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Hajj Health Guidelines

Hajj Health Guidelines

Fundamental steps

Among the paramount measures to guarantee a seamless Hajj journey is putting your health first and preparing yourself physically and mentally to deal with common health issues that pilgrims often encounter.

Required Vaccinations:

Certain vaccination requirements are in place for those planning to participate in Hajj or be within the Hajj areas, including adults and children aged one year or older. These requirements are as follows:

1.Neisseria Meningitidis: It is compulsory to possess a valid vaccination certificate showing that you have received the quadruple meningitis vaccine (ACYW) if you wish to attend Hajj or enter Hajj areas. This vaccine should have been administered ten days before your arrival in the Hajj areas. Acceptable vaccines include:• Quadruple (ACYW) polysaccharide vaccine, with a validity period not exceeding three years since vaccination.• Quadruple conjugate (ACYW) vaccine, with a validity period not exceeding five years since vaccination.

2.Polio: If you are coming from regions where wild poliovirus or vaccine-derived poliovirus is still circulating, you must possess a valid vaccination certificate showing that you have received at least one dose of either bivalent oral polio vaccine (Bopv) or inactivated polio vaccine (IPV). This vaccine should have been administered between four weeks and 12 months before you entered the Kingdom. (recommended)

3.Yellow Fever: All pilgrims above nine months from regions where yellow fever is prevalent must show a valid vaccination certificate indicating that they have been vaccinated against it before arriving in the Kingdom. The certificate becomes valid ten days after vaccination and remains valid for life.

Recommended Vaccination:

SARS-COV-2 (Covid-19):All prospective Hajj pilgrims aged 12 years or older, are mandated to complete all the required doses of one of the Kingdom-approved Covid-19 vaccines. The following vaccines are accepted:Pfizer-BioNTech: Two doses required.Moderna: Two doses required.Oxford/AstraZeneca: Two doses required.Janssen: One dose required.Covovax: Two doses required.Nuvaxovid: Two doses required.Sinopharm: Two doses required.Sinovac: Two doses required.Covexin: Two doses required.Sputnik V: Two doses required.

Seasonal Influenza: It is advisable for all individuals traveling to the Hajj regions, including pilgrims, seasonal workers, and others, to receive the seasonal flu vaccine at least ten days before arriving in the Kingdom. This recommendation is especially important for pregnant women, children under five, the elderly, and individuals with chronic illnesses or weakened immune systems. The Ministry of Health recommends that pilgrims from countries using the northern half vaccine receive the southern half vaccine at least ten days before they arrive in the Kingdom.

General Health Recommendations:It is important to note that medical insurance is not automatically provided for pilgrims during Hajj. Therefore, pilgrims should consult their service provider to obtain information about local medical services. For added peace of mind during their Hajj journey, pilgrims should consider securing comprehensive insurance coverage.

Recommendations for Elderly Pilgrims and Those with Chronic Conditions:For elderly pilgrims and individuals with chronic conditions, special considerations should be considered:

  • 1. Pre-Travel Consultation: Pilgrims, especially the elderly and those with severe chronic conditions such as advanced cancers, heart and respiratory diseases, advanced liver or kidney diseases, and senility, should consult with their healthcare providers before embarking on their Hajj journey. This consultation is essential to assess their physical readiness and overall health conditions.
  • 2.Medical Documentation: Pilgrims should obtain documentation from their healthcare providers that includes detailed information about their medical conditions, prescribed medications, potential complications, and any other relevant details.
  • 3.Medication Management: Pilgrims should ensure they carry an ample supply of prescribed medications in their original packaging. It is also helpful to be aware of the generic names of their medications, as these may be more widely recognized in foreign pharmacies.
  • 4.Adjusting Medication Schedules: Pilgrims should discuss any necessary adjustments to their medication schedules with their healthcare provider, considering time zone changes when departing and returning from Hajj.
  • 5. Vaccination Status: Pilgrims should update their vaccination status against vaccine-preventable diseases. This includes vaccinations for Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Polio, Measles, Varicella, and Mumps.
  • 6. Special Medical Equipment: For pilgrims with specific medical requirements, such as oxygen devices, breathing aids, hearing aids, cochlear implants, etc., it is important to ensure that extra batteries and necessary supplies are readily available.
  • 7. Wheelchair Use: Pilgrims who use wheelchairs should bring their wheelchair and consider having a friend or family member who can assist. Additionally, it is recommended to have a patch kit for potential flat tires. Wheelchairs can also be purchased at pharmacies in Makkah if needed.
  • 8. Physical Exertion: Pilgrims should avoid excessive physical exertion during Hajj to prioritize their health. It is advisable to use a wheelchair when performing Tawaf when walking between the Safa and Marwa and during times of stress.
  • 9. Seeking Immediate Medical Attention: If a pilgrim experiences chest pain, shortness of breath, or any health complications related to blood sugar or other conditions, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention by visiting the nearest health facility. Your health should always be a top priority during Hajj.
Essential Personal Hygiene Practices:

