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Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre issues health advisory for Hajj pilgrims

Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre issues health advisory for Hajj pilgrims
10 June 2024 21:43

HUDA AL TUNAIJI (ABU DHABI)

The Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre has issued a series of health and preventative safety guidelines for pilgrims to follow when going on Hajj or Umrah. Dr. Farida Al Hosani, Executive Director of the Communicable Diseases Department at the Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre, told Aletihad of the importance of vaccinations and following the guidelines as primary preventive measures. 

She urged pilgrims to receive the meningococcal quadrivalent vaccine (ACYW135) to prevent meningitis (the inflammation of the brain and spinal cord membranes), the seasonal flu vaccine to prevent influenza, the pneumococcal vaccine to prevent pneumonia, and the COVID-19 vaccine. She recommended that pilgrims recieve the vaccines at least two weeks before travel to ensure adequate immunity.

Before performing Hajj or Umrah, Dr. Al Hosani also urged pilgrims to consult with healthcare professionals at least a month prior to departure to assess health conditions, discuss potential risks, and ensure all necessary medications and vaccinations are administered for optimal protection against diseases. Additionally, she advised pilgrims to carry a stamped vaccination certificate and a well-equipped first aid kit.

The doctor's advice extended to practices during the pilgrimage, including rigorous hand hygiene by washing hands thoroughly with water and soap or using hand sanitiser. The doctor advised pilgrims to maintain healthy habits – such as proper nutrition, physical activity, and adequate rest as much as possible. She also urged pilgrims to maintain a clean environment and avoid the sharing personal items. She advised on respiratory disease prevention, such as using tissues when coughing or sneezing and wearing disposable medical masks in crowded areas.

To ensure food safety, pilgrims are instructed to thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables, avoid undercooked meats, store food properly, and check the expiration dates of canned or packaged foods.

To combat heat-related illnesses, Dr. Al Hosani recommended staying hydrated, using an umbrella to minimise direct sun exposure, and monitoring for symptoms of heat exhaustion, including dizziness, dry mouth, muscle cramps, general fatigue, headache, and nausea. Post-Hajj, pilgrims should continue to rest, hydrate, and seek medical attention if fever or cough symptoms develop within two weeks of their return.

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