International SOS, provides health tips for employees observing the holy month during the COVID-19 pandemic. The world’s leading health and security services company advises organizations to continue to prioritize the safety and well being of their employees and share the advice.
Dr Olivier Barles, Regional Medical Director at International SOS said “Guidelines on physical distancing, mask wearing, and hand hygiene still apply this year. Even though vaccinations against COVID-19 have started in many places, the pandemic is still not over yet. Therefore, when it is safe for healthy people to fast during Ramadhan, those guidelines are important to follow to help prevent infection and Believers can still live their Ramadan to its fullest, while being cautious in regard to the COVID-19 risk.
While there have been concerns raised over whether receiving the COVID-19 vaccine would break the fast, the majority of Islamic scholarly bodies have confirmed that 'Receiving the COVID-19 vaccination as an intramuscular injection, the only route for the vaccines currently available, does not invalidate the fast.' and some regions are planning to facilitate night-time jabs during Ramadhan.
International SOS’ top five tips for employees observing the fast this Ramadhan are:
- Do not skimp on rest and/or sleep – Ramadhan is a time of increased prayer. Though it may be tempting to stay up late for Suhour and only sleep after Imsak, you should still aim to get at least 8 hours of sleep during every 24-hour period, even if this is accumulated over several separate periods of rest. A well-rested body and mind will make it easier for you to concentrate at work and have more energy throughout the day.
- Stagger your hydration – Thirst can be one of the most challenging symptoms of fasting, leading us to chug plenty of water and liquids as soon as we break our fast and then just before Imsak. However, re-hydration should be a cumulative process. The best way to re-hydrate fasting bodies and maintain this hydration for longer is to pace your liquid intake by consuming at least 2 litres of water - one or two glasses at a time - between Iftar and Imsak. It also helps to cut down on caffeinated drinks at night, and to top up your liquid intake with soups, fruits and vegetables rich in water, such as cucumbers and watermelon.
- Eat healthy and nutritious meals – Fasting will cause a change of habit in eating and your food intake frequency. It is vital to fulfill your vitamin and mineral needs to maintain a strong immune system. Be mindful of your salt and sugar intake. After a full day of fasting, avoid satisfying cravings with soda and energy drinks which are high in sugar. Instead, opt for the unprocessed food such as fruits, and consume complex carbohydrates such as rice, bread and wholegrain alongside vegetables, which will keep you fuller for longer. As for salt intake, it is worth keeping in mind that having moderately savory foods with water can help you retain some hydration for longer. However, consuming too much salt will have an adverse effect and contribute to thirst and dehydration during the day. Too much salt can affect blood pressure, so go easy on salty snacks such as popcorn and salted nuts at night.
- Do more in the morning – Where possible, schedule more difficult tasks requiring greater concentration or physical effort in the morning, when you will have more energy. International SOS encourages businesses each year to schedule important meetings during the first half of the day, when fasting employees will have more energy and will be better able to retain new information.
- Don’t stop exercising – Although you may feel more tired and understandably less active while fasting, skipping regular exercise for a full month is unhealthy, particularly as most of your food intake will be consumed at night. Moderate exercise is advisable and will also help you feel less sluggish. Just remember to wait a couple of hours after Iftar before doing an activity.
International SOS also reminds us to be mindful of the following guidelines to have a safe Ramadhan amidst Coronavirus outbreak:
- Follow the general hygiene measures strictly.
- Wash your hands frequently, regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
- Wash all the fruits and vegetables before consumption.
- Maintain social distancing at least 2 meters (6 feet) and avoid gatherings with friends and relatives during Breaking Fast (Iftar), Sahoor times and stay at home.
- Stay informed and follow the advice given by your healthcare provider and health authorities.
For more country specific advice, please visit www.internationalsos.com
Founded in 1985, the International SOS Group, headquartered in London & Singapore, is trusted by 12,000 organizations, including the majority of the Fortune 500, as well as mid-size enterprises, governments, educational institutions and NGOs. 12,000 multicultural medical, security and logistics experts stand with you to provide support & assistance from over 1,000 locations in 90 countries, 24/7, 365 days.