DUBAI: As around 2.5 million Muslims from across the world are getting ready for the Hajj pilgrimage this year, medical experts are advising them several health measures and precautions to maintain good health during their annual religious trip to Mecca.
The UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention has urged pilgrims to take a mandatory vaccine at least 15 days before leaving the Emirates. Pilgrims are being advised to obtain a valid international certificate of vaccination before starting their journey. More than 6,200 Muslims had performed Hajj from the UAE in 2018, up from 4,600 a year earlier.
“Good medical preparation and few precautions help pilgrims stay fit to perform their rites and pray throughout the Holy expedition,” said Avivo Group CEO Dr Dilshaad Ali, advising pilgrims some basic tips to maintain good health during the period.
Vaccination is mandatory for all Hajj pilgrims, be up to date with your vaccinations. In general, all vaccination should be completed at least two weeks prior to departure for the pilgrimage. Certain vaccinations are mandatory, such as meningococcal vaccination.
“The Pilgrims are also advised to take the flu vaccine especially for people over 65 years old, children under 12 years old, pregnant women, people with cancer or terminal illnesses, people with chronic diseases (such as heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, or respiratory disease). The pneumonia vaccine is recommended for immunocompromised patients, the elderly and those with chronic diseases,” Dr Ali said.
Tips for patients with chronic diseases
All Hajj pilgrims are advised to carry medical reports, prescription and enough stock of medications. Those with chronic disease are requested to visit their physician at least four to six weeks before their travel.
Avoid germs to prevent respiratory infections
Respiratory infections are very common in crowded places. They are transmitted through respiratory droplets, airborne spread of infections, and by touch. Face masks can prevent a large number of respiratory tract infections.
Avoid heat exhaustion
The Hajj pilgrimage will take place in August this year, which is a very hot month in Saudi Arabia. Some of the major symptoms of heat exhaustion are high body temperature, fatigue, nausea, cramps, thirst, headaches or excessive sweating. Drink enough liquids frequently and use an umbrella when permitted. Diabetics should take special care while walking for long periods on hot surfaces to avoid foot heat injury. If you experience dizzy, feverish, nausea or vomiting, or develop wounds/blisters on your feet, please head to the nearest MOH health station meant for pilgrims.
Skin disease and dry eyes The most common skin diseases are rash between the thighs due to rubbing during a long walk, and foot ulcers. Foot ulcers can rapidly become a cause for serious concern among patients with diabetes, patient with renal diseases, or patients with natural or medication-induced suppression of their immune system. Please seek medical help early for foot blisters if you suffer from any of these conditions. News Desk