Hajj- & Umrah-related infectious disease risk

THE HOLIEST PLACE FOR MUSLIMS CAN BE A HEALTH RISK DURING HAJJ AND UMRAH1

THE HOLIEST PLACE FOR MUSLIMS CAN BE A HEALTH RISK DURING HAJJ AND UMRAH1

Annually, millions of Muslims embark on the Hajj pilgrimage. This mass migration could expose you to numerous health hazards due to the following factors:

1

Influx of large numbers of visitors within a short period of time

2

Visitors often come from areas that differ greatly in both geography and culture

3

Conditions of overcrowding

4

Risk of transmission and rapid spread of infectious diseases

While the Umrah is a shorter, noncompulsory pilgrimage that can be performed at any time, the infectious risks remain.

To successfully perform the Hajj/Umrah, an individual has to be healthy and fit. Therefore, sufficient preparation is necessary to attain good health during the entire duration at the Holy land.



Important steps to be taken when performing the Hajj & Umrah2

1

The Ministry of Health Malaysia encourages Hajj and Umrah pilgrims to take preventive vaccination to build up the body’s resistance against diseases such as:

2

Consult your doctor to determine your health condition, especially if you suffer from any health problems (diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, asthma, and kidney-related health problems)

3

To prevent possible infection from consumption of contaminated food and drink, drink only water that is boiled or bottled. Avoid iced drinks and eat only food that is fully cooked and served hot. Avoid eating raw vegetables and fruits that are eaten unpeeled.

4

The weather in Madinah is very cold especially prior to Wukuf. Avoid exposure to the extreme cold weather as this can weaken your body’s immune system and have harmful effects on your health.

5

The weather in Mekah is hot and dry. To avoid dehydration(loss of water from the body), drink as much water as possible. Avoid overexposure to the sun.


References
  1. World Health Organization. International Travel and Health 2012. Chp 9 Special groups of travellers. Available at http://who.int/ith/ITH_EN_2012_WEB_1.2.pdf. Last accessed 1 July 2016.
  2. Tabung Haji. Maklumat Imunisasi. Available at http://www.tabunghaji.gov.my/maklumat-imunisasi. Last accessed 1 July 2016.
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