With the Yom Kippur fast beginning at 4:56 p.m. in Jerusalem – slightly later in
the rest of the country – on Tuesday evening, heavy drinkers of coffee, cola,
cocoa or non-herbal tea are advised to reduce their intake now to minimize
headaches from caffeine withdrawal.
In addition those who plan to fast
should begin now to drink more water than usual towards reducing the risk of
dehydration and fainting.
Magen David Adom advises drinking eight to 10
glasses of water on the day before the fast.
People who have an acute or
chronic medical problem, take medication or have undergone surgery recently, as
well as pregnant women should consult with their personal physicians (and
rabbis, if they are observant) before Yom Kippur to learn whether they can
Those who take drugs for chronic conditions are usually told not to
fast without consulting their doctors. Diabetics dependent on insulin should not
stop the injections and fast, doctors say, but they can consider drinking and
Cancer patients who are undergoing therapy should not fast
without approval from their physicians, as they require liquids to alleviate the
side effects of chemotherapy.
MDA is already on high alert for the
holiest day of the Jewish year on which the first-aid organization usually
treats an average of 2,000 people who feel unwell, women in labor or children
who suffer fractures while riding on wheeled vehicles in the near-empty
MDA station staff will be boosted with extra paramedics, medics,
ambulance drivers and mobile intensive care unit personnel during the holiday.
They will also be equipped with defibrillators for shocking hearts of people
with cardiac arrest back to life.
The first aid emergency service also
urges parents to supervise children riding on bicycles, roller blades, skates
and skateboards so they do not risk being hit by a vehicle or
About 200 children are injured by passing vehicles each year
nevertheless. This is five times the usual accident rate for a 24-hour
Children should be supervised and wear helmets, as well as knee
and elbow protectors. If they go out at night, they should wear light-colored
clothing and have reflective tapes on their bikes.
Parents should dial
101 if a medical emergency occurs.
Blood donations are currently
requested, as blood supplies always decline during the holidays when people are
out of their routines.
Clinical dietitians at Schneider Children’s
Medical Center in Petah Tikva advise eating a number of small meals on Tuesday
instead of one large pre-fast meal. These should be well balanced, including
protein (such as eggs, fish, chicken and tuna), sources of sugar (such as breads
and pasta) and vegetables.
The last meal before the fast should include
“slow-release” complex carbohydrates, such as whole wheat bread, brown rice,
pasta, potatoes, couscous, corn, whole-grain rice, sweet potato, cracked wheat
MDA urges taking special care when eating fish during the
pre-fast meal. Bones can easily get stuck in the trachea, and this can be
particularly dangerous to younger children who do not have a well-developed
If during the fast your blood pressure or blood
sugar falls significantly and you feel very weak and dizzy, you may need to
drink and/or eat a small amount and then rest until you feel better. If you
continue to feel very weak or generally ill, seek immediate medical
Experts agree that the optimal way to end the fast is to drink
a couple of glasses of water or a sugared drink. The first meal of solid food
should be a light one.
If you are still hungry, wait an hour or two after
the light meal. Eating too quickly or too much after a fast can cause abdominal
pain and sometimes even vomiting.
The 25-hour fast ends at 6:06 p.m. (in
Jerusalem) on Wednesday.