A high standard of personal hygiene is essential to avoid discomfort and disease when trekking in the jungles of Papua New Guinea.

The tropics are unforgiving on those who are slack in this regard. Microscopic There are no large predators high up in the Owen Stanley Ranges but there are billions of microscopic bugs that will cause just as much grief if they are enter the system via a crack in the skin, a dirty hand or food that has not been prepared hygienically.  In some cases the bugs don’t even need a crack in the skin. For example if you walk around in bare feet and inadvertently tread in some dried dogs poo you could contract strongylides – if you haven’t heard of this condition please click here.

You just can’t be too careful in this regard.

The best way to stay healthy is to follow these guidelines:

  • Keep a clean set of underwear and clothes to change into after you have showered or bathed at the end of each day’s trekking.
  • Wash the clothes you have trekked in when you shower/bathe at the end of each day – you will be able to dry these over the fire in the drying hut at each campsite.
  • Carry a small bottle of hand-sanitizer in your pocket (you will need to bring about four of these) – apply it to your hands before you eat anything or rub your eyes.
  • Keep a small bottle of hand-sanitizer in a waterproof zip-lock bag with your toilet roll.
  • After you shower/bathe at the end of each day apply hand-sanitizer to your feet to kill any bacteria.
  • Wash your socks and the inner of your boot with anti-fungal soap each day.
  • Use water-sterilization tablets in your water bottle.
  • DO NOT walk anywhere at any time in bare feet – ALWAYS, wear camp slippers or sandals. I use camp slippers as socks to sleep in so if I need a pit-stop at night I don’t have to fish around in the dark for my sandals.

Click here to see how Cindy converts her camel-back into a portable shower.