Personal Hygiene And Sanitation

The principles of personal hygiene and sanitation that govern operations on low terrain also apply in the mountains. Commanders must conduct frequent inspections to ensure that personal habits of hygiene are not neglected. Standards must be maintained as a deterrent to disease, and as reinforcement to discipline and morale.

a. Personal Hygiene. This is especially important in the high mountains, mainly during periods of cold weather. In freezing weather, the soldier may neglect washing due to the cold temperatures and scarcity of water. This can result in skin infections and vermin infestation. If bathing is difficult for any extended period, the soldier should examine his skin and clean it often. Snow baths in lieu of a water bath are recommended. This helps reduce skin infections and aids the comfort of the soldier.

(1) Snow may be used instead of toilet paper. Soldiers should shave at rest periods in the shelter so that oils stripped in shaving will be replenished. A beard may mask the presence of frostbite or lice. Water-based creams and lotions should be avoided in cold environments since this will further dehydrate tissues and induce frostbite by freezing. The nonwater-based creams can be used for shaving in lieu of soap. Sunscreens and chap sticks should be used on lips, nose, and eyelids. Topical steroid ointments should be carried for rashes. The teeth must also be cleaned to avoid diseases of the teeth and gums. Underwear should be changed when possible, but this should not be considered a substitute for bathing. When operating in areas where resupply is not possible, each soldier should carry a complete change of clothing. If laundering of clothing is difficult, clothes should be shaken and air-dried. Sleeping bags must be regularly cleaned and aired.

(2) The principles of foot hygiene must be followed to protect the feet from cold injuries. The causes of such injuries are present throughout the year in high mountains. Boots should be laced tightly when climbing to provide needed support but not so tight as to constrict circulation. Socks should be worn with no wrinkles since this causes blisters on the feet. Feet should be washed daily, and kept as dry and clean as possible. If regular foot washing is impossible, socks should be changed often (at halts and rest periods or at least once a day) and feet massaged, dried, and sprinkled with foot powder. Talc or antifungal powder should be used when massaging; excess powder is brushed off to avoid clumping, which may cause blisters. Feet can be cleaned with snow, but must be quickly dried. Whenever changing socks, soldiers should closely examine their feet for wrinkles, cracks, blisters, and discoloration. Nails should be trimmed but not too short. Long nails wear out socks; short nails do not provide proper support for the ends of the toes. Medical attention should be sought for any possible problems.

(3) Feet should be sprayed two or three times a day with an aluminum chlorohydrate antiperspirant for a week and then once a day for the rest of the winter. If fissures or cracks occur in the feet, it is best to discontinue spraying until they are healed or to spray less often to control sweating. This process stops about 70 percent of the sweating in the feet.

(4) During periods of extreme cold, there is a tendency for the soldier to become constipated. This condition is brought about by the desire to avoid the inconvenience and discomfort of defecating. Adequate water intake plus a low protein, high roughage diet can be helpful in preventing constipation.

b. Sanitation. In rocky or frozen ground, digging latrines is usually difficult. If latrines are constructed, they should be located downwind from the position and buried after use. In tactical situations, the soldier in a designated, downwind location away from water sources may dig "cat holes." Since waste freezes, it can be covered with snow and ice or pushed down a crevasse. In rocky areas above the timberline, waste may be covered with stones.

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Responses

  • Samuel Omar
    How can mountain personal hygiene and cleaning?
    3 years ago

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