MEDICAL INFORMATION FOR
Consult Your Doctor 6-8
Weeks Before Departure
He will advise you and arrange vaccinations (some of these can take
time to become effective). He can also issue the certificate you need.
Tell your doctor if you are taking your children with you. This is
particularly important if they have not had their full course of
childhood immunization. Special consideration may have to be given to
children who have not been vaccinated against tuberculosis.
Get your doctors advice if you have any illness. Take enough supply
of your medicine with you.
Four Weeks Before Departure:
Typhoid Injection if you have not had it in the last three
years. (You can have capsules if you prefer).
Tetanus Injection if you have not had it in the last 10
years. If your have never had them, you will need a full course of
Polio Drops if you have not had them in the last 10 years.
If you have never had them, you will need a full course of three.
Hepatitis A Injection first dose will give immunity for 1
year. Second dose 6-12 months after the first dose will give immunity
for 10 years. In children under 16 years, a junior Injection is
available. Dosage same as adults.
Meningitis quadrivalent ACWY Vax if you have not had it in
the last 3 years 5 years.
Hepatitis B if your work will involve health care of
One Week Before Departure:
Start taking Malaria tablets if necessary, while abroad and for four
weeks after travel.
In past years, there were outbreaks of Meningococcal Meningitis W135
infection among the hujjaj. Numerous people had infection and many
died. It is now a requirement that the Quadrivalent Meningococcal
Polysaccharide Vaccine, which provides protection against A, C, W135,
and Y strains, is administered. Saudi authorities have made this a
compulsory requirement for HAJJ and UMRAH and you will need a
You can get malaria, if
bitten by an infected mosquito, during Haj or Ziarat.
Even if you lived in Africa or Asia you can lose any immunity after a
few years. And if your children were born in non-Malarial countries
they have no immunity at all. So heres what to do if you visit a
malarial country or even stopover there:
your doctor about anti-malarial tablets. The dosage and drugs change
from time to time according to the strains of mosquitoes present in
the country you are visiting.
aware of risks.
mosquito bites and carry standby treatment if going to be far from
arms and legs covered when outdoors after sunset.
in screened accommodation or use mosquito nets.
Following this advice could prevent serious illness particularly in
HAVE A DENTAL CHECK-UP
See your dentist if you
will be away for more than a short time and you have any doubts about
your teeth. It may be difficult and expensive to get treatment where
you are going.
Hujjaj should bear in mind that although Saudi authorities have done
and are still doing as much as possible to prevent illness during Haj,
it is simply impossible to do it adequately because of the sheer
number of people. Mecca is a city of 200,000 people and during Haj, it
swells to over a million. Sanitation, water supply and food supply is
stretched over the limit. The city appears to be bursting at the
seams. The heat is extreme. There is intense overcrowding and a lot of
dust. People come from all walks and cultures. Not all of them can or
do get appropriate accommodation. In Arafat and Mina, people have to
spend time in tents in the deserts. Consequently, hygiene and
sanitation becomes Non-Existent. It is therefore very important that
people try to maintain the highest possible standard of hygiene. It
can NOT be substituted for any amount of injections, immunisations,
medicines, vitamins or hospitalisations. It is also very important to
take the following precautions and not lax on it even if you have
taken immunisation injections or medicines.
For next few years Haj will be during winter months. It can be very
cold especially at night. Remember to keep warm. There is a risk of
Try and avoid direct heat of the sun by covering yourself
adequately, walking in the shade, doing Ahkaams during the evening or
night, etc. This way you will prevent heat exhaustion, heat stroke or
Drink plenty of clear water. This will prevent you from getting
dehydrated (dry), heat stroke or kidney stones. Try and avoid sweet
drinks (canned or bottled drinks, and locally brewed fruit juices).
Try to drink clean water only, preferably bottled mineral water.
Do not eat exposed foods. This includes foodstuff left exposed,
fruits which cannot be peeled and meat on the counter. Try and eat
simple food which is self cooked. If food has to be eaten from shops,
restrict yourself to food which has been prepared (preferably roasted
or fried) in front of you and fruits which look fresh and which can be
peeled (bananas, oranges, etc.). Avoid grapes, peaches, plums, exposed
dates, fresh dates, etc.
