- Taking the necessary vaccinations, especially the elderly and those suffering from chronic diseases. Here is an elaborate account of the required vaccinations, to be enumerated later on, as well as the timing of taking such vaccinations prior to setting out for the Hajj Holy Sites.
- Seeing a doctor before travelling to verify of your health stability, and ability to perform the Hajj.
- Taking sufficient medications, especially in case you suffer from one of the diseases that require you to take medications regularly, such as heart diseases, hypertension, kidney diseases, asthma and diabetes. Bringing enough cloths, since you’d better change your cloths regularly and repetitively to maintain your hygiene. Cloths are recommended to be light and loose.
Pilgrims, when coming for Hajj or Umrah, are supposed to abide by a variety of health tips and guidelines, by following which they will be against infectious and communicable diseases, Allah willing.
Following are some of such tips:
- Maintaining personal hygiene, bathing regularly, and washing hands well by using water and soap, or other disinfectants used for handwashing, especially after coughing and sneezing.
- Using handkerchiefs when coughing or sneezing by covering the nose and mouth, and then eliminating them in the trash. In case there are no handkerchiefs at hand, use the upper arms rather than hands.
- Using a face-mask, especially in crowded places, and changing it every now and then.
- In case there are no handkerchiefs at hand, use the upper arms, rather than hands, for covering the nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.
- Wash your hands well, using water and soap, or the hand-sterilizing gel, especially after bathing, after coughing and sneezing, before eating, and when coming back to your residence.
- Paying close attention to the oral and dental cleanliness.
- Eliminating wastes in the trash.
- Changing cloths with new ones every now and then.
- Paying close attention to the cleanliness of your residence, on a daily basis.
- Avoiding spitting on the floor, since it is a hazardous source of infection.
Even though handwashing is always necessary, it is even more necessary during Hajj. Don’t spit on the floor. It is a hazardous source of infection transmission. Face-masks are recommended at crowded and congested places, especially during circumambulation of the Ka’ba (Tawaf), stoning (Rajm), and walking between Safa and Marwa (Sa’i). They should be changed regularly (every six hours), or when dirty, in accordance with the guidelines provided by the manufacturer, along with washing hands with water and soap when taking them off.
When shaving or haircutting, be sure to follow certain health tips and instructions to protect yourself against such infectious diseases as hepatitis (B) and (C) and AIDS. Such tips include:
- Choose a suitable barber, and never go to street barbers.
- Once-use shavers are recommended. Keep away from all other kinds of shavers, including the ones which have their razors changed after every shave.
- Never share others with such personal tools as the brushes used to remove hair, sponges, etc
- Ask the barber to wash his hands well (by using water and soap) before shaving or haircutting.
- Remember that using your own shavers, and not sharing others with theirs, is the best way to protect yourself against the infection of hepatitis (B) and (C), and maybe AIDS.
- Wash fruits and vegetables well before eating.
- Verify of the expiry date when buying canned foods and drinks.
- Keep away from the uncovered food, since it is exposed to insects and pollution.
- Wash your hands well before and after preparing food.
- Wash your hands well before and after eating.
- Cooked food should be eaten immediately after cooking, and, when need to be, it could be kept in the fridge.
- Avoid storing cooked food in buses for long when moving from on Hajj site to another. This is one of the major triggers of food poisoning during Hajj.
- Drink enough liquids (water, juices, etc.) regularly.
- Avoid exposure to the sun for long, and use an umbrella when necessary. Light colored umbrellas are recommended.
- Avoid making excessive effort, and keep to take sufficient sleep after performing each of the Hajj rituals, so as to restore your energy.
- Loose, light colored cloths are recommended. Don’t use heavy cloths.
Heat injuries are frequent in these areas:
- Tawaf (circumambulation of the Ka’ba), especially at midday times.
- Sa’i (walking between Safa and Marwa), especially in cases of crowding and high temperature.
- Arafat at midday time.
- Mina (places of slaughtering the sacrificial animals and stoning), due to the long distance and congestion.
