Your health and the hajj or umrah: this is how to stay healthy during your trip.
Good physical health is one of the prerequisites for participating in the hajj. To ensure that you stay healthy during and after the hajj, it is wise to take some precautions. Some precautions, such as getting certain vaccinations, are also a prerequisite for making the hajj. In this blog, we will tell you more about which vaccinations you need, why they are important and when to get them.
What are the health risks during the hajj?
The hajj is not without danger. First of all, temperatures can reach 50⁰C, posing an elevated risk of sunstroke, dehydration or sunburn. In addition, the large crowds bring several risks. During the hajj, many people gather together, allowing diseases to spread easily and quickly.
You can reduce your chances of getting sick in several ways, such as paying close attention to hygiene and protecting yourself from the sun and heat. Preventive measures include:
- Drink plenty of water and take ORS (oral rehydration solution) with you. This is a solution of water with sugar and salts that you use to replenish fluid loss due to the heat. This reduces the risk of dehydration.
- Protection from the sun. To avoid sunstroke, bring a (white) parasol. Also remember to use sunscreen with a high SPF (Sun Protection Factor).
- Keeping hands clean. Wash them more often than usual and take a disinfectant cream or hand gel to kill bacteria. Try to avoid contact with animals. If contact with animals cannot be avoided, for example during a slaughtering ritual? Then disinfect your hands thoroughly afterwards.
- A mouth mask to reduce the risk of respiratory infections.
If you are going to have your head shaved bring your own razor blades and replace them after each use. When shaving, never use a blade that has already been used by someone else. Sharing razor blades increases the risk of infection with blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. You can get vaccinated against hepatitis B. There are also vaccinations for other diseases you can contract during the hajj.
What vaccinations do I need for the hajj?
Some vaccinations are a prerequisite for participating in the hajj, while others are recommended. Which vaccinations you do or do not take should be carefully considered.
Obligatory vaccinations for participation in hajj
Vaccination against meningitis (inflammation of the brain) is obligatory for everyone over the age of two. This requirement is imposed by the government of Saudi Arabia. It covers meningitis types A, C, W135 and Y. The meningitis ACYW135 vaccination protects you against meningococcal disease. This disease can lead to meningitis or blood poisoning, which can quickly lead to shock with fatal consequences.
For children under 1 year of age, the ACYW135 vaccination schedule consists of several vaccinations. For adults and children older than 1 year, one vaccination is sufficient. This vaccination is valid for five years and must be administered at least 10 days before the start of hajj. How long the vaccination actually protects against meningitis is still uncertain. It is assumed that protection lasts about 3-5 years.
Recommended vaccinations for the hajj or umrah
Besides the obligatory vaccinations, there are some other vaccinations we recommend getting before your trip. To reduce the risk of contracting diseases during the hajj, we recommend you also get vaccinated against hepatitis A and B, diphtheria, tetanus and polio (DTP). The DTP vaccination is included in the national vaccination programme and provides protection for 10 years. A booster vaccination is usually not necessary for children, but for adults we recommend a booster vaccination in most cases. If you have any questions about this, feel free to make an appointment. We will be happy to give you advice based on your personal circumstances.
As mentioned earlier, it is recommended to bring your own razors if you want to shave your head. If this is not done safely, you run the risk of contracting hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. You can get vaccinated against hepatitis B, but not against hepatitis C and HIV.
For all obligatory and recommended vaccinations for the hajj or umrah, you can make an appointment with us. Feel free to drop by for a personal consultation or ask about the possibilities of being vaccinated at your location. Hajj Mabrour!