With the Qatar camping season now at its peak, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is urging the public, particularly those who have chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease, to take precautions and consult their doctor before going camping.
Dr Yousef al-Tayeb, consultant in Emergency Medicine at HMC’s Hamad General Hospital, says individuals who have chronic conditions that require medication should take a sufficient supply of their medicine with them before departing for the desert.
He also recommends a balanced diet and says healthy eating and adherence to medication regimes are important factors for guarding against many of the potential health risks associated with camping.
“Individuals with chronic health conditions, including those with asthma and allergies, could be at an increased risk of health complications when camping. These individuals are advised to avoid exposure to fire smoke and dust as both can trigger allergic reactions and lead to serious health complications. All campers are advised not to burn wood or charcoal inside their tent, or in an enclosed space, due to the high risk of carbon monoxide poisoning,” said Dr al-Tayeb.
He advised that campers with asthma and allergies who have not yet received the flu vaccine should be immunised at least two weeks before going camping, as they are more vulnerable to health complications associated with weather changes.
“Flu vaccines can help reduce the risk of contracting viral infections, which could trigger asthma symptoms. Asthma patients and those with allergies should carry prescribed medications with them and take them as directed. When necessary, individuals with asthma and allergies should use a face mask to protect against dust and fire smoke, and anti-inflammatory medications are recommended to help prevent asthma attacks,” added Dr al-Tayeb.
Those with heart conditions, such as coronary artery disease, are also advised to seek medical advice before going camping. Most individuals with epilepsy can safely camp, provided they take their medication as prescribed. However, those who have recurring seizures or uncontrolled epilepsy, or other conditions that require close medical observation, are recommended to avoid camping.