1. Coughing and Sneezing Etiquette: Pilgrims should cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. If tissues are unavailable, they should use their elbows to prevent the spread of germs. This simple act plays a crucial role in protecting the health of all pilgrims.

2. Clean Clothing: Wearing clean and fresh clothes is comfortable and prevents skin irritations. Pilgrims should choose breathable fabrics and avoid materials that may cause discomfort.

3. Clean Living Space: Regularly maintaining the cleanliness of their living space is essential. Daily cleaning helps create a healthy environment and reduces allergens, bacteria, and viruses in the home, contributing to overall well-being.

4. Oral Hygiene: Paying attention to oral hygiene and dental care is vital for a healthy smile and overall health. Pilgrims should brush and floss their teeth regularly and schedule routine dental check-ups to ensure good oral health.

5. Handwashing: Handwashing is fundamental for personal hygiene. Proper handwashing with soap and water is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of illnesses. Pilgrims should make it a habit to wash their hands regularly, especially before eating, after using the restroom, and in public places.

Injuries Caused by Heat and Infectious Conditions:

Heat Stress: Heat stress occurs when the body becomes overheated, often due to exposure to high temperatures, leading to discomfort and potential health risks. To prevent it, pilgrims should follow these guidelines:

Reduce exposure to high temperatures and avoid crowded spaces, seeking shade or well-ventilated areas.

Stay hydrated by drinking water and electrolyte-rich beverages to maintain electrolyte balance.

Prevent overheating and exhaustion by taking regular breaks and resting in cooler environments.

Choose light-coloured clothing, particularly for women, as it reflects sunlight and helps regulate body temperature in hot conditions.

Heat Stroke: Heat stroke is a severe medical condition resulting from prolonged exposure to high temperatures or physical exertion. It can lead to symptoms like high body temperature and confusion and can be life-threatening if not treated promptly. To provide immediate relief for someone with heat stroke, a pilgrim should:

Remove excess clothing and cool the body with water, paying attention to the head and neck.

Offer fluids to rehydrate the affected person.

Call emergency medical assistance and transport the individual to the nearest healthcare facility for proper treatment.

Muscle Discomfort:

Muscle stress, characterized by tension or discomfort due to overuse, strain, or tension, can lead to pain or reduced functionality. To alleviate pain in the affected muscles, a pilgrim can take the following steps:

Apply gentle pressure to the injured or sore area to reduce discomfort and promote blood circulation.
Consider using a cold compress or ice pack on the affected area to reduce inflammation and soothe pain. Ensure the cold source is wrapped in a cloth to prevent direct skin contact and avoid frostbite or discomfort.
Utilize a wheelchair or mobility aid to assist with mobility.
If necessary, consume pain relievers as directed.
Skin Irritation:

Skin irritation, often observed during the Hajj season, particularly affecting individuals who are obese, overweight, or have diabetes, can result in skin inflammation, particularly in areas like the thighs, underarms, and below the breasts. To prevent skin irritation, a pilgrim should follow these steps:

Apply suitable creams to moisturize and protect the skin before walking.
After sweating, use baby powder to keep the skin dry and reduce friction.
Opt for cotton clothing to prevent chafing and maintain comfortable, breathable attire.
If an infection occurs, use specialized creams for treatment. Before applying the medication, ensure that the affected area is cleaned with water and soap, and repeat this process regularly for the best results.

