Hot weather may trigger stress among haj pilgrims

MADINAH — The hot weather conditions in Madinah, where temperatures can reach up to 42 degrees Celsius, can not only increase the risk of respiratory and skin-related diseases but also lead to stress among Hajj pilgrims, said director of operations for Madinah (medical) Dr Mahyin Kudong.

He did not dispute the possibility that differences in weather conditions from Malaysia could trigger conflicts fueled by heat, resulting in emotional instability.

To address the issue, Dr. Mahyin said the medical team from Tabung Haji (TH), consisting of 279 Haj medical personnel from the Health Ministry, has enlisted psychiatrists to provide assistance to pilgrims scheduled to arrive on May 9.

“In addition, TH has counsellors from the welfare team and haj guide to collectively address any arising mental health issues,” he said at a press conference here.

As such, he urged the pilgrims to prioritise personal hygiene practices and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Dr Mahyin also advised the pilgrims to bring along the provided water spray bottles and spray their faces from time to time, particularly if the weather is excessively hot to alleviate any potential issues.

Meanwhile, Madinah Sector Counselling Unit head Syazrina Maria Talib affirmed her readiness, with the support of two certified counsellors, to address any stress-related issues among pilgrims.

“During hot weather, stress can affect both pilgrims and staff, particularly given that not all accommodations for pilgrims are conveniently located near mosque entrances.

“Therefore, the journey (to the mosque) demands considerable physical endurance. Walking long distances and struggling (to enter crowded mosques) poses a notable challenge for elderly haj pilgrims considering their age,” she said.

Apart from the scorching weather, several other factors have been identified as contributing to stress among the pilgrims, including marital issues, health conditions, menstruation and the emotional burden of being away from family.

Syazrina Maria added that the TH counselling unit is available round the clock, dedicated to ensuring the pilgrims’ mental well-being, enabling them to maintain focus on worship throughout their pilgrimage for a ‘mabrur’ haj (accepted and blessed by Allah).

“Making the decision to perform the haj is no small matter. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. So thorough preparation is crucial.

“It includes in terms of health, knowledge, understanding, and patience…these are vital aspects to bear in mind as we navigate through these 45 days to earn a mabrur haj,” she said. — BERNAMA / pic AFP