Tag Archives: Health

Common Health Issues During Hajj

RESPIRATORY TRACT INFECTION
People from all over the world bring with them all kinds of infections, and the unavoidable closeness of the hundreds of thousands of Hujjaj facilitates easy spread of those illnesses. Fatigue, and lack of sleep from the physically demanding regimen of Hajj rites as well as the over-enthusiastic exertions in salah and devotions, lower one’s immunity and resistance, thereby making one more vulnerable to disease. Acute respiratory infection is very common. Epidemics of flu-like illnesses are also very common.

The key point here is that nearly all-upper respiratory tract ijifections (URI) are viral. They will resolve spontaneously, and require no antibiotic treatment. Patients should seek care only if they experience symptoms consistent with complications of URI such as prolonged illness with purulent nasal secretion, fever, and facial pain; isolated sore throat with fever; shortening of breath; productive cough with fever or shortening of breath, or the subjective feeling of a severe illness. Try symptomatic measures to minimize the symptoms of sore throat or flu, as follows:

Drink lots of clear fluids (water, juice, Sprite).

Take acetaminophen or paracetamol to reduce pain and fever. For a cough try an over-the-counter cough suppressant. For sore throat: gargle with salt water; suck on ice cubes or lozenges; drink hot water with lemon and honey. Wash your hands often. Flu is spread through the air by coughing or sneezing. It may also spread by hand contact.

HEAT ILLNESSES
Not all types of heat illnesses are mentioned here to avoid confusion or unnecessary details. It should be made clear, however, that heat can present major challenges to persons making Hajj, and that they should take such illnesses seriously.

HEAT EXHAUSTION
Commonly caused by dehydration and loss of body salts. It is manifested by weakness, headache, dizziness, nausea, vomitting, and diarrhea. An increased body temperature and pulse rate may be present. The treatment of heat exhaustion is by resting, getting out of the heat/sun, sponging the body with water and fanning it, and aggressively replacing fluids and salts. If not taken seriously, this can progress to heat stroke. Patients diagnosed as suffering from heat exhaustion should be admitted to hospital where they are covered with large sheets of wet gauze and fans used to aid cooling. IV-fluid should be administered and a fluid balance chart kept monitoring urine output. Nearly all patients recover and are discharged within 24 hours. Patients must be transferred immediately to the nearest health care center.

HEATSTROKE
In this condition the body loses its ability to regulate temperature and the body temperature soars, often to above 106 degrees. Sweating may or may not be present. The hallmarks of heat stroke are physical collapse and mental deterioration ranging from confusion to coma. This is a medical emergency and must be treated aggressively with rapid cooling and IV-fluids if available. If not, death or permanent damage to the kidneys, heart, or liver may result. Emergency treatment can consist of cooling in whatever water is available or removing clothing and wetting/fanning the body. If able to drink, give the victim water, or oral rehydration formula.

All patients diagnosed as suffering from heat stroke should be cooled on the specially designed Makkah Body Cooling Unit (BCU). This achieves rapid reduction of the body temperature by evaporation from the warm skin; the skin temperature is kept at 30-32 C (84-90 F) to enhance vasodilatation and increase the heat flow.

PREVENTING HEAT ILLNESS
Even marginal dehydration interferes with the body’s ability to regulate temperature. It also makes a mild diarrheal illness more likely to become serious. In hot climates you should always consume enough water so that you must urinate every two to three hours. If your urine becomes dark yellow it means that you are getting dehydrated or that you are getting jaundiced! Here are some preventive measures that help you reduce the burden of heat:

* Don’t be exposed to direct sunlight but rather use an umbrella or other protective gadget

* Don’t leave your kids is unventilated vehicles

* Drink plenty of water, even if you are not thirsty (preferably Zam-zam water)

* Keep a close watch on children to be sure they do the same

Reduce physical activities by:

* Not walking for long periods. Rather ride any available vehicle

* Trying to avoid crowded places as much as you can and not rush when performing rites

* In case of weakness (e.g. chronically-ill patient) and if you can’t handle the crowd during stoning, it is permissible for you to go to Mina at the end of the night to stone the Jamra before the arrival of the crowd

* Taking enough time for rest and sleep as needed

Source: alinaam.co.za

The Effects of Reading the Qur’an

The Effects of Reading the Holy Qur’an on Muslim Students’ Heart Rate, Blood pressure and Perceived Stress Levels

The present study consisted of two studies which investigated the effects of reading the Holy Qur’an on Muslim psychology students’ blood pressure, heart rate and perceived stress levels. Perceived stress level is the degree to which situations in a person’s life are appraised as stressful.

The study was conducted because little research has examined the effects of reading the Holy Qur’an, and research that has been conducted is of low quality. For example, Vander Hoven (nd) a researcher from Netherlands hasn’t reported the findings from his research clearly. He briefly stated that “Muslims who can read Arabic and who read the Holy Qur’an regularly can protect themselves from psychological diseases”, but he gives no specific details of the evidence leading to this conclusion or the exact nature of the effects.

Also another researcher, Yucel Salih (2007) has reported contradictory findings from his research; therefore it is unclear exactly what was found. For example, the researcher stated that “there are statistical changes in body temperature and respiratory rate, but they are not significant enough to support the positive effects of prayer on physical well-being”. But in the summary the researcher stated that “the current study found statistically significant changes of physiological conditions, and the study supports the hypothesis that prayer does have positive effects on physiology”.

The sample consisted of 30 Muslim Psychology undergraduates from the University of Salford. There were 15 males and females. The sampling method used was convenience sampling. A two factor (2×2) repeated measures design was used.

In the first study participants’ took part in an experiment which was divided into two conditions. In one condition participants’ heart rate, blood pressure and perceived stress levels were measured before and after reading Surah Alam Nashrah and Surah Al Rahman from the Holy Qur’an. In the other condition participants heart rate, blood pressure, and perceived stress levels were measured before and after reading a non-religious material which was written in Arabic. The order of taking part in the two conditions was counter balanced. So half of the participants read took part in the non-religious material condition first and then the Surah condition. And the other half took part in the Surah condition first and then the non-religious material condition.

Data was analysed using two factor Anova and post hoc t-tests. It was found that participants’ heart rate, blood pressure, (systolic and diastolic) and perceived stress levels decreased after reading Surah Alam Nashrah Surah Al Rahman from the Holy Qur’an. In contrast no significant effects were seen from reading the non-religious Arabic material.

In the second study the researcher conducted semi-structured interviews to study participants’ subjective experience of reading the Qur’an. 10 Muslim psychology undergraduates were interviewed. A content analysis conducted on participants’ responses to questions found that the most mentioned benefit of reading the Qur’an was that it educates and guides the reader to living a good life. It reminds the reader of their faith and it relaxes them.

The researcher concluded that recitation of the Holy Qur’an appears to be psychologically and physiologically beneficial. It appears to reduce the readers perceived stress levels, heart rate and blood pressure. This effect cannot be found with the recitation of a non-religious material that is written in the same language as the Holy Qur’an.  

Reference
Abdullah, R., 2009. The Effects of Reading the Holy Qur’an on Muslim Students’ Heart rate, Blood Pressure and Perceived Stress Levels. Dissertation Abstract: University of Salford.