Health Guide for Haj pilgrims from Home to Hijaz by Dr. Showkat Ahmad Kadla, Professor of Gastroenterology, SMHS Hospital, Sgr in association with Dr. Nissar Ahmad Shah & Dr. Mohammad Ashraf, Consultants, Deptt. of Medicine, GMC, Srinagar.

A)      Diseases which can effect a Haji in Aeroplane:-

1.            Motion Sickness:

Symptoms –       Giddiness and vomiting

Measures to be taken:-

a)      Leave your stomach empty at least four hours before flight.

b)      Medicine:

i)                    Tab Avomine:              One Tab half an hour before flight

(Note: You can take two tablets in four hours)

Side effects:    Not significant in majority of people.

ii)                  Tab Stemetal MD:       To be chewed while flight starts

(Note: You can chew two tablets in four hours)

Side effects:    Not significant in majority of people.

Important points to be noted during flight:-

a.         Don’t take excess fruit juices (take only upto 100 to 200 ml in small amounts).

b.         Don’t take chilled juice.

c.         Hujaj Kiram should try to avoid rice, meat, butter slices, burgars, cutlets etc. instead they should take biscuits and tea.

B)          After flight:

                                a.         Haji Sahib will sometimes feel headache, giddiness and fatigue.

Measures to be taken:-

i)          Take food, tea and biscuits.

ii)         If condition persists, take Tab paractemol 500mg stat

            (I recommend tab Malidens 500mg or tab Macfast 500 mg)

iii)        If Headache is severe, chew tab Ugesic stat.

Side effects:    Insignificant


C)      Next condition which Haji Sahib can develop is Fever:

Fever may be associated with chills. In that case take:

i)                    Tab Paractemol 500 mg as is advised above.

ii)                  If fever persists – Cold sponging to be done.

D)      Third disease which Haji Sahib can develop is Upper Respiratory Tract Infection (URTI)

Symptoms:      Fever, chills and rigors, irrigation of eyes, running of nose, sore throat, chest congestion and cough.

Note: It would have been better if preventive measures are taken. If one wants to avoid development of

URTI, following measures have to be taken:-

i)                    As the temperature fluctuates between 370 to 400C, while coming from Haram to Hotel, Haji Sahib feels heat, sweating, exhaustion and fatigue. They immediately take cold water and cold drinks and sit under fans and A.C’s. This should be strictly avoided: instead they should take lukewarm water till they feel comfortable.

Medicines to be take: (In case symptoms do not subside)

a)      Tab Levoflox 500 mg – once daily for five days.

Side effects: -   Nill, rarely Allergy.

b)      For fever take paractemol 500 mg daily, as and when required.

Note:   Tab Levoflox 500 mg, costs Rs. 50 – 60/- for five days. But in Saudi Arabia, it costs about 70 Riyals for five days. Moreover, this medicine is not available within the dispensaries of Indian Haj Mission. It is recommended to take 10 – 20 tablets along.

E)      Vomiting & Loose Motion.

                Another disease which a Haji Sahib usually develops is Vomiting & Loose Motion. This condition usually occurs as a result of food poisoning (either through infected food or stored food). Often Haji Sahib takes such food at Saudi Arabia, which he is not accustomed to. It is advisable to avoid experimenting the foods available. Instead he should take those foods which are like his native place foods.   

Note:   Kindly do not take dry vegetables (Hukh Sabzi, Waur or Hogard (dried or smoked fish) ets).


 Medicines to be taken:        

  a)        For Vomiting: Chew one tablet of stemetil MD, as and when required (you can take upto three tablets per day)

 b)         For diarrhea:   Take tablet Levflox 500 mg once daily for five days. If vomiting and diarrhea occur together, take tablet Stemetil MD first followed, after fifteen minutes, by tablet Levoflox 500 mg – once daily for five days. Patients should avoid taking food. However, patient is advised to take curd and lassi after vomiting stops.

             In case patient does not get well, he may need intravenous fluids, so it is advisable to go to nearest dispensary available.

 Important things to note:

 Often Hujaj Kiram performs multiple Tawafs during their stay in Haram Sharief. The end result of this is severe fatigue and swelling of both feet and legs. This increases the difficulties for the Hajies. Their shoes / Chappels become unfit for their feet. In that case, the treatment is to take rest and while sleeping put two pillows under your feet and the condition will recede within few days.