On the onset of the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion or sun strokes (high body temperature, headache, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, thirst, and/or cramping of the abdominal and leg muscles), you should:
- Getting away from the sunny to a shady place.
- Cooling the body by cold water.
- Taking enough sleep.
- Taking antipyretics and painkillers when necessary.
- Heading for the nearest health centers in severe cases.
- Consult with a Doctor before setting out for Hajj, to assess your health situation.
- Take sufficient medications with yourself.
- Take medicines on time.
- Adhere to the doctor’s instructions, such as following a certain diet.
- Put on the wrist strap (or the information card), which shows your name, age, disease, the kind of treatment, address and contact information.
- You’d better tell your fellow pilgrims about your disease and proper medications, so that they can help you when necessity be.
- Avoid making too much effort, and use the Hajj legal concessions (like assigning someone to do the stoning ritual on your behalf), when the conditions of such concessions are true.
- Head for the nearest health center when necessity be.
- For more information on chronic diseases, check out the chronic diseases section in the Main Menu.
Second: Common Diseases during Hajj: When performing the Hajj and Umrah rites, pilgrims are vulnerable to the diseases commonly associated with the Hajj season, including:
- Respiratory diseases.
- Gastrointestinal (digestive) diseases.
- Food poisoning.
- Dermatology (skin diseases)
- Dry eye.
- Sun strokes and heat exhaustion.
Among the common diseases during Hajj are: Coryza (cold), seasonal influenza and bronchitis. They are transmitted through the droplets of coughing, sneezing or speaking.
Prevention and Reduction of Spread:
- Putting on face-masks, especially in crowded and congested places, and changing them every now and then, in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Using handkerchiefs to cover the nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, and disposing them in the trash. In case there aren’t handkerchiefs at hand, use, instead, the upper arms rather than the hands.
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose or hands with the hands until after washing them well.
- Greeting others by shaking hands only.
- Don’t drink ice water.
- Keep away from the air conditioner when sweated.
On the incidence of any of these diseases, follow these tips:
- Take enough sleep, and drink much liquids containing Vitamin C, such as lemonade and orange juice.
- Take antipyretics and painkillers.
- See a doctor on the onset of acute symptoms.
Tuberculosis is one of the diseases that could be easily transmitted during Hajj, because of the overcrowding, and because some pilgrims hail from places stricken by this disease. It is transmitted through the droplets of coughing, sneezing or speaking. Therefore, the Saudi Ministry of Health calls upon tuberculosis patients to put their Hajj off for later years, except in these cases:
- The result of spitting is negative, which indicates the diseases is unlikely to be transmitted.
- Tuberculosis is unable to resist antibiotics
- The patient is a strict adherent to the medicine schedule.
In case you’re suffering from continuing cough for more than two weeks, you have to undergo the necessary tests before traveling for Hajj, to be sure you don’t have tuberculosis. Prevention and Reduction of Spread of Tuberculosis during Hajj:
- Put on a face-mask, especially in crowded and congested places.
- Keep, as much as possible, away from overcrowded places.
- Use handkerchiefs to cover the nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, and disposing them in the trash.
- Wash your hands well every now and then.
- Keep your residence always well ventilated.
- In case there is a fellow Hajj coughing all the time, tell the doctor of your Hajj Mission.
- In case you have tuberculosis, tell the doctor of you Hajj Mission to follow you up during Hajj.
- When getting back home, after Hajj, it is advisable to see your doctor to undergo the necessary tests, to ensure that you haven’t been infected with tuberculosis during Hajj.
Using face-masks, especially in overcrowded places, and changing them every now and then (in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions) helps protect you from the infectious diseases transmitted through coughing or sneezing.
There is a set of diseases affecting the digestive system commonly associated with Hajj, such as diarrhea, constipation, nausea and vomiting. In order to avoid complications, you’d better adhere to the following tips and instructions:
- Keep away from fatty foods.
