During the holy month of Ramadan, adult Muslims engage in mandatory fasting from dawn to sunset as a means of strengthening their relationship with God. However, Islam provides exemptions from fasting due to health reasons or travel. If an adult Muslim is temporarily sick or traveling they can make up the missed fasting days at a later time.
Adult Muslim women are not required to fast while menstruating and patients with chronic diseases – such as certain types of diabetes or liver, kidney, and heart diseases – are also exempt from fasting according to Islamic law.
Despite this, there have been long-standing misconceptions about the impact of certain medications on fasting.
To address these issues, the Ministry of Health collaborated with Dar Al-Ifta, the main authority responsible for issuing religious edicts in Egypt, to release a guide on which medications do not break ones fast.
According to these guidelines:
- The coronavirus vaccine does not break the fast as it is injected into the upper arm muscle or thigh, not the stomach.
- Using eye drops is permissible during fasting even if the patient can taste the drops in their throat.
- Using creams, ointments and alcohol-based disinfectants does not break the fast as they are all superficial.
- Unintentional vomiting does not break fast.
- Dialysis does not break the fast as it does not reach the stomach. However, doctors recommend that dialysis patients who want to fast should follow a special diet containing protein during Ramadan. Some kidney patients are not allowed to fast for medical reasons.
- Intravenous fluids (IV fluids), ear drops, blood and plasma donation do not break the fast.
- Brushing of one's teeth is allowed while fasting.
- Nasal drops break fast because they reach the stomach.