Hamad Medical Corporation has advised people who plan for Umrah and Haj trip to take precautionary vaccinations and medication before departure to avoid any illnesses during the pilgrimage.
The Holy Month of Ramadan has entered into its last 10 days of fasting, taking a flow of people to Mecca to perform Umrah, followed by Haj in October. It is possible to easily contract illnesses such as influenza, commonly known as flu because of the large number of people gathering.
All travelers are advised to get a general health check-up before departing and should carry their prescriptions and medications in case of an emergency. It is also recommended to carry essential items like antiseptics, dressings and bandages, sunburn lotion, rehydration salts, pain medication and antidiarrhoeal medication, among other necessary items.
All pilgrims are advised to take the Meningococcal ACYW135 vaccine as a compulsory vaccination, which protects against several strains of the bacteria that causes meningitis and meningococcemia. They are also recommended to take steps such as wearing face masks, taking their annual flu shots regularly and practising good hygiene during travel.
Temperatures in Saudi Arabia could go up to 45 degrees Celsius in summer months. Pilgrims are advised to be aware of climate-related health risks such as heat exhaustion, sunstroke and dehydration. It is essential to maintain good hydration and to avoid possibility of sunburn or heat strokes by carrying liquids and taking sufficient rest throughout the journey.
“During Ramadan, people are fasting during pilgrimage, making it a harder journey, especially in the summer. As much as possible, try avoiding direct sunlight and undertake religious activities in the evening. Also, after breaking the fast, consume plenty of fluids and refrain from having heavy meals as this may lead to indigestion. A low-fat and high-fibre meal along with fresh juices is an ideal diet during Ramadan,” said Dr Saad Abdul Fattah Abdullah, senior consultant at the Emergency Department at Hamad General Hospital.
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