Stay safe and healthy during Ramadan

MUSLIM Rotherham residents are being urged to stay safe and healthy during Ramadan.

The holy month began last Saturday and will see hundreds of Rotherham folk fasting from dawn until dusk in accordance with tradition.

Rotherham Borough Council’s Public Health team is urging those taking part to take extra care whilst fasting during hot weather, either at home or if travelling away.

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Dr John Radford, the counci’s director of public ealth, said staying healthy and hydrated was particularly important during hot weather, adding: “If you are travelling away to countries such as Pakistan, India or Saudi Arabia during Ramadan, make sure you have the correct vaccinations.

“You can also check with your pharmacist, GP or practice nurse about extra provisions you may need to take such as water purification tablets, malaria tablets or diarrhoea relief.

"The biggest problem during this Ramadan, however, is dehydration as the fasts last from dawn to sunset which, at this time of year, means nearly 19 hours.”

People are being urged to drink plenty of water, avoid excessive amounts caffeine and look out for signs of possible dehydration, including producing little urine, feeling faint and having a persistent headache.

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Dr Radford added: “If this happens you must stop fasting and sip plenty of water.

“Do not take aspirin or paracetamol as this may aggravate symptoms of dehydration.

Islam does not require you to harm yourself to fulfil the fast.

“If you need to break a fast due to health reasons, this can be compensated for by fasting once you are well again.”

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Diabetics controlled by diet alone can successfully fast, as long as they do not over-indulge at breakfast, but those taking insulin need to take medical advice.

Dr Radford also pointed out that staying cool and hydrated is good advice for anyone, whether or not they are fasting, during a heatwave.