A pilgrim prays on the Mount Arafat during the annual Hajj pilgrimage. Image Credit: Reuters file

Riyadh: In a bid to ensure pilgrim safety, the Ministry of Health has issued a warning regarding the risk of sun exposure in Arafat, particularly during peak sunlight hours from 11 am to 4 pm.

According to the Saudi Press Agency, the ministry emphasized the need for caution due to the high temperatures at the holy sites this year.

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Pilgrims are strongly advised to take necessary precautions to protect their health and safety, including using umbrellas for shade, staying hydrated by drinking water regularly (even if not thirsty), following all health instructions and advice, and avoiding unnecessary sun exposure or contact with hot surfaces.

The summer heat is expected to reach 43 degrees Celsius, posing significant challenges, particularly for the elderly, during a day of prayer and recitation of the holy Quran.

225 pilgrims treated

The Ministry of National Guard Health Affairs' medical center for heat exhaustion and sunstroke has treated 225 pilgrims suffering from heat stress and fatigue.

The center's 20 high-tech beds feature an air and water spray system that cools the entire body. Separate clinics for men and women, along with an on-site pharmacy, ensure comprehensive care.

Saudi authorities have advised pilgrims to stay hydrated and protect themselves from the sun. The Hajj, one of the world's largest religious gatherings, is increasingly impacted by climate change, with regional temperatures rising by 0.4C each decade, according to a Saudi study.