Pilgrimage to Mecca: Hajj and Umrah 2017
Every year, thousands of Muslims from around the globe travel to Mecca for the Hajj and Umrah. These annual pilgrimages to the holy city of Mecca – located in Saudi Arabia – are part of the traditional creed. The Hajj is a mandatory pilgrimage that each Muslim, who is physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey, must carry out at least once in their lifetime. The Umrah is a voluntary pilgrimage. Experiencing the Hajj or Umrah can be highly spiritually rewarding, however, travelling to Mecca is not entirely risk-free. If you visit Mecca during the Hajj, you should consider the risk of possible health problems. During the Hajj 2017, approximately 2.5 million pilgrims will stay in Mecca simultaneously. They come from all parts of the world and (may) carry a variety of bacteria, viruses or infections, which are more easily spread during the Hajj because people are in close contact. In addition, people are more susceptible to diseases when they experience a lack of sleep, fatigue or physical exhaustion. Thus, good preparation is necessary. We gladly tell you which vaccinations you require for your journey to Mecca. Our four Travel Clinics are equipped to provide you with the required vaccinations for the Hajj.
Prepare your trip: vaccinations for Mecca
Are you going on a pilgrimage to Mecca? Then it is, among other things, important to ensure you get the proper vaccinations. Below you can read which vaccinations you require for your journey to Mecca.
Mandatory vaccination against Meningitis
Meningococcal bacteria can cause meningitis and blood poisoning. During the Hajj, there is an increased risk of infection with meningitis, because a very large number of people gather closely together. Therefore, the reign of Saudi Arabia requires that everyone who visits Mecca (Hajj and Umrah) has been vaccinated against meningitis. You must be able to show a valid vaccination certificate.
Recommended vaccinations for Saudi Arabia
Besides the mandatory meningitis vaccination, additional precautions and vaccinations are recommended for your journey to Saudi Arabia. Please refer to our full Saudi Arabia travel advice for more information about the required vaccinations.
General measures for prilgrimage to Mecca
Seemingly innocent things such as food, water and bright sunlight can pose a risk to your health during your travels. It is important to take proper precautions. Firstly, take enough rest; your pilgrimage requires physical effort.
Sun and heat
- Do not walk barefoot; you will burn your feet. Good shoes prevent burns to the feet.
- Wear long, covering clothing and cover your head.
- Avoid direct sunlight, especially between 11:00 and 15:00.
- Make sure that you drink enough. Drink 2 to 3 litres of fluid every day to avoid dehydration.
- Use good sunscreen with a high sun protection factor (50+) even if you stay in the shade.
Food and hygiene
The most important advice is also the simplest: always wash your hands; before you visit the toilet, after each toilet visit before and after you eat. Also:
- Take ORS (Oral Rehydration Solution) with you. This is a water-soluble mixture that helps you avoid dehydration.
- Always drink “bottled water” or boil the water before you drink it.
- Do not eat raw meat or half-raw meat and at as little fish and/or sea food and shellfish as possible.
Finally, protect yourself well against insect bites. Please click here for a full overview of measures you can take to reduce health risks.
If you need to take regular medication, please make sure that you take sufficient stock on your journey. Take ample supply with you in your hand luggage only. You can ask your pharmacist or GP for a list of your medications. If you suffer from heart failure or diabetes, it is wise to ask your physician for additional (travel) advice. Make an appointment.