Dehydration occurs when the body loses excessive fluids, primarily water, leading to inadequate hydration. This can result from insufficient fluid intake, excessive sweating, or certain medical conditions like diabetes. To recognize dehydration, a pilgrim should watch for the following signs:

  • Thirst
  • Dry mouth and skin
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Reduced urine output
  • Muscle cramps
  • Rapid breathing

To prevent dehydration, a pilgrim should:

Ensure an adequate daily water intake.

Include hydrating foods in their diet, such as fruits and vegetables.

Limit factors that can lead to dehydration, such as excessive caffeine consumption.

Seek medical attention if symptoms develop, as medications can be prescribed to treat and prevent complications.

Falling and Ankle Sprain:

Falls, particularly among elderly pilgrims, can occur during the physically demanding and crowded Hajj pilgrimage. These falls may result in ankle sprains, which happen when the ligaments around the ankle joint stretch or tear, often due to a sudden twist or turn of the foot, leading to pain, swelling, and difficulty walking. If a pilgrim experiences a fall, they should follow these steps:

First, check for any injuries or pain before attempting to get up.

Seek nearby support or assistance, especially if uncertain about one's condition.

Remain composed and avoid rushing to stand up hastily if uninjured.

Once on their feet, take a few moments to ensure stability and rule out dizziness before continuing.

If a pilgrim suspects they have sprained their ankle, they should consider the following actions:

Allow the ankle some time to rest.

Apply an ice pack, covered with a towel, to the affected area for approximately 15-20 minutes.

Discontinue the use of the ice pack if the ankle becomes numb.

Use compression for the ankle.

Elevate the foot above the body level and avoid putting weight on the injured ankle.

Consider over-the-counter pain relievers suitable for their specific health conditions.

Seek medical advice from a healthcare provider if pain and swelling persist to rule out a possible fracture.

To prevent falls in general, pilgrims should consider these precautions:

Choose appropriate and well-maintained footwear that provides ankle support.

Maintain foot health by keeping toenails trimmed and seeking advice from a general practitioner or podiatrist for any foot issues.

Exercise caution to prevent collisions when navigating crowded areas.

Seek assistance for tasks that may pose a safety risk if done alone.

Avoid walking on slick floors while wearing only socks.

Pilgrims with balance issues and visual or hearing impairments should use assistive medical devices like canes, wheelchairs, prescribed eyewear, and hearing aids to reduce the risk of falls and associated complications.

Respiratory Infections Prevention Tips:

Cover the mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and dispose of it in a waste bin to prevent the release of respiratory droplets carrying potential pathogens.

Practice good hygiene by avoiding direct contact with individuals displaying signs of illness, such as coughing or sneezing.

Refrain from sharing personal items to reduce the transmission of infections.

Dengue Fever and Zika Virus:

Dengue Fever is a mosquito-borne viral infection that causes flu-like symptoms, including high fever, severe joint and muscle pain, and, in some cases, severe complications like dengue hemorrhagic fever. Zika Virus is also mosquito-borne and typically causes mild symptoms but can lead to congenital disabilities if contracted during pregnancy. Travelers to Hajj areas are strongly advised to protect themselves from mosquito bites by:

Wearing protective clothing, ideally light-coloured, that covers as much of the body as possible.

Applying insect repellent to deter mosquitoes.

Food Poisoning:

Food poisoning is characterized by illness or discomfort from consuming contaminated or spoiled food. The primary symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever. To prevent food poisoning, pilgrims should:

Always wash their hands with soap and water before handling food and after using the restroom.

Use a food thermometer to ensure that meat, poultry, and seafood are cooked to their recommended internal temperatures, which helps kill harmful bacteria.

Promptly refrigerate perishable items to maintain safe temperatures (typically below 40°F or four °C) and slow bacterial growth.

Use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw and cooked foods to prevent the spreading of harmful bacteria. Regularly clean and sanitize surfaces, including countertops and kitchen equipment.

Refrigerate or freeze leftovers within two hours of preparation to prevent bacterial growth. Reheat leftovers thoroughly before consumption.

Be cautious of food left at room temperature for extended periods, discarding items left out for more than two hours (or one hour in hot weather).

When dining at restaurants or food establishments, choose places with good hygiene practices and well-cooked meals. Assess cleanliness and the overall condition of the establishment.