REMEMBER VACCINATIONS ARE NOT ENOUGH TO PREVENT DISEASES
Take plenty of salt tablets and start taking them as soon as you
arrive in Jeddah. If you cannot get these tablets, common salt (two
tea spoonfuls) is adequate per day. This will prevent you from losing
too much salt through your sweat and making you feel very weak.
Take something to soothe your throat since sore throats are very
Take something to help your cough, constipation or diarrhoea.
Get small supplies of medicines from your doctor for your own use
while you are away. Ask your doctor for details.
WOMEN IN PREPARATION FOR HAJ & ZIARAT
If you feel that you are
going to menstruate during Haj, then is it better to postpone your
menstrual period. To achieve this you must plan to control your
menstrual cycle one month in advance. Please follow these instructions
On the first day of your last menstrual period commence a
contraceptive pill. You may choose from the following Microgynon 30,
Brevinor, Ovysmen, Marvelon and Ovranette. (If for medical reasons you
can not take the contraceptive pill, then start taking Norethesteron
5mg tablets three times a days 2 days before expected period, continue
taking them for as long as you want to postpone your period.
Menstruation will resume 2 days after stopping).
You must consult your doctor (General Practitioner) before commencing
Continue with the pill throughout the duration of the pilgrimage.
Consult your doctor (GP) and ask for a supply of Norethesteron (Primolet
N) 5 mg tablets. Take one tablet three times a day if bleeding
Other drugs such as Provera, Danazol (Danol), etc. may be prescribed
by your doctor and may be effective in stopping bleeding.
IMPORTANT: On completion of the pilgrimage STOP your
contraceptive pill and you will experience a normal period. Your
normal cycle will resume.
DISEASE AND PRECAUTIONS
Avoid cold drinks, over-crowding, dust, contact with other people with
sore throats or cough.
Chest Infection: Avoid dust, overcrowding and contact with
other people with sore throats or coughs.
Heat Exhaustion: (Muscle weakness due to loss of body salt)
Avoid direct heat from the sun. Drink plenty of water and take salt
Heat Stroke: Avoid direct heat from the sun. Get medical help
immediately. THIS IS AN EMERGENCY.
Cholera: Caught by contaminated water or food. Vaccination
does not give protection. Take scrupulous care over food and drink.
Infectious Hepatitis (Jaundice): There is a high risk of this
disease in Haj and Ziarat because of poor sanitation. It is caught by
consuming contaminated food or water or contact with an infected
person. Take scrupulous care over food, drink and hygiene. Get
yourself vaccinated. (Vaccine lasts 1 year or 10 years depending on
Malaria: Caught by a bite from an infected mosquito. Take
anti-malaria tablets. Avoid mosquito bites.
Polio: Caught by direct contact with infected person. Take
scrupulous care over food and drink. Get yourself vaccinated.
Tetanus: Risk areas are places where medical facilities are not
available. It is caught by open injury. Wash any wound thoroughly. Get
Typhoid: Caught by contaminated food, water or milk. Take
scrupulous care over food and drink. Get yourself vaccinated. (Vaccine
lasts three years).
Meningitis: Caught by contact with an infected person. This
is a very serious condition and potentially fatal. Get yourself
vaccinated. (Vaccine lasts 3-5 years).
Other Useful Information
Haj is at times
difficult and quite taxing to the human body. Therefore, try and
fulfil it while you are young. Do not take children, frail old people
or ill people to Haj.
Hospitals (there are five to six small hospitals in Mecca) are
overcrowded. Take health precautions rigidly since the treatment in
the hospitals is not up to standard because of extreme overcrowding.
Have a small first aid kit with you, containing adhesive dressings,
some insect repellent and antiseptic creams and water sterilisation
Make sure drinking water, and the water you use for cleaning your
teeth and washing your mouth is clean. Unless you know it is safe,
(bottled water usually is) sterilise your drinking water. You can do
this by boiling your water or by using sterilisation tablets. Milk
should be boiled, before use unless it is pasteurised or sterilised.
Be careful with these foods:- raw vegetables, salads and unpeeled
fruits, raw shellfish, cream, ice-cream, ice cubes, underdone meat or
fish, uncooked, cold or reheated food. They are best avoided.
Personal hygiene is vital. Always wash your hands before eating or
When you return home, if you become ill, tell your doctor where you
If in doubt, get in touch with the doctors at Medical Advisory Board
of World Federation in Birmingham.
