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Skin Care in Jungle is a Travel Health Priority

FINCA TATIN, Jungle near Livingston, Guatemala- Traveling in extreme climates often means taking additional measures to insure health. The jungle is an extreme climate. There are illnesses here that do not exist in other regions — insects, poisonous serpents, spiders, things that bite, and bacteria that travelers from other climes have little resistance to. Though [...]

FINCA TATIN, Jungle near Livingston, Guatemala- Traveling in extreme climates often means taking additional measures to insure health. The jungle is an extreme climate. There are illnesses here that do not exist in other regions — insects, poisonous serpents, spiders, things that bite, and bacteria that travelers from other climes have little resistance to. Though the organ that I have found to need the most care in the jungle is the body’s largest: the skin.

You must care for your skin in the jungle.

The air is moist here, humidity is regularly at 100%. The rain falls daily. You can easily find yourself wet and sopping a half dozen times a day. You can easily find yourself growing fungus, erecting spots, or having some other adverse reaction to the excessive moisture and the microorganisms that thrive on it.

The finca owner’s son has some odd sort of fungus living on his knee.

My baby Petra broke out in both a heat rash and spots from an allergic reaction to something.

My wife has an odd black sub-dermal growth on her back.

The tops of my legs became extremely chaffed to the point of bleeding and leaving me idle from repeated bouts of swimming, drip drying, sweating, — having semi-damp skin throughout the day.

Though skin problems in the jungle are not only reserved for travelers. From talking to the doctors at a medical clinic down the river from where I am staying, the most common ailment that they see are skin problems. And some of the hides that are brought into them seem, from a medical point of view, rather interesting.

How to care for skin in the jungle

“After reading some skin care tutorials and reviews, the best way that I have found to care for the skin in the jungle is to clean it often and keep it dry. I keep a towel near me throughout the day. After getting wet, I dry off immediately. I wash the sweat off my body throughout the day in the shower. I often bathe three times a day not counting swims in the river, I keep my skin clean as a first rule to living in this climate. At the first hint of sweat, moisture, stickiness, I rinse off and dry with a towel. I wash with soap once a day.

I realized early on in this stay that I must treat the skin as though it is an organ that can become ill, for in the jungle it truly is.

Filed under: Central America, Guatemala, Health, Rain Forests, Weather

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 88 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3411 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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Wade Shepard is currently in: Rochester, New York

5 comments… add one

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  • Caitlin June 18, 2010, 6:12 pm

    Is this “Gross Month” on Vagabondjourney?

    (Awesome.)

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com June 19, 2010, 5:18 pm

      I think so, I even had to hold back on publishing photos of some odd stuff sprouting out of my baby’s butt.

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  • Paulo Martins June 18, 2010, 10:27 pm

    Dude,

    The whole time I was at the Finca I used one thing: Baby powder!
    I was feeling too hot at night: Sprinkle some.
    I felt a rash coming somewhere in my body: Sprinkle some more.
    I felt my neck or tummy itching: Sprinkle, sprinkle, sprinkle

    Sometimes I’d have a white neck but who cares?

    Ciao 4 now

    ~ Paulo ~

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com June 19, 2010, 10:01 am

      I totally already inherited your baby powder! It saved me, man — I was so happy with you for leaving it!

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  • James Beattie January 2, 2011, 6:17 am

    Thanks for the advice,no scratching,baby powder,keep clean,keep dry. I am based in ELLON in SCOTLAND and for the past 8 or so years have been bitten in the garden 60-100 times a year. Nothing seems to work, Anti-histamines ,jungle juice, you name it I have tried it. I don’t know why I have developed this attraction to insects but it seems to have stemmed from a single bite on the hand. All bites etc I am unaware of at the time,many of them I can see but they don’t itch for a few days then hell breaks loose.
    I am 73, suffer from high blood pressure and have bronchiectases so maybe an easy target but after teaching Maths for umpteen years I would have thought I had a thick skin. On the other hand it may be a former pupil has a voodoo doll.
    Anyway I will give your advice a try this year.

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