MOH News

Dr. Al-Sherbieny: “Pilgrims Should Abide by Health Tips”
15 September 2015
The consultant in infectious diseases and fever, Dr. Nesreen Al-Sherbieny, advised all pilgrims from inside and outside the Kingdom to abide by the health tips provided for them by the concerned authorities. Besides, she urged the elderly people and those suffering from chronic diseases to postpone performing the Hajj this year; in order to avoid infection with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), till it is eliminated or controlled.
“MERS-CoV is transmitted from the infected person to the other family members who are in contact with him/her, through droplets from coughing and sneezing,” said Dr. Al-Sherbieny. Hence, she advised all pilgrims to stay away from the infected or suspected cases, put on protective masks, covering the nose and the mouth in crowded places, and to practice good cough and sneeze etiquette.
Within the same vein, Dr. Al-Sherbieny pointed out that such MERS-CoV symptoms as coughing and high temperature (38ﹾ C or more), are similar to those of many diseases, such as pneumonias, including acute flu. She added that the only way to differentiate between such symptoms is to undergo some laboratory and radiological tests. And whoever suffers from those symptoms should visit the nearest healthcare center for a checkup, where diagnostic and therapeutic procedures should start immediately.
Dr. Nesreen Al-Sherbieny provided these health tips while being interviewed by the Media and Health Information Center, as part of the service dubbed: (Pilgrims' Health Is Our Top Concern). The Ministry has launched this service to provide pilgrims and their families with information on all precautions to be taken before performing this pillar of Islam (Hajj), via the toll-free number: 8002494444; and through the MOH's account on Twitter: @saudimoh.
Dr. Al-Sherbieny pointed out that one of the effective vaccines to be taken by any person willing to perform Hajj is the quadrivalent meningitis vaccine, which is given every three to five years, if available. In addition, she underscored the importance of taking the seasonal influenza vaccination at least two weeks before leaving for the Holy Sites, highlighting that this vaccination ensures a high level of protection for pilgrims against influenza, Allah willing.
Moreover, Dr. Al-Sherbieny went on adding that the most common diseases, that are likely to spread through infection in overcrowded places, as is the case in the Holy Sites during the Hajj season, are the respiratory diseases, most notably: the temporary viral infections (runny nose, coughing and congestion) which do not often require any antibiotics, unless they are caused by bacterial infection, the matter which is determined only by the treating physician. Therefore, the infected person is advised to take some rest, drink fluids as much as possible, and take antipyretic and anti-congestion medicines. In the severe cases, the respiratory infection may be caused by bacteria, which require taking antibiotics under medical supervision.
Finally, Dr. Al-Sherbieny highlighted that streptococcus pneumoniae is considered as a major cause of pulmonary infections, which may result in other complications. Therefore, she advised all pilgrims, especially the elderly people and those suffering from chronic diseases, including asthma, cardiovascular diseases, renal failure and other chronic diseases, to take the pneumococcal vaccine two weeks before leaving for Hajj, and to take it every five years, if necessary.

Last Update : 16 September 2015 12:36 PM
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