Prepare for a healthy Hajj or Umrah trip
Hajj is the largest annual gathering in the world. Almost three million Muslims attend this spiritual pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Umrah, a similar pilgrimage, can also be very crowded with pilgrims arriving in Mecca from all corners of the world throughout the year.
A large number of people attend these spiritual gatherings which can increase your risk of getting sick and/or being injured.
While the risk for most travellers is very low, you can take these steps to ensure that you stay healthy during Hajj or Umrah:
- Consult a health care provider or travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel.
- Locate medical facilities. Your risk of accidental injury increases in large crowds.
- Wash your hands frequently. Bring alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you if soap and water are not available.
- Practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette. Cough or sneeze into your sleeve, not your hand. If you use a tissue, throw it out right away and then wash your hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with your hands.
- Eat and drink safely:
- Avoid eating undercooked meat and unpasteurized dairy products such as raw camel milk.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of cool liquids (especially water) before you feel thirsty.
- See a health care provider if you become sick while travelling.
When you return to Canada:
See a health care provider if you develop symptoms such as a fever, cough and/or shortness of breath within 14 days after your return and tell them where you have travelled.
Tell a border services officer if you develop symptoms as described above upon arrival into Canada.
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