MOH News
Medical Tips for Pilgrims about Digestive System
29 September 2014
Consultant Digestive System and Liver Diseases, Dr. Nasser bin Faleh Al-Dosary, has advised the pilgrims in general, and liver and rectum patients, as well as the others suffering from problems in the digestive system in particular, to see their doctors before going to Hajj well in advance, in order to get the necessary health tips, and know the extent of their ability to withstand the efforts to be made when performing the Hajj rites. He also emphasized the importance of taking the necessary stomach and colon medications prescribed by the specialist indigestive system.
Dr. Nasser Al-Dosary pointed out that there are special vaccinations for the digestive patients who should be keen to take them to alleviate the problems of the digestive and colon diseases, including anti-hepatitis A vaccine, especially the young persons who have never been infected with the virus, and those having chronic diseases or immunodeficiency. They will have also to take anti-hepatitis B vaccine, which they may need to take sufficient time (up to six months) before setting out for Hajj, in order for it to be effective. The vaccination is taken in three doses. He added that there are special vaccines for the lung for those having chronic diseases, including the liver patients and those taking immunosuppressive drugs or suffering immunodeficiency diseases, confirming, though, that there are no vaccines for colon diseases.
Dr. Al-Dosary warned some of the patients against performing the Hajj, recommended delegating somebody else to perform it on their behalf, because some of them are not able to perform the rites properly; they are the patients with cirrhosis of the liver in advanced stages, especially those having ascites and repeated hepatic coma, as well as patients with ulcerative colitis, moderate and severe, where the patient suffers recurrence of diarrhea accompanied by blood and mostly with anemia. Such a patient is in need of rest, and taking medications and fluids frequently, and he may not be able to perform the Hajj in the required manner. 
This came during the interview held with Dr. Nasser Al-Dosary at the MOH's National Center for Media and Health Awareness, in the context of the awareness program dubbed "Pilgrims' Health is our Concern", via the toll-free number: 8002494444, and the MOH's Twitter account: @saudimoh.
He also underscored the importance for the pilgrims to avoid the food poisoning by means of paying more attention to washing hands with soap before eating and after using the toilet, and avoiding the uncovered food and street vendors, aside from washing vegetables and fruits, cooking food thoroughly, refraining from eating food open for flies and improperly refrigerated food, in addition to making sure to heat the refrigerated food thoroughly before eating, as well as taking a lot of liquids and fresh juices, taking an amble time of rest in the intervals between the rites, avoiding the crowdedness as much as possible, and avoiding exposure to the direct sunlight.
The Consultant in Digestive System and Liver Diseases also warned the pilgrims against razor blades, which should be used only once rather than several times, and avoiding unlicensed street barbers since the contaminated blades can transmit many diseases such as hepatitis B and C, AIDS and others. He also recommended using face masks in crowded places, avoiding spitting on the floor, and using napkins and puttin them in the trash, in order to prevent transmission of infection among the pilgrims, meanwhile wishing all pilgrims safety, health and acceptance of their deeds.
He furthermore advised the pilgrim with chronic diseases to put on a wrist-bracelet containing his name, disease, blood type, and name and phone number of a close relative to refer to him in emergency. He added that “in case he uses diuretics, whether he suffers from heart or liver diseases, he should seek the doctor's advice and opinion before going to Hajj. As for the pilgrim suffering repeated diarrhea, he should take an adequate amount of liquids with a pinch of salt, take complete rest, and if the diarrhea is severe or bloody, then it is necessary to visit the nearest hospital.”  
He advised pilgrims to include in their luggage the following medications: Ciprofloxacin, 500mg, for persons above 18 years of age, as a preventive medicine of many types of bacteria (it is advised to take a pill upon departing the Kingdom for your country), and Filamazzin ointment for burns and thighs inflammation as a result of frequent moving and friction, in addition to Panadol tablets (making sure of the expiry date for every medicine and before using it). Meanwhile, he advised them to use a medical mask, particularly those with immunodeficiency, as a result of using special medication by organ-transplanted patients, or those with other diseases, as well as bringing disposable razor blades, in addition to some gauzes, bandages, disinfectants and soap

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