The chance to complete your pilgrimage is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many travellers. This means that you should take every effort to ensure that you are healthy enough to see your journey through to its end and take every step to avoid sickness as part of your pilgrimage.
So here are our top-tips for staying healthy, and how to prevent illness and injury.
Ensure your vaccinations are up to date
Part of your Umrah or Hajj visa will involve making sure that you have a full and up-to-date set of vaccinations. As well as these, it is advised that you check the current records for sickness in the region, or on locations that will see an influx of pilgrims during the period. Your doctor will be able to recommend any supplementary boosters or inoculations that may be helpful to have.
But in order to help bolster your vaccinations, building up a healthy immune system is important. Many doctors will advise taking time to adopt healthy eating habits before your pilgrimage such as quitting smoking and working to lose weight and build your fitness. Stress is also known to have a knock-on effect for your immune system, so try to take the time to make sure your trip is fully planned in advance and try to avoid leaving things to the last minute wherever possible.
With such a large number of pilgrims on-site at any time, contracting conditions like the 'Hajj cough’ is very common, if not unavoidable. Any large gathering of individuals from different regions and countries will result in diseases being transmitted. It is also paramount that you avoid drinking local tap water and recommend bringing along an air- safe bottle of hand sanitiser that help fight off infection.
Building up your tolerance for walking and having a comprehensive warm-up and stretching routine is also strongly recommended. Make sure any sandals you are wearing are fully broken-in before travelling. And make sure that your first aid kit contains balms for dealing with injured muscles, antiseptic creams, and straps and plasters for injured joints and feet.
What happens if you get sick or injured?
If you are ill, it is important to make sure that you let your fellow pilgrims know immediately. While you may want to complete your pilgrimage, taking steps to avoid infecting others and taking a day to rest is often invaluable. If you injure yourself physically, it is vitally important to make sure that it is addressed as soon as possible. If you continue with an injury, it will only make matters worse and potentially lead to permanent damage. Never, ever risk going on with a serious injury – hajj and Umrah will always be there when you are fit and healthy.