Yet another sabarimala festive season is on the horizon. Though all the news channels are focusing mainly on whether women under the age of 50 should be allowed to enter the temple or not, this article is not at all going into that. Here, I’ll be summarizing a few health tips that can make your temple visit a healthier one this time around. These steps are based on my own personal experience as a pilgrim and as a medical professional who has been on duty at sabarimala during one of the festive seasons.
#1 If you are a diabetic or patient with high blood pressure, do not forget to carry the regular medicines with you on your journey to the temple. This is very important as i have seen many patients who either forget to take the medicines or deliberately leave it at home. This can lead to several complications including an episode of high blood pressure, heart attack or even stroke.
#2 If you are a patient who has suffered from heart attack in the past, carry the Sorbitrate tablet prescribed by your doctor with you. Use the tablet by placing it under your tongue when you feel sudden and severe chest pain. Do not continue the uphill journey without consulting one of the medical centers on the way. The doctor at the medical center will examine you and may even ask you to not continue the journey after taking a ECG. It will be better if your past medical records are available for the doctor’s convenience.
Also read “Are you at risk of heart disease?”
#3 Don’t drink water from hotels and restaurants unless you are 100% sure that it is boiled water. Water borne diarrhoea are very common during the pilgrimage season. And it is best advised to prevent it rather than treat it. The drinking water supplied on the sabarimala uphill road is safe and boiled water. Be careful when you drink juices and other beverages from the petty shops. Keep this in mind when choosing the restaurants for your meals too.
#4 Don’t hesitate to make use of the medical service provided by the Govt of Kerala. There are 5 such centers namely at Nilakkal, Pamba, Appachimeedu, Neelimala and Sannidhanam. Most of these centres have a well equipped pharmacy were essential medicines are easily available. The medical center at pamba even has the services of specialty doctors and ambulance services. All the consultations including medicines are provided free of cost to pilgrims at these medical centers.
#5 Make use of the Queue Coupon facility which can be booked online at www.sabarimalaq.com. This is a useful website developed and maintained by the Kerala Police Dept. This may not be a health tip but, problems that can arise when the number of pilgrims increases can be easily prevented by planning 2 or 3 days before the journey. You can avoid standing in long queues by staying away from the unthinkable rush of pilgrims and be less anxious throughout your journey by using this facility.
#6 As you all know, Sabarimala is a forest area and when we talk about forest, mosquitoes come into the picture automatically. There are many mosquito borne diseases like Dengue Fever, Filariasis, Malaria and Chikungunya and these can be easily prevented by taking some simple precautions. I have already written articles on this topic and you can find once such article on the Steps to prevent mosquito bites here. Remember to carry topical mosquito repellents and use long sleeve shirts when visiting on your journey.
I know that this list is not complete if any doctors or other medical professionals have something more to contribute to this list, please feel free to use the comments section below. Have a happy and peaceful sabarimala visit!