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Travel health during the Hajj

Travel health during the Hajj
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21 Jun 2018

What vaccinations should I get for going to Mecca?

If you are making the Hajj to Saudi Arabia this year between 19 August and 24 August 2018, now is the perfect time to start organizing your travel health regime. Some vaccinations need to be given in spaced doses, and some shots are not effective immediately, so we recommend you see an expert travel health nurse at least six weeks before you leave.

What shots will I need for travel to Saudi Arabia?

If you are travelling for Hajj pilgrimage you will need a certificate of vaccination against meningococcal meningitis. Canadian Travel Clinics can administer this injection and issue the certificate. You should check that your certificate is still valid, so even if you have one, bring it along to your appointment.

The normal Canadian vaccination schedule will provide protection from many dangerous illnesses such as polio, tetanus and measles, but if you are not up-to-date, or unsure of your vaccination history, ask about catch-up vaccinations.

Certain travellers may need a yellow fever certificate and certificate of vaccination against polio – let your travel health nurse know if you are going anywhere else before you go to Saudi Arabia.

What other health considerations are there?

The Saudi Arabian government is incredibly well organized in the way it looks after pilgrims during Hajj, but you may still have trouble accessing healthcare facilities owing to the sheer number of people present. Bring basic supplies of painkillers and first aid items so that you can treat your own minor ailments.

The Hajj is arduous and this, combined with the hot climate of Saudi Arabia and a change to your routines can put enough strain on your body that you become more susceptible than usual to illnesses. You should be aware of the symptoms of dehydration and heatstroke and know when to get medical help for these. Our article on desert travel may be of interest.

Talk to your travel health nurse about steps you can take to avoid respiratory illnesses and food and water-borne illnesses.

People with underlying health conditions, such as diabetes or asthma, should see their usual healthcare provider before they travel. You should get a supply of any medication you’ll need for the entire length of your pilgrimage, too. It may be difficult to get hold of your usual brand or dose of pills outside Canada. Mention any long-term conditions to your travel health nurse at your Canadian Travel Clinics appointment, as your health history will affect the advice they give you.

Where can I find more information about travelling for the Hajj?

We recommend you take a look at the Government of Canada’s Hajj fact sheet.

The Saudi Arabia Ministry of Health has issued a list of health requirements for Hajj travellers, which you should read while making your travel plans.

How do I make an appointment for travel vaccinations in Calgary?

Canadian Travel Clinics can offer same-day vaccinations at our travel clinics in Calgary, and we have a Hajj Travel Vaccinations Package, too. Make an appointment online right now.