As thousands of people from all over the world gather in Makkah for hajj every year, many pilgrims face health problems due to different climates, diets, bacteria, and immunities.
Helping pilgrims have safe journey, the Council of British hajjis hosted a webinar last Thursday in which Dr. Imran Zia, clinical director for emergency medicine at Barts Health NHS Trust, explained how pilgrims should prepare for the lifetime journey.
Dr. Zia has accompanied British groups on hajj as both a medical expert and a guide at least 15 times, making him an expert.
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“Umbrellas are very useful, especially in the heat, and the temperature at the moment is likely to be between 40 and 45 degrees,” Zia was quoted by Arab News.
“We are not used to such high temperatures in the UK and I would encourage you to wear light colors and use sunscreen. Avoid going out in the afternoon if you can.”
As hajj involves a lot of walking between the holy sites in the scorching heat, Zia advised pilgrims to break in the footwear they plan to use.
“Please walk in the sandals that you are going to take with you. Every year we see people buying a new pair of sandals, taking them to Saudi Arabia, and then getting blisters. You need to wear those sandals now,” the medical professional said.
“If you’re diabetic, I would discourage you from taking flip-flops as they encourage infections, skin breakages, sweatiness, and will likely give you problems. So it’s better to get sandals with straps that you can secure,” he added.
Seeing hajj cough as another challenge facing pilgrims, due to the dry and dusty environment, the doctor advised pilgrims to wear a face mask and practice good hygiene.
“If you see someone coughing, keep your distance,” the doctor said.
He also highlighted the importance of pilgrims taking a sufficient amount of medicine for those who have existing health conditions.
Hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam, is performed by every Muslim with the financial and physical ability.
Hajj consists of several ceremonies which symbolizes the essential concepts of the Islamic faith. They also commemorate the trials of Prophet Abraham and his family.
Narrated Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri and Abu Huraira, The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “No fatigue, nor disease, nor sorrow, nor sadness, nor hurt, nor distress befalls a Muslim, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but that Allah expiates some of his sins for that.” (Sahih Bukhari 5641/5642)