- Verify of the cleanliness of food, and cook it well, and don’t buy foods from street vendors (See the Prevention of Food Poisoning).
- Drink much liquid to avoid dehydration.
- Head for the nearest health center if diarrhea persists
- Eat much fresh fruit and vegetables.
- Drink much liquid.
- Nausea and Vomiting:
- Don’t eat and drink too much, especially fatty foods, until nausea and vomiting stop.
- Drink frequently to avoid dehydration.
- See a doctor in case vomiting is severe or persisting.
Many pilgrims are prone to food poisoning, especially the kind of poisoning caused by salmonella, which leads to acute inflammation in the intestine and colon, and entails such symptoms as stomach ache, headache, high temperature, diarrhea and vomiting.
Infection can be transmitted through:
- Negligence of cleaning vegetables before having them.
- Negligence of washing hands before preparing (or having) food.
- Negligence of cooking meat well.
- Drinking unpasteurized milk.
- Eating some foods uncooked (such as eggs), or some foods which contain uncooked eggs as an ingredient (such as mayonnaise), when kept in improper temperature.
- Eating “shawarma” without taking the necessary health precautions. It has been proven as the cause of many injuries.
- Wash your hands well before and after eating.
- Wash fruits and vegetables well before having them.
- Avoid keeping cooked food in buses when moving from one Hajj site to another. It is regarded as one of the major causes of food poisoning during Hajj.
- Keep in mind that keeping uncooked food in the room temperature for more than two hours leads to the growing of bacteria causing food poisoning.
- Cooked food should be eaten directly, or kept in the fridge when need be.
- Using pure water for drinking and cooking, and canned mineral water is preferred. In case you’re unsure whether or not the water is pure enough, it should be boiled before use.
- Don’t drink water from taps, or unclean ice cubes.
- Make sure that the milk you’re having is pasteurized. Canned juices are preferred also.
- Verify of the expiry date of products, and be sure that the contents don’t leak.
- Keep damageable foods (such as milk products and tuna) in the fridge, before and after opening cans
- It is advisable to buy automatically packaged foods, and keep away from uncovered foods, or those prepared long time ago.
- Make sure that food is well cooked, to kill bacteria.
- Don’t by foods from street vendors.
- You’d better eat fruits with thick crust, such as bananas and oranges, to be certain that they are clean and uncontaminated.
- Use clean utensils and plates. Paper plates and cups are preferred.
- Remember that when food has a different color or smell, this indicates that the food is spoilt and poisoned.
Among the most common diseases during the Hajj is exfoliation (between thighs).
- Using powder and other moisturizing cream when needed.
- Walking in strides to avoid exfoliation as much as possible.
- Keeping in-between thigh area clean and dry.
Xerophthalmia (Eye Dryness):
It is caused by the dust, dryness of the weather and direct exposure to the sun.
- Using sunglasses.
- Being interested in bringing an additional pair of sunglasses in the event that you damaged or lost the other one; it is recommended that its rim be plastic.
- Not using contacting lens only after referring to your oculist.
- Using moisturizing eye drops after referring to your oculist.
- Not to kindle fires inside the tents and to use the places designated for cooking.
- Not to sleep on the pavements and roadsides for the pilgrims’ safety.
- Not to get on top of the buses and vehicles.
- Not to jostle and shove during rush times, as this expose all especially the elderly and women for danger.
- To adhere to the directives issued by the Ministry of Health and other governmental bodies.
- To head to the nearest health facility when needed.
- To use toilet to defecate and urinate in order for the infectious epidemics not to spread.
- Not to slaughter the sacrifice in places not prepare for that such as the roads and by the tents. Hence, this exposes all for the diseases and odor and slaughtering should be in the designated places.
Generally speaking, the pilgrims injured with chronic diseases can easily and smoothly perform the rituals if they were to follow the following tips:
- To see the doctor before going on pilgrimage to evaluate your health conditions and prescribe the proper medicine when needed.