In food poisoning, refrain from consuming food or fluids, drink water or other fluids to replace lost fluids, and seek assistance at the nearest hospital for medical attention.

First Aid:

First aid is essential during Hajj, providing immediate care for injuries and illnesses. Pilgrims should carry a well-equipped first aid kit to address common health issues, ensuring a safer and more prepared journey. The most common situations requiring first aid are Low Blood Sugar and Nosebleeds.


Nosebleeds are common among pilgrims due to exposure to high temperatures. To stop a nosebleed, a pilgrim can follow these steps:

Pinch both nostrils using the thumb and forefinger to apply gentle pressure, stopping blood flow.

Lean the upper body slightly forward to prevent blood from flowing down the throat, as swallowing blood can cause nausea.

Continue to breathe through the mouth to maintain a clear airway.

Hold the pinch for at least 5-10 minutes without releasing it to allow the blood vessels in the nose to constrict and stop bleeding.

Avoid tilting the head backward, as it may lead to blood flowing down the throat.

If bleeding persists after 10 minutes of continuous pressure or is severe, seek prompt medical attention.

Refrain from blowing the nose or inserting objects into the nostrils during a nosebleed, which can worsen the situation and cause further bleeding.

Low Blood Sugar:

To address low blood sugar:

Consume a source of fast-acting sugar, such as a small glass of fruit juice, a handful of candies, or a sugary drink, to quickly raise blood sugar levels.

Wait for about 15 minutes; if symptoms do not improve, consume another serving of sugar.

After stabilizing blood sugar levels and feeling better, have a balanced meal or snack containing protein and complex carbohydrates to maintain steady blood sugar.

If the person experiencing low blood sugar becomes unconscious or cannot swallow, seek immediate medical assistance. Know the individual's needs and treatment plan, as responses to low blood sugar can vary.

Health Facilities:

«Sehhaty» Platform

sehaty logo

It is the unified platform of the Ministry of Health, which allows users to access health information and obtain several health services provided by various entities in the health sector in Saudi Arabia.

download it now: Android, IOS

Emergency Contact Information:

Call Center Services for Pilgrims: 937

Red Crescent: 977 (to be confirmed)

Police: 999 / 911

Unified Number: 00966920002814

Email: [email protected]

Beneficiaries Care Center on Twitter: @MOHU_Care

Health Locations:

Pilgrims can find here all healthcare facilities locations in Mashaaer.

Final Thoughts: Preparing for the Journey of a Lifetime

Embarking on the sacred pilgrimage of Hajj is a profound and life-changing experience. To ensure that your journey is both spiritually enriching and physically safe, it is crucial to prioritize your health and take proactive steps to prepare yourself for the challenges that pilgrims commonly face.

· Start by ensuring that you are in good physical health. Visit your healthcare provider for a comprehensive check-up and discuss any pre-existing medical conditions or concerns. Pilgrimage can be physically demanding, involving long walks, crowded conditions, and exposure to various weather conditions. Being in optimal health will help you cope better with these challenges.

· If you have any prescribed medications, ensure an adequate supply throughout your journey. Carry your medications in their original packaging, along with copies of your prescriptions. Familiarize yourself with the local pharmacies in Saudi Arabia in case you need to refill your medications.

·Maintain good personal hygiene practices to prevent the spread of illnesses. Carry hand sanitizer and use it frequently, especially before eating. It's also advisable to carry personal hygiene items such as tissues and wet wipes.

· Adequate rest and sleep are essential for maintaining energy and well-being throughout the pilgrimage. Make sure to allocate time for rest and prioritize your sleep.

· Hajj can be emotionally overwhelming due to the crowds, the significance of the journey, and the physical challenges. Mentally prepare yourself by understanding the rituals and significance of Hajj. Consider seeking guidance from religious scholars or counsellors to strengthen your mental resilience.

· Carry a list of emergency contacts, including the nearest embassy or consulate, your country's Hajj mission, and local healthcare facilities. Share this information with your fellow travellers.

By taking these proactive measures, you can ensure that your Hajj journey is spiritually fulfilling but also safe and comfortable. Prioritizing your health will enable you to fully embrace the experience and make the most of this extraordinary pilgrimage.