During the performance of Hajj, some pilgrims may be exposed to health risks expected due to the human and climatic conditions of Hajj, large crowds and millions of people attending, and weather changes. Increase in temperature, sand storms and abundance of dust affects pilgrim health. In general, especially in skin and eyes, it increases the chance of spreading skin diseases and eye diseases and increases the health problems they have from before.
Dermatology in Hajj
In previous articles we talked about preventing most of the health problems that may occur during Hajj and here we talk about skin and eye health and safety during Hajj, especially for those who suffer from pre-existing health problems.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the hottest part of the world most days and the incidence of skin infections increases, especially during Hajj due to large crowds (which are a feature of Hajj) which cannot be controlled. , high temperature and high humidity, and increased sweating as a result of exposure to the scorching sun. This causes infections, especially skin diseases, the following are the most common (according to the Saudi Ministry of Health):
1. Hyperhidrosis, sweating increases dramatically during Hajj due to high air temperature and high humidity, which leads to urinary output and feeling of thirst during most hours of the day and night.
For prevention, we advise people who sweat profusely in both summer and winter to avoid strenuous work, especially during the hottest hours of the day. Some antiperspirants can be taken under the supervision of a specialist. Hygiene is the best defense against hyperhidrosis.
2. Desquamation, which is a sore on the folds and curves of the body, occurs in sensitive areas such as armpits, breasts (especially women), upper thighs and men who are overweight or obese. In these cases, the skin becomes inflamed and red, and if the disease worsens, severe symptoms such as exudation with pain and itching appear.
And for prevention: maintain personal hygiene, avoid direct sunlight as much as possible, sit in a well-ventilated area. A pilgrim may wear Hajj pants permitted by the Mufti of Saudi Arabia, which cover the lower abdomen up to the thighs, and may be worn under Ihram garments to prevent friction between the thighs and the genitals and their surrounding areas.
3. Fungal diseases: This is a group of infectious skin diseases capable of causing various diseases, which is prevalent in hot climate regions. The most common of them are:
• Ringworm (Tinea cruris), an infectious disease caused by certain parasitic infections. The patient suffers from severe itching between his thighs. The disease is spread by wearing the clothes or towels of an infected person. Also, the disease spreads among the pilgrims due to the high crowds during the Hajj in hot weather.
For prevention, we recommend avoiding using other people’s clothes and towels, washing their clothes in boiling water, then ironing them to destroy all the parasites in them, avoiding scratching the affected area with a shower sponge, and consulting a doctor to take the necessary measures.
• Tinea versicolor, this disease affects pilgrims due to hot weather and profuse sweating. It takes the form of a circular rash, which turns pale after bathing, then darkens and turns brown after a few days. It spreads like corn borers.
For prevention, we recommend taking a warm bath every evening for up to two months, and applying an antifungal ointment prescribed by a doctor to the affected areas.
ringworm or ringworm; The cause is a specific type of parasite. It appears as a cluster of small blisters around the mouth and genitals. It is usually accompanied by enlargement and swelling of the lymph glands, and in most cases it is accompanied by itching. It is an infectious disease that is spread by touching and using the patient’s personal items. Overcrowding during Hajj causes widespread diseases. There is another form of this disease which affects the nerves and appears as blisters spreading on one side of the body, especially on the face and trunk.
For prevention, we advise you to pay attention to personal hygiene, avoid using other people’s personal items, and consult doctors for appropriate treatment.
Scabies is one of the most common infectious skin infections that pilgrims suffer from. It occurs due to some parasitic infection. Symptoms of this disease are severe itching at night. Scabies superficial lesions usually occur on the hands, feet, wrists, elbows, back, buttocks, and external genitalia. As the female parasite moves through the body, there may be some red rashes on the abdomen. The disease is truly contagious and spreads to an entire group at once.
The treatment for this disease is washing the body with warm water and soup and scratching. Then rub the whole body, except the face and head, with besanil cream, sulfur ointment, or whatever the doctor prescribes. The treatment is repeated for two consecutive nights.