- To be interested in bringing an enough amount of the prescribed medicines, storing in a proper way and in a proper, easily reachable place.
- To take medicines on time and adhere to the doctor’s other guidelines, with the diet included.
- To be interested in informing the nearest of you in the residence place and the doctor of the convoy with your disease and the medicines which you take to help when needed.
- To make a point of putting ring around the wrist or a card showing your name, age, nationality, the nature of your diseases, residence place, and contact numbers
- To make a point of holding a detailed medical report on the illness case and the prescribed medicine.
- To adopt the legitimate license whenever its condition are met; if you felt that you are unable to continue some of the Hajj rites such as Jamarat-stoning: you can ask someone to do it instead
- To stop doing anything when you begin to feel tiredness and overly strained, and take some rest.
- To head to the nearest health center if you did not feel well even after taking rest or the medicine.
- To follow the prescribed diet for you and keep away from all the bad nutritional habits, which could worsen your case such as having the tea , coffee, or fat foods to excess,
Remember that the Hajj is a precious opportunity to give up smoking, you should capitalize on successfully.
1. HEALTH TIPS FOR HEART AND HYPERTENSION PATIENTS:
- To see the doctor to make sure of the ability of performing the hajj and to give you the proper health tips.
- To make a point of always holding your medicines, storing them in a proper way and in a proper, easily reachable place.
- To adhere to take medicines at a regular basis and on time, especially during performing the rites that require physical efforts such as Tawaf( circumambulation), Sa’i between Safa and Marwah (walking between Safa and Marwah), and Jamart-stoning.
- If you were of those conducive to sustain Angina pains, you should consult the doctor holding your Nitroglycerine tablets, taken below the tongue, with making a point of bringing such tablets wherever you go.
- Not to expose for any excessive physical effort and use the wheel chair during the Tawaf (circumambulation) and Sa’i (walking) when feeling exhaustion according to the Islamic legitimate license.
- Not to expose to the excessive reactions and nervousness, and remember that latitude is one of the pilgrim’s feature.
- To head to the nearest health centers if the chest pain worsened to conduct the necessary medical care.
2. HEALTH TIPS FOR DIABETICS:
- To be interested in putting a bracelet around the wrist or holding an identification card indicating that the or she is a diabetic patient and the prescribed medicine in order to provide the necessary help when needed.
- To make a point of bringing glucose meter to determine the glucose rate daily and regularly, especially when feeling the level of glucose has impaired; and to hold a detailed medical report on your health condition.
- To make a point of informing the nearest of you in the residence place and the doctor of the convoy that you are suffering from the diabetes.
- To make a point of taking an enough amount of the diabetic medicines and following a diet in line with the diabetes educator’s tips.
- To make sure of keeping the insulin cool during its moving and storing through putting it in the proper ice pack (thermos) or in the refrigerator in your residence place.
- To make a point of holding glucagon injection (after the doctor’s recommendation) to be used in case it happened not to be able to have food or to lose consciousness by your family members or any of those along in the convoy.
- To make a point of, during the Hajj, wearing a snug pair of socks to protect your feet from any ulcers, and avoiding walking barefoot.
- It is recommended not to start Tawaf (circumambulation of the Ka’ba) or Sa’i (walking between Safa and Marwa) if you did not take the medicine and have enough food, in order to prevent reducing the glucose level of the body.
- To make a point of drinking a proper amount of water and repeatedly.
- To temporarily stop performing the rites if you began to feel the symptoms of the glucose level reduction such as shaking, giddiness along with fatigue and exhaustion, sudden feeling of hunger, excessive sweating or blurring.
- To use your own electrical shaving machine rather than the razor to avoid wounds and inflammation as much as possible.
- To keep on having the main and light meals during the travelling and Hajj to avoid experiencing a severe reduction in the glucose level.
- To make a point of bringing some disinfectants to treat skin inflammations when occurring.
- If complications: such as the inflammations, skin ulcers occurred, you should consult the diabetes doctor.
- To head to the nearest health center or hospital when needed.