REMEMBER for Hujjaj from the West: To avoid heat exhaustion
(muscle weakness) please take salt tablets daily.
Economy Class Syndrome or
Recent studies show that
long-distance travel may increase the risk of developing deep vein
thrombosis (DVT) in travellers.
Most people with existing medical conditions can fly without concern.
However, passengers who suffer from heart disease, lung disease,
cancer, or have previous or a family history of DVT, are recommended
to seek advice from their GP prior to flying. Other risk factors
include hormone treatment, recent surgery, recent trauma involving
lower limbs and any abnormalities of blood clotting factors.
Please be assured that most people who fly will experience a degree of
swelling in the feet and ankles, but the more you move your feet up
and down the less is the swelling. Research indicates that DVT stems
from sitting immobile for long periods, whether in a plane, bus or
car. Although the real risk of DVT remains low, the medical profession
believes that by following a few simple guidelines you will almost
certainly prevent the development of even minor blood clots.
Purchase a pair of elastic compression stockings to wear for the
duration of the flight.
Wear loose and baggy clothing during the flight.
Drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids to prevent dehydration.
Stand up in the seat area and stretch arms and legs every couple of
Avoid crossing legs when seated.
Carry out foot and leg exercises frequently.
Walk around the cabin as often as possible.
Carry-on luggage should not be kept in a position that would
interfere with the mobility of your legs. As well, a cushion should be
used on the seat if it is very hard.
If you can take aspirin, have one tablet on the morning of travel.
Please consult your GP first.
HEAT STROKE IS A KILLER!
Between March and
August, the weather in Saudi Arabia is extremely hot. Temperatures can
go up to 55 degrees centigrade. There is a serious risk of heat
stroke. The signs and symptoms to look for:
Feeling of extreme heat.
Body temperature rising rapidly.
Feeling of drowsiness.
What To Do:
Take the person into the shade.
Take their clothes off.
Spray body with cool water and fan it.
Get medical help urgently.
How To Avoid Heat Stroke:
As far as possible, avoid direct heat from the sun.
Remain in the shade.
Go out during evenings and nights.
Keep your body cool by drinking plenty of water.
When you have to go out in the sun cover your body completely with
clothes. Cover your head so that only your eyes and nose are exposed.
of First Aid
Act quickly, quietly
and methodically, giving priority to the most urgent conditions.
If breathing has stopped, clear the throat and mouth. If necessary,
start emergency resuscitation.
Give reassurance and encouragement to the patient.
Position the patient correctly - in coma position.
Do not allow people to crowd round.
Do not give anything by mouth to a casualty who is unconscious, who
has internal injury or who may shortly need an anaesthetic for an
As soon as possible arrange to call for an ambulance or doctor.
Reduce any further danger to the casualty or to yourself. e.g.
Road Accident: Instruct someone to control the traffic.
Electrocution (Electric Shock): Switch of the current; take
necessary precautions against further electric shock.
Fire and collapsing building: Move the casualty to safety away
from the building or tent.
Gas and Poisonous fumes: Turn off at source. Remove casualty to
Go with the casualty or give written or verbal message to the
ambulance driver or doctor regarding the circumstances of the accident
or illness and the treatment given.
Some Common Emergencies
1. Apply direct pressure to the bleeding wound point or points for 10
2. Lower the head position if possible.
3. Apply a dressing and firm bandage, but not too tight.
Steady and support the injured part at once to prevent further damage.
Do not allow any movement - use bandages or sticks for this purpose.
1. Lay the patient on the floor or bed in fresh air or
if not possible then sit him down and lower his head between his
2. Loosen clothing at the neck, chest and waist.
3. Reassure and urge to breathe deeply, to move the
muscles of the legs thighs and buttocks to help the circulation of the
4. On recovery, sips of water may be given.
point in Makkah for lost pilgrims:
(02) 574 9920
Outside normal working hours, ask for the Duty Officer
Tel: (02) 654 1811
Fax: (02) 654 4917
Ministry of Haj:
Jeddah (02) 647 0055
Makkah (02) 557 1714
Traffic Accidents 993
British Airways (02) 669 3464
Saudia (02) 632 3333
Lufthansa (02) 665 000
KLM (02) 667 0888
Air France (02) 651 2000
Dialing Code to