11. Kilimanjaro: The Hygiene Factor

Jul 11, 2017 Off Comments in Kilimanjaro by

Rich & Jason are in the privileged position of knowing each other (as well as colleagues go) – otherwise the combination of a shower-less week with limited hygiene, hot days, cold nights and confined floor space can create one awkward cocktail.

Kilimanjaro is a nucleus of potential hygiene hazards and although they can’t always be avoided, there are precautions that can be taken – and it’s definitely worthwhile bearing them in mind!

Better out than in
The age old excuse ‘better out than in’ – often used (rightly or wrongly) as a defence for public flatulence, does come into play on Kilimanjaro in a number of scenarios. First and foremost when the silent Kili Killer strikes – Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) – the main fear for all involved in this challenge, and rightly so, as it can end the trip of a lifetime quicker than you can say “where’s the nearest toilet?’ The effects begin at approxmately3000 metres and include headaches, stomach pains, sickness and insomnia among many others. The recurring headaches are bearable but when the sickness attacks… the best thing to do is just let it out. The pains/nausea etc. should loosen their grip and the appetite and will to live will return.

Another instance where ‘better out than in’ is relevant on Kilimanjaro is deodorant. If Rich or Jason want to embrace their surroundings and smell of ‘Lynx Africa’ by all means pack it. But antiperspirant blocks under arm pores, and when there’s no access to showers, this isn’t ideal. Let the sweat out!

Festival similarities
Ahh festivals… joyous, relaxing days with friends, enjoying the weather and surroundings.

Climbing Kilimanjaro is not like this; don’t be misled. The similarities I was referring to are the less than perfect toilets, the heavy reliance on wet wipes and the lack of showering facilities. Let’s start with the toilets: The long-drop loos; the smell; the bugs and snakes and strategically positioning yourself… the experience in general isn’t great, but obviously a necessity. And don’t forget – toilet roll is like currency… so ration your squares lads!

Wet wipes: There isn’t an abundance of water on the trek, probably just enough to wash hands and feet daily (which is very important), therefore wet wipes are a necessity for cleaning everywhere in between. They’re quicker and easier than showering and stripping off isn’t necessary, which in the tent at zero degrees is definitely a positive. Additionally, as with festivals, everyone is going through the same thing, so no need to feel self-conscious!

The lack of showering may become irritating, but again, everyone is in the same boat being a tad smelly and dirty together… plus you’ll always have trusty wet wipes, which, as a keen festival-goer, I can vouch do make all the difference when needed!

Just a few things that Rich & Jason may want to bear in mind when packing their bags:

Hand care: Hand hygiene must not be underestimated; picking kit up from the floor, scrambling over rocks and visiting the toilets all present germs that can be avoided by using anti-bacterial hand gel a few times each day. You don’t want dirty hands, when eating, to add to an already dodgy tummy from AMS!

Dental care:
We’ve all been on weekends away and forgotten our toothbrush. Try not to this time guys! Can you imagine the frustration of a toothache stopping the summit of a lifetime? Mountain porters clean their teeth very regularly – good, experienced example to follow!

Sunscreen:They’ll wonder why they’ve brought it at times due to the different ecosystems (which we’ll explore in our next blog) but remember, Kilimanjaro is in Africa and as the trek nears the summit, there isn’t much space between climbers and the sun – and rays are ruthless! Furthermore, Malaria medication can have side effects that actually make your skin more susceptible to sunburn…Not helping the cause of our fair skinners!

Lots to consider, eh!? With just over month to go, excitement is building rapidly in the office. Please continue to donate; every penny counts and the guys are counting on your support to reach their goal of £5,000 for The British Heart Foundation. Simply text GOSR89 £5 (or however much you want to donate) or, simply click the ‘sponsor me’ link below. It’s for a great cause!