How to Maintain Personal Hygiene on High-altitude Treks

Trekking is a thrilling experience and it also brings us closer to nature but while it is fun and exciting, you should also remember to maintain personal and environmental hygiene while on the trek. Practising proper hygiene is good for your well-being and that of the natural surroundings. In this article, we will delve into various aspects of maintaining hygiene while on the trek, ensuring a safe and enjoyable journey.

  1. Maintain oral hygiene

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While it is not possible to take a bath while on a trek, you can still maintain your oral hygiene to avoid bad breath and protect your teeth. Carry your toothbrush and toiletry kit with you at all times on the trek and if extreme cold prevents you from brushing your teeth you can consider dry brushing. Dry brushing is when you clean your mouth with only a toothbrush and water (preferably warm) without toothpaste. Also, rinse your mouth after every meal. You can also carry mouthwashes with you as well. Dental hygiene is often neglected on a trek, but it's important to prevent infections.

  1. Change your inner layers every day

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While you may trek in the same clothes for 2 to 3 days you should change your inner layers every day to prevent bacterial buildup and infections. Also, avoid trekking in your thermals as they can get sweaty and give out a bad odor. You can put your thermals on before going to sleep. When you are layering up make sure that your base layer comprises a moisture-wicking material so that the sweat does not cause any discomfort, illness or odor. Avoid materials like cotton that hold the sweat.

  1. Foot hygiene to reduce smelly feet

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Before you gear up for trekking every day make sure that you put some powder. This will prevent sweating and also reduce your foot's odor. You can also use antibacterial powder as well. Trekking shoes these days are waterproof and snowproof while this is really good in many ways it also prevents any breathing space for the foot which traps sweat and the subsequent odor inside the shoe leading to smelly feet. So don’t forget to use that powder and change your socks every day. Also, once you reach the campsites, we strongly recommend airing out the shoes. We also recommended cutting your toenails and fingernails as the nails can accumulate a lot of dirt and toenails can also make trekking uncomfortable.

4.Toilet hygiene is a must

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At Trek The Himalayas, we are very strict about maintaining toilet hygiene. We use dry pit tents for proper decomposition. We highly discourage using wet wipes as they are non-biodegradable rather we suggest you use paper towels. Some wet wipes are also fragrant and they can attract wild animals. You can wet the towels with water and use them to wipe yourself. These toilet papers are buried to prevent odor and paper is biodegradable so there is no harm in burying the paper. Do not use wild leaves or such materials to clean yourselves as it can lead to unwanted infection or allergies. 

5. Maintain proper food hygiene

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While eating your food, you can use a spoon and fork this reduces water usage. While not all food can be consumed with a spoon or fork like chapati, try to use a spoon for liquids and other items. Wash your hands before and after eating a meal to maintain hygiene and prevent cross-contamination. 

Maintaining hygiene during a trek is not only a matter of personal comfort but also a crucial element of responsible and sustainable trekking. By following these guidelines, you not only ensure your well-being but also contribute to preserving the pristine beauty of the natural landscapes you explore. Trek responsibly, and may your adventures be as clean and enjoyable as the great outdoors itself.

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