If you were conscious (mild degree), you could do the following:
- Having a cup of sugary juice such as: orange, apple, and mixed fruits,
- As much as two spoons of raisin,
- As much as two spoons of honey,
- As much as two spoons of sugar stirred in a cup of water, or
- From 2 to 5 glucose tablets ( you can buy them from the pharmacy) However, if you failed to respond meaning that you about to lose your consciousness, then you would need a glucagon injection. And in the event that you lost consciousness, any member of your family or those along in your.
Residence place or around you must do the following:
- Hastening to administer the glucagon injection if it were available in the place where the incident occurred.
- If it were not available or the patient did not come around within 15 to 20 minutes after the glucagon injection, the patient must be transferred to the nearest health center or hospital as quickly as possible. You must hold a card along containing the instructions to do when you lose consciousness due to the low blood sugar, and make sure that your family members can do that.
- Existing in crowded places fraught with dust and polluted with smoke emitting from vehicle exhausts pipes.
- Excessive strain and continuous movement.
- Pneumonia which could increase because of the crowd.
- A sudden change in temperatures.
Health tips for asthma patients:
- To see the respiratory diseases doctor to make sure of the stabilization of your condition and your ability to travel.
- To adhere to taking medicines regularly whether they are tablets or inhalers
- To take a great deal of rest repeatedly and avoid overcrowded places in order to prevent any asthma attack.
- To wear face-mask when needed, especially in the places gathering and crowdedness.
- To head to the nearest health center or hospital if you encountered a severe asthma attack.
4. HEALTH TIPS FOR KIDNEY PATIENTS (PATIENTS WITH RENAL FAILURE, IMPAIRED KIDNEY FUNCTION, AND KIDNEY STONES):
- To see urologist to make sure of your being able to perform the Hajj and give you the proper health tips.
- To make a point of holding the prescribed medicines and store them in a proper, easily reachable place.
- To adhere to taking the medicines regularly and on time.
- To have fluids and salts according to what is determined by the urologist previously.
- To see the convoy’s doctor or the nearest health center when any disturbances occur to the body such as Gastroenteritis and urinary tract infections.
- To avoid exposure to the scorching sunlight for long periods to prevent losing the body’s fluids and salts.
- Not to have meat to excess in order not to affect the kidney function.
- To head to the nearest health center or hospital when needed.
Epileptic patients vary; there are those whose illness can be controlled through medicines and this type can perform the Hajj, God willing; and the other type are those patients who are recently injured with the disease, or those whose illness cannot be controlled. It is recommended for the patients of the second type to postpone their Hajj till their condition stabilizes.
Health tips for the epileptic patients:
- To inform the convoy’s doctor with your illness to perform his or her duty when necessary.
- To make a point of bringing an enough amount of the medicines.
- To avoid excessive strain and reactions.
- To make a point of always bringing any of the relatives or friends along while performing the rites in anticipation of any emergency.
- To head to the nearest health center or hospital when needed
The Hajj is a hard journey and requires great effort. And woman has their own status during the hajj; they could be pregnant, experience the menstrual period, or suffer because of their physical configuration from excessive hardship.
- To consult a gyncaecologist before going on the Hajj with enough time space (7 days at minimum or according to the gyncaecologist’s tips), to make sure of how to take the pills and the proper dose.
- The goal of these medicines is to stop the blood from coming down; hence woman must make a point of having them at their specific time according to the gyncaecologist’s tips.
- There are some side effects for such pills of which there are nausea, headache, pains in the breast areas, mood swings, and nervousness.
PREGNANT WOMEN AND HAJJ:
- They could experience some complications such as inflammations or be vulnerable to any infection due to immunodeficiency and overcrowding.
- They are likely to sustain sun strokes.
- They are likely be vulnerable to physical exhaustion as a result of walking for long distances, which could lead to the sustaining of contractions in the lower area of the abdomen and backaches.
- They are likely to sustain physical injuries as a result of the overcrowding, which could lead to complications affecting the pregnancy safety and fetus life.
