Health Advice for Pilgrims
When should I visit my doctor before I travel?
You should see your doctor one or two months before you travel. The doctor will be able to help determine your general state of health and offer professional medical advice on precautionary measures or other related information.
What injections do I need before travel and how long do these injections last?
Vaccination against meningococcal meningitis is compulsory (also a visa application requirement). Meningococcal meningitis is an infection of the lining of the brain. Each injection lasts for 3 years. Vaccination against influenza is recommended for middle-aged, elderly travellers or those with pre-existing illness, e.g. diabetes, asthma, hypertension.
Strains for vaccines are determined by WHO (World Health Organization) every year. Those with egg allergy should inform the nurse or doctor as influenza vaccination should not be given to this category of people. Vaccination against cholera and typhoid are available upon request. Each cholera injection lasts for 6 months. Each typhoid injection lasts for 3 years.
What are the problems, e.g. side effects, related with these injections?
As with all injections, you might experience some swelling and redness over the injection site, and an occasional low-grade fever. Serious reactions are rare. If you develop a fever for more than one day, a headache, a rash, enlarging lump or pus over the injection site, please see your doctor.
Where can I get these injections?
These injections are available at:
Travellers’ clinics within Hospitals
9 National Healthcare Group Polyclinics, [wef 1 October 2000], namely:
1. Ang Mo Kio Polyclinic
2. Bukit Batok Polyclinic
3. Choa Chu Kang Polyclinic
4. Clementi Polyclinic
5. Hougang Polyclinic
6. Jurong Polyclinic
7. Toa Payoh Polyclinic
8. Woodlands Polyclinic
9. Yishun Polyclinic
What other health precautions should I take?
a) If you have any pre-existing illness (diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, asthma, kidney related diseases), you should see your regular doctor who will certify if you are fit for travel.
b) To prevent food and water-borne diseases you should take the following precautionary measures:
Drink water that is boiled, canned or bottled
Eat food that is thoroughly cooked and hot
Avoid raw vegetables and fruits that cannot be peeled
c) The temperature in Mecca is hot (30C - 45C) and dry. To prevent dehydration, drink as much fluid as possible. Avoid excessive exposure to the sun. Apply moisturizer and lip balm liberally whenever you can.
What are the precautions I need to take if I am pregnant?
You are advised to consult your doctor.
What are the precautions I need if I am travelling with children below 2 years of age?
Your child below 2 years of age cannot be vaccinated against meningitis.However, the child may be vaccinated against influenza. The same health precautionary measures applies to the child.
When do I need to see doctor after my trip?
If you develop a rash, fever or persistent diarrhoea, you should see your doctor and notify him/her about your recent trip abroad. The doctor will be in a better position to offer professional advice.
Related link: What is Meningococcal Disease?