Dubai, UAE: The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) held today a live twitter clinic to discuss health aspects before, during and after the Hajj pilgrimage.
The two-hour live DHA clinic known as the #smart_clinic on DHA’s twitter account @DHA_Dubai addressed Q and A’s on health aspects during the Hajj pilgrimage and DHA’s panel of experts disseminated several health tips with regard to vaccinations, prevention of heat strokes, ways to avoid food-poisoning and health precautions for a safe Hajj.
Dr Nusaiba Al Behandy, specialist registrar at the Al Mankhool Traveler’s Clinic said: “The most important step for any hajj pilgrim is to avail of the necessary vaccines, at least ten days prior to the date of travel. Ideally, travellers should visit the DHA Primary Healthcare Centres one month in advance.”
She added that the meningococcal vaccine is mandatory, the flu vaccine is recommended for everyone undertaking the pilgrimage and the pneumonia vaccine is highly recommended for immmocomprised patients, the elderly and those with chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart problems, etc.
Dr Hend AlAwadhi, specialist registrar at the Al Mankhool Traveler’s Clinic, highlighted that because of the risk of certain respiratory diseases, it is recommended that the following groups should postpone their plans for Hajj and Umrah this year: people over 65 years old, children under 12 years old, pregnant women, people with cancer or terminal illnesses, people with chronic diseases (such as heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, or respiratory disease.)
AlAwadhi, advised that people should carry enough stock of their medications, especially if they suffer from a chronic disease that requires them to take medications regularly. She added: ” They must visit their physician prior to travel so that they carry their necessary medications. They should also carry their prescription and a detailed report of the medical diagnosis and history and keep it with them at all times.”
She also advocated that people with low immunity should take all the necessary vaccines. “Other basic precautions such as drinking lots of fluids to keep oneself hydrated, consuming foods rich in vitamin C, regular hand washing and use of hand sanitizers is essential. All pilgrims should also beware of salmonella poisoning which can occur when food is uncooked or undercooked or kept outside for long hours. Pilgrims should ensure that they consume food within two hours of it being cooked. Food which is cooked and kept at room temperature or in the bus beyond two hours, is prone to get bacterial growth which can lead to serious problems such as food poisoning.”
Dr Ayesha Altheeb, specialist registrar at the Al Mankhool Traveler’s Clinic, said: ” People who want to shave or cut their hair during the pilgrimage should follow certain precautions to avoid transmission of infectious diseases such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. They should ensure that the barber is licensed and that he uses a single use razor and disposes the blade immediately.
“Never share shaving equipment with others and do not walk barefoot to ensure no used needle or razor can prick your leg,” added Altheeb.
Altheeb added that pilgrims should avoid kissing and hugging when greeting others, they must ensure they never share a prayer mat and should use their own mat, they should not touch their eyes, nose or mouth without washing hands and they should avoid direct sunlight for long hours.
She said that it’s important for Hajj pilgrims to protect themselves from heat exhaustion and sun strokes. “Avoid Tawaf, Sa’i, Arafat and Mina during high temperatures or ensure that you are well protected against the sunrays and are well hydrated.”
It is important to know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion/sun stoke. ” If one experiences high body temperature, nausea, fatigue, cramps, thirst, headaches or excessive sweating, it’s important to move away from a sunny place, cool the body with cold water and if necessary, head to the nearest medical facility or contact your campaign doctor immediately,” said Altheeb.
The DHA panellists advocated that it is important to rest after Hajj and drink lots of fluids to help the body recover.
Altheeb said: “During Hajj, pilgrims realise the importance of physical fitness. They should use this experience to regularize their health and fitness routines.”
She said following these basic guidelines is essential to ensure a safe Hajj pilgrimage.
© Press Release 2014Aug 2014