- They are likely to sustain severe drought because of not having enough amount of fluids.
The pregnant should postpone Hajj in the following cases:
- Preterm birth disease history
- Early miscarriage cases.
- Suffering from pregnancy diabetes.
- Heart and hypertension diseases or kidney patients and others
Health Tips for the Pregnant Woman:
- To consult an obedtrician in order to know if you could go on the Hajj without sustaining any health complications.
- To make sure of consulting the obedtrician if they could be vaccinated against the meningitis and influenza before at least ten days of the Hajj.
- To make sure of bringing all the necessary medicines as enough as all the Hajj period along.
- To make a point of wearing the proper, snug clothes and shoes.
- To have an enough amount of fluids.
- To walk for little period every an hour or two to avoid the venous thrombosis of legs
- To avoid crowding and to choose the proper times to perform the rites.
- When you feel bleeding, abdominal contractions, migraine, or high temperature, you should head to the nearest health center or hospital.
- To avoid any excessive physical effort and apply the legitimate license according to its conditions when necessary such as using the wheel chair during Tawaf (circumambulation) and Sa’i (walking) when feeling strain.
It is recommended not to be accompanied by children who are not at puberty during the Hajj for the following reason:
- Children are more vulnerable to get infected with diseases such as respiratory tract and digestive tract infections, or gastroenteritis.
- Children are more vulnerable to lose fluids than adults either because of the high temperature or the little water they consume.
- Exhaustion tires children during the Hajj and could suppress their appetite; hence leading to the loss of the body’s fluids.
- Children are more vulnerable to get lost because of the overcrowding during the hajj.
Tips the Parents must know when brining their children along:
- Making a point of putting a bracelet around the child’s wrist showing their full name. residence place, telephone number, and the name of the convoy.
- Making sure that the child has taken the main vaccinations.
- It is recommended that the child take Escherichia coli bacterium (Haemophilus influenza) ten days before travelling if it were among the main vaccinations.
- Having fluids to excess to avoid drought.
- Washing hands continuously.
- Making sure of the cleanliness and dryness of the in-between thighs’ area to prevent exfoliations.
- Making sure of the food cleanliness.
- Not bringing children along to overcrowded places as much as possible.
- Wearing face-masks in the overcrowded places.
- It is recommended to see a doctor when any health problems occur such as diarrhea, vomit, and high temperature.
If your children accompanied you for the Hajj, make sure of giving them the main vaccinations, in addition to other Hajj-related vaccinations.
A considerable number of pilgrims undergo some of the common symptoms after the Hajj such as: strain, muscle pains and aches, headache, cold, laziness, irregular sleep, and complexion-darkening. And such symptoms result from exposure to sunlight beams, excessive movement without adequate fitness, and getting infected with cold and influenza. Here are some pieces of advice related to your health and the health of those living along after returning to your country safely. If you were suffering from flu, make a point of not transmitting the infection to others through sneezing or coughing; and this is through following these preventive procedures:
- Using handkerchiefs to cover the nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing, then throw them away in the wastepaper basket.
- Making a point of washing hands repeatedly in a correct way.
And you should do the following:
- Taking a great deal of rest and drinking fluids, as this helps you recover, God willing.
- Taking analgesics when needed.
- Seeing a doctor when necessary.
- If you found out during the Hajj that you would suffer from a specific disease such as diabetes or hypertension, make a point of seeing a doctor and taking the necessary steps after returning from the Hajj.
The Hajj Health Companion is the essential healthcare guide for all pilgrims. It is available in both English and Arabic.
- This Ministry of health(MoH) app will enable Hajjis to:
- Get real time MoH health advisories and tweets
- Make an emergency call for ambulance police or healthcare advice
- Find and navigate to the nearest healthcare care facility in Makkah, Madinah and the Holy sites (Mashaer).
- Get healthcare tips
- What to pack
- How to manage common conditions
- Preparing for the 5 days of Hajj