 2, that would have been about my limit. If you are in a city when it happens, you could find a hotel I guess, but otherwise I am not sure what I would do.

Read this interesting conversation on being sick on the Camino here in the Camino forum.


8 Replies to “Experiences while being sick on the camino?”

  1. Dont word you will always be well looked after and I am talking from experience.Buen camino,ultreya.

  2. During the last 100 km of my camino, I got sick with some terrible sinusy thing. It was a few miserable days, and it slowed my pace down. Luckily, the majority of the Camino is just walking – on various degrees of incline – so I just walked slowly for a few days, and stopped earlier than I would have anyway. (And in the last 100 km beds are scarce, anyway, so you’re forced to stop earlier than you might otherwise.)

  3. yes I was wondering about this. Prob doing trip Spet /oct this year. Have organized 8 weeks off- have to travel from Australia in that time. Was thinking – what if I dont finish in 8 weeks?:) – what if I get sick- but then well that is why i am doing it- so as not to live a scared life 🙂

  4. I got off the plane in Madrid without enough of amed thatbI needed for the trip. the great thing about pharmacies inEurope ..they have much more powerthanthose in the US. I was able to get my meds in 5 minutes, no dr. RX! also broke my glass frames. Couldn’t” t be fixed but the optometrist measured my lens and selected ably a dozen frames inthe shop that would fit my frames and I walked out with new glasses in 15 minutes (I’m still getting complements in mynSpanish glasses). we have found if you don’t speak the Language tryntomgetnto a computer and google ” your brand of med. say Tums for indigestion” and askmformantranslation in the language you need, write it down and take to pharmacy..obviously for no emergencies but this will help.

  5. Last year (2012) I had planned to walk the Camino Aragonese in September. Before leaving my home in South Africa I also had the flu, but I left never-the-less. Before going down to Spain I spent some time with friends and family in the UK, Holland and Belgium. My flu just didn’t get any better. Eventually I visited a doctor in Belgium who diagnosed that I had the beginnings of pneumonia. He prescribed some antibiotics. A week later I was walking over the Pyrenese at Sompoort. The whole walk to Pamplona was not good.
    I recommend that you make sure you are in the best of health before you set out. Get your flu seen to properly before leaving home.

  6. I understand I got sick on my first Camino in 2008. I ended up with a bad chest cold and had to stop at Burgos and take a bus back to Madrid. Luckily the family I stay with gave me a room although you need a reservation. Seven days there with a cough that would not stop with lots of junk that was able to bring up. eventually returned home ;it took me 2 months to get rid of it.

  7. I can sympathize with you. I had several days of not walking due to 1) sprained ankle, 2) really bad blisters, and 3) a cold with fever. I walked from Le Puy, France to Finisterre, Spain, and gave myself 2.5 months to do it. All my maladies occurred early in my walk, in France.

    How I coped: I had two days of not walking due to the sprain, then some short, painful days walking with a cane (and the pack!) for about a week. In Nasbinal, the cold became so bad I could not walk. I had to get permission from the tourist office to stay 2 days in the same gite. I don’t know about Spain, but in France if you are ill, you can stay more than one night. Hobbled by blisters in Figeac, France, I spent one night in a gite, then got a hotel room for the second night. I checked in really early and after popping the blisters, spent the rest of the day and night in the room barefoot, no bandages, letting the blisters dry. It worked – they were much better the next day.

    Because of the physical problems and lost days, I made it the whole way, but just barely, and I had to hike some veeeeerrry long days at the end to finish.

    After my experience, I would advise everyone to allow a few extra days in their camino plans just in case…and if you aren’t a purist who insists on walking every step, you can always take a bus or train to catch up to where you should have been. If you have no problems, you can use the extra days for side trips or sightseeing in the more interesting towns. Also, depending on what your malady is (back or knees, for example), you can use the baggage transport services to send your pack to your next destination and carry only the minimum to make the walking easier.

  8. Well…. You walk basically. At least in my case I did. I had the stomach flu in the middle of no where. It was awful and hot and there was no where to get sick in private. It doesn’t seem possible and it’s not something I would suggest if you have another choice, but you can do it if you need to. Other pilgrims got sick as well and everyone was super sweet and helpful. I hope this doesn’t happen again the next time I go, but just know that you are capable of things you would never dream of in your cozy bed at home.

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