• Eczema is a type of skin inflammation with severe itching. Acute ulcers usually consist of many small, fluid-filled structures called vesicles that appear on red, swollen skin. When these structures rupture, fluid escapes, causing pain, crying, and bleeding. As the liquid dries, a thin crust forms. In older lesions, these vesicles may be difficult to appreciate, but examination of the tissue under a microscope will reveal their presence. There are different types of eczema like atopic eczema, contact dermatitis, tri eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, dyshidrosis, discoid eczema, venous eczema…
For prevention, you should take care of hygiene to avoid unnecessary complications, protect the skin from irritating materials like wool, synthetic fibers, fur and soup, and use moisturizing oils to keep the skin soft. Food allergies are very important, and all foods and products given to the patient should be carefully monitored, knowing which of them cause eczema and avoiding them, in addition, consult a specialist.
Urticaria, itching and swelling of the skin, can last from a few hours or a few days to two weeks. It is usually caused by an allergy to certain foods (chocolate, eggs, fish), drugs (penicillin), or industrial substances added to give a slight color or flavor to food, or certain toothpastes. Sometimes the cause may be intestinal worms, hot weather, high stress or allergies to sunlight.
For prevention, we recommend that the patient find out the cause, stay away from sunlight, etc., and then consult a doctor if necessary.
And some pilgrims, especially women, after returning from Hajj notice that their faces have changed dramatically and their complexion has darkened in some places, so there are effects of heat on the facial skin. Also, exposure to the sun’s rays can reach the point of causing irritation and significant wrinkles. However, these changes are normal and it will take some time for the skin to return to its normal state. You don’t have to worry about that.
Protection of eyes during Hajj
Medical Director of Barrakar Eye Hospital, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Dr. Mohsen Seman spoke to “Your Health” and explained the most common eye problems encountered during the upcoming days of Hajj and the most important ways to prevent it. They, and some first aid in case of infection, the most important of which are:
• Allergic conjunctivitis: This often occurs during Hajj due to exposure of the eyes to dust and sunlight. Allergic conjunctivitis is associated with symptoms such as excessive tearing, redness and severe itching of the eyes.
Prevention: Wash face and eyes with cool water and avoid direct sunlight exposure by wearing sunglasses. If the mentioned symptoms occur, you should review the nearest health center to get special drops; Such as moisturizing drops and anti-allergy eye drops as directed by the doctor.
• Bacterial conjunctivitis: It occurs as a result of heavy dust or use of common tools. It is characterized by symptoms such as redness of the eyelids, discharge of pus and sticking of the eyelids upon waking up in the morning.
• Glaucoma: Patients suffering from glaucoma are advised to follow health guidelines and take medication regularly as prescribed by the attending physician. Glaucoma patients should follow the previously prescribed treatment regimen to maintain the health of their eyes during the pilgrimage.
• Diabetic patients: Diabetic patients should undergo retinal examination before proceeding to perform the rituals of Hajj. As advised by nutritionists, it also emphasizes the need to take medicines on time and follow proper diets for diabetics.
• Dry eye: This is caused by lack of water in the eye due to lacrimal gland deficiency and sometimes due to exposure to direct sunlight. It is one of the most common diseases during Hajj season as a result of high temperature. One of the most important symptoms that the patient complains of is a feeling of heat with redness of the eye and a decrease in the amount of tears that moisten the eyes. In terms of treatment for dry eyes, the first step is to avoid wearing contact lenses and sunglasses, and then use eye moisturizers such as artificial tears in the form of drops.
Dr. Mohsen Seman said that as a result of the unusual conditions during the Hajj season, in addition to the above-mentioned problems, both eyes may face other problems of varying degrees.
• Sunburn in the eyes: Due to the possibility that devotees are exposed to direct sunlight for long periods of time, sunburn can occur in the eyes, causing redness, swelling and pain.
• Eye strain: Pilgrims may experience eye strain as a result of prolonged reading of sacred religious texts or focusing on them, causing eyestrain, dryness and difficulty concentrating.
• Bacterial and Viral Infections: Due to large gathering of devotees at holy places, infection can easily spread from one person to another and this infection can affect the eyes and cause bacterial or viral infections.
• Minor injuries and scratches: Friction with dust, silt or soil in the area can cause minor injuries to the eye, causing scratches and minor injuries.
To avoid these problems and protect eye health during Hajj, pilgrims should take necessary precautions:
– Clean eyes and face frequently using clean water.
Avoid direct exposure to sunlight and wear appropriate sunglasses.
– Avoid excessive friction of the eyes, do not scratch or rub them.
Use moisturizing eye drops to keep the eyes moist.
• Consultant Community Medicine.