Health advice for Umrah pilgrims

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A BIRMINGHAM charity has urged British Muslims preparing to travel to Saudi Arabia for the Umrah pilgrimage to take the necessary health precautions.

Over a million British Muslims are expected to make the pilgrimage in the lead up to the holy month of Ramadhan in September.

The Association of British Hujjaj said it was important pilgrims safeguarded themselves against the risks.

“Pilgrims should safeguard themselves from the additional risks to their health because of the weather in Saudi Arabia which will be hotter than they are used to here in the UK”, a senior doctor from the charity warned.

“They are also at greater risk of Meningitis and other communicable diseases due to the over crowding at the ceremonies, accommodation, sites and public transport.”

‘Communicable’ diseases, the charity said, could easily be transmitted through direct person-to-person contact and through close and prolonged contact.

They also warned of the risk barbers posed saying the use of a single razor on a number of pilgrims also helped spread diseases.

“It is vital that all travellers must get ‘quadrivalent meningococcal’ vaccine (ACWY) before leaving for Saudi Arabia. A valid certificate of meningitis vaccine from your doctor is compulsory to obtain visa from the Saudi Embassy”, the doctor added.

”Barbers around the Holy places also pose a risk of spreading diseases, such as Hepatitis and other blood-borne pathogens by using the same razors repeatedly. Pilgrims should be aware of the risk of using the services by these barbers and they must insist that the barbers use disposable razors to shave.

“Protect yourself and your family; don’t ruin your journey with illnesses. Make the most out of this lifetime experience”, the doctor added.

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