Amilcareis - InFátima

Health Care

You should take into account that you will be walking for dozens or hundreds of miles under adverse weather conditions. Here is some practical advice:

Before pilgrimage

-     You should cut your toe nails and, if necessary, see a chiropodist;

-     You should immerse your feet into hot water with salt, every day, for 15 days before going on the pilgrimage. Dry them well and apply moisturising cream. 

During pilgrimage

-     Do not walk at a fast pace;

-     Apply sunscreen on areas that are exposed to the sun at all times – even when the sun is concealed;

-     Avoid walking at times of the day when the sun is stronger; try resting in those hours;

-     In the case of sunburn, cool the affected area with cold water or apply a compress soaked with water. Keep your skin hydrated at all times;

-     Take a moisturiser to apply on your body every day, especially on burnt areas and feet;

-     If necessary, take ibuprofen with you to relieve discomfort and inflammation caused by burns and blisters on your feet;

-     Feet suffer the most, so you need to take special care of them. Wash and dry your feet at the end of each day, and let them get as much air as possible;

-     In the case of blisters, apply a hydrocolloid dressing in order to prevent them from growing and to reduce pain and discomfort. In the case of burst blisters, wash them well with soap and water and apply appropriate dressing;

-     In the case of tendinitis or a muscle injury, you should stop, since more exercise would make it worse. Stop and raise the affected limb, and apply ice (every 15 to 20 minutes). If you need to, you may take a painkiller and/or anti-inflammatory drug. You should think about stopping for a day and seek medical assistance;

-     Insect bites are another concern to take into consideration. You should have an insect repellent with you and, if you get bitten, apply ice. In the case of discomfort, you may apply cream or take an antihistamine. However, you should seek medical assistance. In the case of a serious allergic reaction – difficulty to breathe, nausea, or rapid heartbeat –, call 112 immediately.

What should be in your first-aid kit?

-     Usual medication (any medication you may take regularly);

-     Elastic crepe bandages;

-     Band-aids and blister cushions;

-     Adhesive wound plaster;

-     Compress;

-     Painkiller;

-     Insect repellent;

-     Antihistamine;

What should be in your backpack?

You should take into account that you will be walking every day during pilgrimage with a backpack. A backpack should not weigh more than 10% of the weight of a pilgrim – a 154 lb pilgrim should not carry more than 15 lb on their back.

The lighter the load, the easier it is to walk. However, there are a few products and articles that you should not neglect:

-     Worn shoes, which are comfy to walk in;

-     A pair of additional shoes and flip-flops for bathing and resting;

-     Light, big, pale, and sleeved clothing. You should take two or three quick drying t-shirts. Only take essentials for each pilgrimage day, an evening jacket, and a raincoat;

-     Reflective vest;

-     A pair of extra shorts or trousers. You should avoid jeans;

-     Socks are a must-have; you should avoid 100% cotton socks and opt for breathable fabric instead. Use simple socks with no seams, or you can wear them the other way round;

-     In the case of underwear, disposable underwear may be a good choice; you should take as much spare ones as needed with as little seams as possible. Ladies should opt for high support sports bras;

-     Sleeping bag;

-     Microfiber towel;

-     Lamp;

-     Sunscreen, sun glasses, and a hat;

-     Lip balm;

-     Umbrella and/or raincoat;

-     Swiss knife;

-     Toilet paper;

-     Plastic bags for garbage and dirty laundry;

-     Personal hygiene products such as deodorant, baby wipes, toothbrush and tooth paste, soap, or tissue paper;

-     Water, fruit, dried fruit, and sugar;

-     A pen and notebook or diary;

-     Official identification document (citizen card/ passport);

-     Money and/or credit card;

-     Pilgrim’s credential;

-     First-aid kit. 

While resting

-     Take regular breaks. It is recommended that you take a break for one hour after walking in the morning and two hours after lunch;

-     Eat light meals;

-     Drink water and avoid sharing cups with other people;

-     When resting place your feet higher than your head;

-     Focus on being silent and show some consideration for other people resting or praying;

-     Sleep for at least six hours per day;

-     Keep clean and maintain good hygiene. At the end of each walking day take a bath, wash your feet, and put on clean socks;

Other advice:

-     Write your name, address, and phone number on all your belongings;

-     Do not cover yourself in plastic bags during the walk;

-     Do not take small children with you;

-     Always follow your doctor’s recommendations. Try to go light on the prescription drugs, particularly painkillers;

-     Always stop when necessary.