Pilgrims going on Umrah will have lots to prepare. However, many tend to overlook their health when doing so.
Did you know that you and your family may be exposed to various types of infectious diseases, including influenza in the Holy Land? This risk is especially high during Umrah & Haj season due to large crowds of pilgrims from all around the world. But don’t worry, here are steps you can take to protect you and your family from the threat of influenza.
1. Get vaccinated against influenza
Influenza vaccination is strongly recommended for Hajj and Umrah pilgrims as it can reduce up to 77% clinic visits due to influenza-like illness. Influenza vaccination can also protect you from serious complications such as infections of the ear/sinus, pneumonia, organ failure, asthma attack or death.
2. Practise good hygiene
Avoid touching your face, eyes or nose and always wash your hands with soap and water.
3. Avoid unhealthy people
Stay away from pilgrims who are sick to avoid getting an infection.
4. Get enough rest and drink enough water
It can be tiring to complete your pilgrimage. Get adequate rest because you may be prone to infections if you are tired. Drink enough water to avoid dehydration due to the hot weather.
 Memish et al. 2011. Detection of respiratory viruses among pilgrims in Saudi Arabia during the time of a declared influenza A (H1N1) pandemic. J Travel Med. 19(1):15-21.
 MSIDC. 2014. Adult Immunisation Guidelines: Special Groups. 2nd Edition.
 MSIDC. 2014. Adult Immunisation Guidelines: Influenza. 2nd Edition.
 CDC. 2016. Flu symptoms & complications. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/complications.htm [Accessed November 7, 2017]  CDC. 2017. Influenza preventive steps. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/consumer/prevention.htm [Accessed November 7, 2017]  CDC. 2017. Influenza preventive steps. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/consumer/prevention.htm [Accessed November 7, 2017]  CDC. 2016. Preventing the flu: good health habits can help stop germs. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/habits.htm [Accessed November 7, 2017]