Keeping Healthy

Further Health Guide lines
You will be exerting considerable physical effort during Hajj. All Hajj rites (Tawaf, Sai, Rummy etc.) require a great deal of strength and endurance. The constant crush of hundreds of thousands of other pilgrims, each trying to perform the same rites at the same time in limited spaces and very hot weather, compounds the demands on your physical conditioning and mental toughness.

In order to be prepared for the rigors expected of you, you must be in good physical shape. To achieve this, start a program of brisk walking and jogging for twenty to thirty minutes a day about three to four months before your departure. Gradually increase this regimen to an hour every day or every other day.
After a few days of walking/jogging start reciting audibly the Talbiyah and the prayers for Tawaf. This will keep your mind occupied during the monotony of the exercise, and will also help you get in a peaceful frame of mind. Concentrating on the meaning of the prayers will help you get ready for the actual Hajj as well.

Vaccinations

You will need certain vaccinations for the issuance of a Hajj visa. The World Health Organization (WHO) issues annual guidelines and requirements concerning vaccinations for travel to various countries including Saudi Arabia. Your physician will have the necessary information or will be able to access it readily.

Check either with your travel agent or the Saudi Arabian Embassy for additional requirements. The Saudi Government requirements are usually stricter than the WHO recommendations. For instance, whereas the WHO recommended immunization against only meningococcal meningitis for travel to Saudi Arabia in 1997, the Saudi authorities required immunization against cholera also.

Your doctor may recommend additional vaccinations in the light of his knowledge and experience. The writer’s doctor (a specialist in infectious diseases) recommended and administered immunization against typhoid fever, polio, pneumonia, diphtheria/tetanus (D/T) and malaria.

This may sound like “over-kill” and it probably is in most cases. However, it can also save you a lot of worry and misery in those unfortunate instances where extra care is needed. To cite an example : in 1997 there was an outbreak of typhoid in India and some of the pilgrims in the writer’s group, who travelled to India after Hajj, became seriously ill with the illness while there. It is possible that they contracted the disease from carriers among the Indian pilgrims in Saudi Arabia, or they may have contracted the disease in India itself. In any case, earlier vaccination against the disease would have saved them from much suffering and anxiety. Had they contracted typhoid in Saudi Arabia itself from the Indian pilgrims, they would have had serious problems completing their Hajj.

Be sure to obtain an official Vaccination Record Book (the “Yellow Book”) from your County or State Health Department. Have your physician fill it out, sign it, and stamp it. Anything less may be unacceptable to the Saudi visa authorities, and you don’t want your visa application rejected for a small detail like this. Keep the vaccination record book with your other important documents and take it with you to Saudi Arabia. You never know when you may need it.

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