Are you prepared for the Hajj?
Are you planning a pilgrimage to Mecca this year?
You’re likely aware that the Hajj will begin in the evening of August 30 – September 4, 2017. Now is the time to prepare for your trip of a lifetime.
Each year more than 3 million people take part in the Hajj, most of whom travel internationally from many different countries. The Hajj is a well organized and peaceful event. Experienced friends and family members may provide helpful tips and suggestions for your pilgrimage.
At TravelSafe Clinic, we can assist you to prepare by reviewing your vaccination history and ensuring you are up to date with your vaccinations including the meningitis vaccine.
Be aware and prepared
Infectious Diseases – With the large number of pilgrims in close contact it can increase your risk of an infectious disease exposure. Use disposable tissues when coughing and sneezing and dispose in the garbage after use. If tissues are unavailable use your elbow for sneezing and coughing and wash your hands when possible. Face masks are recommended in crowded and congested areas.
Heat – temperatures can be up to 40 and even 50 degrees Celsius. Exertion is required to visit the various sites. The combination can cause significant stress on the body, particularly for pilgrims who may be frail and elderly. Drink water frequently and avoid sun exposure for long periods of time.
Food, water and accommodation challenges – there are limitations in food supply as well as limitations on how much and what kind of food can be brought in. Avoid eating cooked food stored on the bus when visiting between Hajj sites. This is high risk for food poisoning. Wash your hands before and after eating and using washroom facilities.
Chronic illness – If you take prescription medications, be sure to take your prescription(s) as prescribed and ensure fellow pilgrims are aware of your chronic illness. Ensure you seek medical attention early if you are starting to feel unwell.
Reduce your risks to ensure you have a good experience for your pilgrimage.
Visa requirements for travel to the Hajj are strict and include possession of a non refundable ticket, proof of the required immunizations and a cheque to cover the cost of accommodation.
Vaccines required for the Hajj
Many adults living in British Columbia are not up to date with their basic vaccinations. It is important to be up to date even if you never travel outside Canada. Diseases such as measles, mumps and whooping cough are increasing worldwide including British Columbia.
It is a good opportunity for pilgrims planning the Hajj to receive their routine vaccines as well as the mandatory meningitis vaccine. All pilgrims to the Hajj aged 2 and older are required to provide proof of vaccination with quadrivalent meningococcal vaccine (A,C,Y,W-135) given no more 3 years and not less than 10 days before arrival in Saudi Arabia.
A full consultation to prepare you for your trip is recommended so you are well informed with preventative tips to decrease your risk of illness on your pilgrimage.
At TravelSafe we will review your health history, vaccine records and provide the appropriate recommendations for a safe and healthy trip to the Hajj.