Blisters & Bed Bugs

Blisters If you have made no allowance for swelling of your feet, then friction will occur and blisters rapidly follow and you may also lose toe nails. If your boots are too big or too small, internal friction will also cause blisters, so there is much to consider.

Most of this damage happened on the first 2 days from St Jean. Walking too fast and far with footwear that was too tight. She was also losing toe nails.

Treatment. There are wide differences of opinion on how to treat a blister. I come down on the side of not opening the skin. Try not to lance a blister, which has been filled by your own body with your own healing fluid to protect the area.

If you have serious issues with blisters the pharmacies and medical centres along the Camino have a great deal of experience in treating them and any associated infections. If ignored the infection can be very debilitating and in the worst case scenarios amputation of toes is required. So be very careful if you are unfortunate enough to have blisters.

Prevention is the best approach so I put a lot of effort into discussing this in Chapter 4 in “Camino Ready. Backpacks, Boots & (no) Blisters”.

Check Compeed and other feet products >>>  Compeed Blister plasters

Others to consider include….HikeGoo 

Ordinary vaseline will also provide protection from friction and softness from moisture. Available at most pharmacies in Spain so don’t worry if you run out of whatever cream you started with. I was surprised when recently using it that it didn’t gum up my socks.

Bed bugs. These are a constant threat as people without knowing it carry them in their packs and spread the little devils.

one fellow pilgrim badly bitten after using a old blanket in the albergue. Many albergues provide blankets so this is unfortunate as a previous user must have had bed bugs which stayed behind!

A few tips to avoid bed bugs.

  1. Never put your backpack on the bed. If they are in your pack they may jump into the bedding. If your pack was transported, the bed bugs may also have come from other luggage!
  2. Hang your backpack up once you have taken out what you need. The book “Camino Ready. Backpacks, Boots & (no) Blisters” has a special section on bed bugs and how to avoid taking them home. The author Bari Kerton from Canada  recommends buying a hook and taking it with you.
  3.  We always carry a black plastic garbage bag and put our backpacks in the bag once we have taken out what we need. It creates a barrier if they are crawling around at night.
  4. Check the walls for blood stains were previous occupants have squashed them.
  5. Check the skirting boards for cracks where they may hide.
  6. Check the bedding. Most albergues’ now have rubber covers over the mattress  and or offer a disposable paper sheet and pillow cover.
  7. Unfortunately often the municipal albergues are more likely to have bed bugs because of the high turnover of guests, often because they are cheaper than the private albergues. The private albergues have a greater incentive, as bed bugs drive away pilgrims.
  8. Lastly, some rumours about bed bugs in albergues are either incorrect or out of date. Recently we were told not to stay in O’Cebreiro as they albergues had bed bugs. We stayed in a private one found through which was modern and very clean.