The NHS in Gloucestershire is wishing everyone observing Ramadan a happy and healthy holy fasting month and offering some guidance for keeping well.

Ramadan is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting, prayer, reflection and community. It started on Sunday March 10 and will last for 29 or 30 days culminating with Eid Al-Fitr.

Eid Al-Fitr is also known as the 1st of Shawwal (the month after Ramadan).

Fasting is an important part of Ramadan and means abstaining from food and drink, including water, between the break of dawn and sunset.

Some people are exempt from fasting due to medical conditions or if their health might be put at risk by fasting, such as pregnant and menstruating women.

Atique Miah, Hospital Chaplain and Imam at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said:

“I’d like to remind employers where possible to make any adjustments for colleagues who are fasting to ensure their health and wellbeing, as well as their right to freedom of religion is taken into consideration”.

Marie Crofts, Director of Nursing at NHS Gloucestershire said:

“Staying hydrated and maintaining a balanced and nutritious diet during non-fasting hours is key to having a healthy Ramadan.

“Anyone who has concerns about their health should speak to a healthcare professional about how to fast safely.

“If you feel unwell while fasting you can seek advice from NHS 111 or speak to your pharmacist in the first instance.”

  • If you take prescription medication, you should continue to take it during Ramadan. Your pharmacist will be able to advise about any adjustments to the dose or times the medication is taken.
  • If you have any health-related appointments during Ramadan you should attend but if you are unable to do so, please get in touch with the relevant team as soon as you can.
  • If you have diabetes, speak to a healthcare professional who can give you advice about how to manage your condition when you are fasting and whether the risks to your health are too high.

Diabetes UK and the British Heart Foundation (BHF) have plenty of useful information on fasting including testing blood sugars and making healthier food and drink choices during Ramadan.

Most Muslim scholars agree that having a vaccine during fasting hours will not invalidate your Ramadan fast. You can also ask for the vaccine that doesn’t contain porcine gelatine.

However, you might know that smoking and vaping will invalidate the fast. You can talk to your Imam and get help to quit smoking with Better Health advice from the NHS (