Avoid dehydration on the Hajj: don’t wait for thirst!

The hajj ritual is a physically demanding experience. (Source: Wikipedia)

Jakarta, IO – Following a two-year restriction, Muslims all over the world can recommence performing the hajj ritual this year, and personally raise the fifth Pillar of Islam. That is, with the caveat that the Saudi Arabian Government will continue to uphold health and safety protocols to protect both pilgrims and host citizens, as the pandemic is far from being over. 

The hajj ritual is a physically demanding experience. Pilgrims must walk long distances – back and forth and around – among crowds, repeatedly, in Saudi Arabia’s low moisture atmosphere and extreme temperatures of 43o to 46 o Celsius. 

“Researchers from various countries over decades have confirmed that the temperature in the region is extremely hot, with low moisture levels. This means that when you are there, your body’s water and electrolytes will deplete much faster through your sweat. You won’t feel it much, because your sweat evaporates quickly there, and you can suffer dehydration or heat stroke even before you know it. If you’re not aware, you might fall unconscious or die because of dehydration. So remember its symptoms: dark colored urine, debility, hollowed-out eyes, fast pulse, difficulty of breathing, and even fainting,” said dr. Budi Sylvana, MARS, MH, Head of the Ministry of Health’s Hajj Health Center, in the “Preventing Dehydration During Hajj Ritual: Don’t Wait for Thirst” live IG session held last Friday (03/06/2022). 

The hidden danger that everyone needs to be extra vigilant against is the low level of moisture: while pilgrims may feel no thirst, “… water and minerals keep on evaporating out of their bodies. If ignored, this runs the risk of obstructing the functioning of bodily organs. Just drinking large amounts of plain water is not enough: you need to also consume electrolytes such as oral rehydration salts/solutions. Don’t wait until you become thirsty! All pilgrims must drink a measured amount of water, once every half hour or once an hour,” dr. Budi said.