Hajj 2023: Saudi Arabia’s health ministry issues alert to pilgrims on heat exhaustion

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Saudi Arabia’s health ministry has warned pilgrims about heat exhaustion as they take part in the annual Hajj pilgrimage amid rising temperatures, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) has reported.

The ministry emphasized that using umbrellas, drinking plenty of fluids, avoiding physical exertion, and following health guidelines can help protect pilgrims from a heatstroke or heat stress.

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Heat exhaustion is a heat-related illness that can occur after a person has been exposed to high temperatures and is often accompanied by dehydration.

A pilgrim uses an umbrella during Hajj. (Al Arabiya)
A pilgrim uses an umbrella during Hajj. (Al Arabiya)

The symptoms vary and can include confusion, dizziness, profuse sweating, rapid heartbeat, fainting, fatigue, headaches, muscle or abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and pale skin.

Without intervention, heat exhaustion can lead to a heatstroke, which may damage the brain and other vital organs, and even cause death.

A security officer sprays water on pilgrims during Hajj. (Al Arabiya)
A security officer sprays water on pilgrims during Hajj. (Al Arabiya)

Some 217 hospital beds have been allocated in the case of heat strokes among pilgrims, SPA said in its Monday report.

Security officials and volunteers on the ground at the holy sites have received training on how to deal with cases of heat exhaustion and sun strokes, SPA cited the ministry as saying.

A security officer sprays water on pilgrims during Hajj. (Al Arabiya)
A security officer sprays water on pilgrims during Hajj. (Al Arabiya)

The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque has distributed 10,000 umbrellas to pilgrims so far.

Zamzam water is also available across the sites for them to drink as they carry along on their journey.

World’s largest religious gathering

The annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca – the largest religious gathering in the world – sees about 2.6 million Muslims take part in it every year.

For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, Saudi Arabia lifted all restrictions on the number of people allowed to take part in the Islamic ritual.

Read more:

Hajj 2023: Why is the Day of Arafat the pinnacle of the pilgrimage to Mecca?

Watch: Saudi security guard helps blind pilgrim circumambulate Kaaba during Hajj

Hajj commences as Saudi Arabia welcomes millions of Muslims from around the world

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