 Five Days of Hajj

 The ultimate event of Hajj extends over a period of five days. During these five days, a pilgrim is vulnerable to all types of diseases, as I have mentioned above. Here I want to stress about food. Kindly do not eat such foods which you are no used to at home. Take hot tea and biscuits during these days.

 Haj Committee has decided to provide packed food during these days, I recommend to take this food immediately after it served. Do not store it.


S.No Medicine Name No.of Tablets

Tablet Paractemol

 Market Name

 Tablet Malidens 500mg or

 Tablet Macfast 500mg

30 Tablets

 Tablet Levofloxin 500mg

Market Name

 Tablet L-Cin 500mg, or

 Tablet Levoflox 500mg

30 Tablets
 3  Tablet Stemetal MD (10-15 Tablets)

 Stomach pain medicine

 Tablet Veloz 20mg – once during day

(3 Tablets)

 Tablet Drotin DS or Tab DVN 80mg

 For abdominal colics / spasm

(10 Tablets)
6  Tablet Ugesic (5 Tablets)
7  Face Masks  100 Nos



 As everybody knows, that these days Saudi Arabia is reeling under threat of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), there is compelling need for Haji Sahiban to know what MERS is?

 MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) is a viral disease caused by Coronavirus, i.e. why it is also abbreviated as MERS-COV. The first case report of MERS-COV in Saudi Arabia was detected in 2012. In May 2014, MERS-COV cases have been reported in several other countries including Malaysia, Jordan, Qatar, UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Algeria, Bangladesh, Indonesia, UK and USA. Till July 2014, a total of 700 cases of MERS have seen diagnosed in 20 countries of the world with 250 deaths attributed to this illness.

Modes of Spread

(i)  Since the origin of the virus is unknown, it is believed that this virus possibly gets transmitted from camels (who have been seen herboring this virus in their upper respiratory tracts). Therefore camels are potential sources of this infection. So close contact with camels, drinking unboiled camel milk, under cooked camel meat, contact with camel excreta should be strictly avoided. Saudi government has advised people to avoid contact with camels and wear breathing masks while around them.

(ii) Patients infected with MERS are also source of infection. The transmission of virus can occur from contact with MERS COV infected patients either at house hold level or inside hospitals.

 Risks of Infection

             There is high risk of infection among those people who are in close contact with the patients. Congested places with people overcrowding are predisposing factors for spread of the infection.


The following are the symptoms of MERS.

  1. Asymptomatic i.e. there will be no symptoms.
  2. Fever, cough and shortness of the breath are most frequent.
  3. Some patients may have associated abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting.
  4. Rarely patients can get kidney involvement and generalized bleeding spots of skin




            Treatment of symptomatic MERS should be carried in hospital setting. For this purpose, any patient suspected of such illness should be immediately referred from India Mission Hospital to specialized hospitals which have already been identified by Saudi authorities for such purposes.


            This is the most important:     A recent travel advisory from World Health Organization (WHO) on MERS-COV is as follows:

(a)  Visitors to Saudi Arabia with pre-existing major medical condition (e.g. chronic diseases like diabetes, lung diseases, kidney diseases) are at increased risk of MERS, therefore they  should consult their doctor before travel.

(b)  Hands should be washed with soap and water before eating.

(c)   Under cooked meat or food or food prepared under unsanitary conditions should be avoided.

(d)   Fruits and vegetables should be properly washed before eating.

(e)   Avoid contact with domestic and farm animals.

(f)    Mouth and nose should be covered with tissue while coughing or sneezing.   

The guidelines issued by the Ministry of External Affairs through Haj Committee of India for this purpose include:

  1. Use tissue paper / handkerchief while coughing or sneezing. These should be disposed in properly covered dustbins.
  2. Avoid contact with eyes, nose and mouth by hands as much as possible.
  3. Avoid direct contact with people suffering from fever with respiratory symptoms such as cold and cough and avoid sharing their personal effects.
  4. Wear face masks at congested places.
  5. Maintain personal cleanliness.



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