Dubai International SOS, a medical and security services company, has some tips to help the estimated 2.8 million Muslims who are expected to arrive in the holy city of Makkah for Haj this year.
1) Update your vaccinations: It is mandatory of all pilgrims to have vaccinations against meningococcal meningitis at least 10 days before arrival. Also depending on what country pilgrims are travelling from it is mandatory to have up-to-date vaccines against yellow fever and polio. It is a good idea to make sure all routine vaccinations are up-to-date including measles-mumps-rubella, diphtheria and pertussis.
2) Dont compromise on hygiene: By maintaining a high level of hygiene and washing hands frequently one mitigates the risk of contracting an infectious disease. It would be beneficial to consider wearing a mask when in crowded places.
3) Keep hydrated to avoid heat stroke: Minimise time spent in the sun especially from around 10am to 4pm. It is important to drink plenty of fluids, protect the face and eyes with a hat and sun glasses, and wear plenty of sunscreen with a SPF of 15 or greater.
4) Be flexible and patient: Pilgrims should make sure their itineraries are flexible and be prepared for major or prolonged travel disruptions.
5) Stay vigilant and be aware of your surroundings: Pilgrims should be aware of their surroundings and belongings at all times. Travellers should bear in mind the possibility of stampedes in the vicinity of key religious sites and pilgrimage routes.
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