HomeHajjNAHCON warns pilgrims against heatstroke, offers tips

NAHCON warns pilgrims against heatstroke, offers tips

*Says: 400 medical personnel will serve 65,000 pilgrims *Adds: Heatwaves to peak at 50 degrees Celsius

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The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has urged pilgrims to always drink lots of water, warning that the heatwaves are expected to peak at 50′ degrees Celsius soon.

The head of medical mission for the 2024 Hajj, Dr. Abubakar Adamu Ismail, stated this during an interactive session with journalists at NAHCON House, Umul Jood, Makkah, Saudi Arabia, on Tuesday, adding that taking sips of water regularly could be a life-saving habit.

“Drink a lot of water, and as soon as it finishes, fill it up. You don’t need to wait until you are thirsty. This is really the most life-saving measure you can adopt. Take sips of water even if you don’t feel like doing it.

“I remember during our inauguration in Nigeria, the first thing I spoke about was heatstroke, and after about a week we arrived here as an advance team, the media was awash with the prediction of heatwaves as high as 50 degrees Celsius in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and that puts us in a position of being very alert, and we consider it necessary to embark on this sensitisation. Our focus is on management and preventive care, he said.

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Signs and symptoms 

Dr. Ismail, who is a senior Director, Federal Ministry of Health and Senior Technical Assistant to the Minister of Health, said the symptoms are multifaceted depending on the age and some variables.

He added that in the elderly, the signs and symptoms may manifest with a loss of consciousness; “this is called delirium. The victim starts talking irrationally. The person may start having a fever  with muscle aches and veins.

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Muhammad Ahmad Musa, Public Affairs NAHCON with the Head National Medical Team and Senior Technical Assistant to the Minister of Health Dr, Abubakar Adamu Ismail during an interactive session with Journalist in Makkah, Saudi Arabia.

Preventive care

He said the medical team is focussed on management and preventive care, adding that sensitisation through the media and other stakeholders becomes paramount.

He added that although no pilgrim had been reported to have suffered heat stroke, heat and exhaustion could manifest minimally without being noticed, admonishing that the natural tendency is for anyone to prevent it by taking lots of water and avoiding the sun.

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According to him, “this can be prevented in so many ways.

“1. Avoid the harsh sun as much as possible. If you must, then use an umbrella and always look for a shade.

“2. Don’t leave your house without a bottle of water. Drink a lot of water, and as soon as it finishes, fill it up. You don’t need to wait until you are thirsty. This is really the most life-saving measure you can adopt. Take sips of water even if you don’t feel like doing it.

“In the elderly and those who have diabetes, the tendency to even sense the fluid deficit is very low. It could be as simple as “Oh, I am thirsty, and I will take water later; then, as soon as he makes up to stand to get water, he falls.”

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Synergy with others

“We just had a meeting with medical personnel from Ogun, Oyo, and Osun.

Makkah has not given full approval for medical activities in any country, unlike in Madinah, where there was approval.

“Because of that, we had to dispatch our team to go around, and that has enhanced the synergy because, as we speak, the team is going around the state and there is constant

synergy and communication.

“That has brought us closer to having good and fruitful interaction with Saudi medical officials. The Saudi Red Crescent is now at our disposal to ferry any emergency to their hospitals.

400 medical personnel to serve 65,000 pilgrims

Responding to a question from Vanguard, Dr. Ismail said no fewer than 400 medical personnel have been assigned to serve the 65,000 expected Nigerian pilgrims in Saudi Arabia throughout the period of the 2024 hajj exercise.

He added that the two deaths recorded so far were of elderly pilgrims with critical underlying health conditions, adding that their deaths were not related to the present heat condition.

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