Health Tips for Hajj

By: Narjis Asif


We all want to go.. just once. But, unfortunately, many of us are plagued with those nagging questions: the what-if and how-to of our concern. Although there are many wonderful books available on the subject that we have studied, it always helps to have some useful tips before embarking on the trip of a lifetime.
We all know that, during Hajj, pilgrims experience numerous events, meeting and mixing with a huge number of people and are constantly on the move from one place to another. Because of this constant journey, pilgrims are advised to pay extra attention to the condition of their health and not ignore what may, at first, appear to be insignificant symptoms. There are certain health and preventative steps that may help them to perform the Hajj rituals with minimum health. Some of these steps are now necessary conditions to get the official Hajj permit; while other are simply suggested health preparations. The prerequisites in combination with the subsequent useful may aid in making your Hajj journey a safe and an enjoyable experience!
ASK YOUR DOCTOR: It is highly recommended, before traveling to the Hajj, that every pilgrim consult his physician to know about new preventative procedures and necessary vaccines. Should the pilgrim be suffering from a certain disease, he has to ask the doctor for advice concerning his health condition and ability to endure the Hajj journey. It is also a good idea to bring a current medical report.
FIRST AID KITS TO THE RESCUE: Every pilgrim is advised to have a medical, first aid kit to deal with any emergency that may arise during the Hajj rituals. Pilgrims now often perform their Hajj through organized groups that take care of these things. Each groups of pilgrims may even have their own doctor, which is very useful. If you have to bring medicine, which you need, keep it in a safe place. Use special containers available at pharmacies for this purpose.
GOT A MEDICAL CARD? Pilgrims suffering from certain diseases must carry on their personal medical card (preferably a bracelet) that explains their medical condition in detail. This is important for receiving prompt treatment in case of emergency. The pilgrim must write the names and doses of the medicine he is currently taking so that they can be dispensed to him if and when they are lost.
YOU CAN NEVER HAVE ENOUGH TOILETRIES-TO-GO: It is highly recommended that the pilgrims take with them all the equipment and material they may need for personal cleanliness such as: soap, towels, a toothbrush, a shaving kit, etc. if pilgrim observed the Islamic rules of cleanliness and properly disposed of their litter in the baskets and containers provided for the purpose, disgusting sights of trash piles and filthy streets would disappears from the Hajj season. Without the pilgrims help, efforts by municipalities will not be sufficient to eliminate all harms which may result because of lack of cleanness. Using common sense and keeping mind simple rules can make Hajj healthier and safer for everyone, such as:
- Do not spit on the ground. This is a disgusting sight and more importantly, a dangerous way of spreading disease and infection.
- Do not litter the street; use trash pins and cans.
- In order to avoid infectious disease, use the toilets for urination and defecation; use them properly and keep them clean for others.
WEAR THE RIGHT STUFF: Although it is mostly mild in Makkah and other place that are pat of the Hajj rites, the weather this year can be cold and it is advisable that pilgrims coming from countries with different climates take this into consideration and bring with them suitable clothes. Of course, these clothes are to be worn when not in the state of Ihram.
BE CAUTION WITH THE CUISINE: Some pilgrims do not observe hygiene rule while preparing food. The main reason for the high incidence of infectious diseases such as diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and enteritis (inflammation of the intestines) during Hajj is contaminated food.
There are some easy-to-follow and preventive procedures that must be observed. Choosing to ignore these procedures, however, may result in serious health problems and gastrointestinal (inflammation of the membrane of the stomach and the intestine) disorders.
The following rules are particularly important:
- Observe strict cleanliness; wash your hands with water and soap before and after meals and every time you use bathroom.
- Clean cooking utensils and wash the fruit and vegetables thoroughly before eating them.
- Do not leave food exposed to open air, dust and germs.
- Drink only bottled water and use it for cooking. If bottled water is unavailable, use filtered and purified water; otherwise water must be boiled before it is used.
- Never buy salads and prepared food from street peddlers.
CHUG A LUG OF LIQUID: Throughout the Hajj trip, the pilgrims losses substantial amounts of liquids through perspiration and that is why the pilgrim is advised to drink enough liquids to compensate for what he or she loses each day.
SAFETY AND SECURITY FIRST: Hajj is an eventful season where approximately two million pilgrims get together for a period not exceeding one week. Thy live in overcrowded tents and move together almost at the same times. Furthermore, they come from various countries, speak different languages and have different levels of education. Because of all this, many accidents may and actually did happen during Hajj.
USE CARE WHEN SHAVING: When having there hair shaved, some pilgrims use contaminated razors (that have been used by other pilgrims). This is very dangerous practice because a lot of contagious and blood transmitted disease can be communicated in this way from one person to another. HIV, the virus that is responsible for AIDS, and hepatitis (Inflammation of the liver) B and C are the most dangerous viruses communicated in this way. It is vital that pilgrims use disposable razors and dispose of them safely once they have been used.