Arafat: NAHCON tasks pilgrims on hand washing to avoid infection

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By Salisu Sani-Idris

The National Medical Team of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has urged Nigerian pilgrims to ensure frequent hand washing at Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifah to avoid infections.

Dr Usman Galadima, the Chief of Operations and Head of Nigerian Medical Mission to Saudi Arabia for the 2023 Hajj, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Makkah.

NAN reports that Muslim pilgrims from all over the world will flock to Mina holy site on Monday, to spend the day of Tarwiyah (water provision).

This is in pursuit of the Prophetic Sunnah, in preparation to standing on Arafat holy site on Tuesday, June 27, which marks the climax of the
annual Jahh pilgrimage.

Galadima, therefore, enjoined Nigerian pilgrims to rest very well and conserve their energies ahead of the core Hajj exercise which would last for five days.

He also urged pilgrims to avoid walking under the sun, noting that the temperature in Makkah could go as high as 47 to 48 degrees celsius, which has
serious impact on the wellbeing of anybody.

He appealed to pilgrims who have chronic illnesses to go to the hospital for check-up to enable the media team monitor them regularly.

He stressed that “regular hand washing is very essential during mass gatherings, especially in places like the Mosque, toilet and malls
where we have large number of people moving around and touching surfaces; infections can easily be transmitted.

“The core hajj rites are the five days that pilgrims spend in Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifah. So, pilgrims need to rest, reduce the number
of times they walk to Haram for the five daily prayers, conserve energy, drink lots of water, at least three to four litres
of water a day.

“If you expose yourself and you are under direct sun for long time, your body loses what we call the thermoregulatory function.
That is the ability to keep your body temperature within a certain range and so the body starts to overheat just the way a car overheats, damaging
the body, causing heatstroke.”

Galadima also emphasised that pilgrims should pray around their areas of accomodation, adding that if they must go out under the sun,
they should use light colour or white umbrella that could reflect light.

According to him, the dark umbrella will still absorb heat, pilgrims should avoid wearing dark clothing materials, especially the women
that tend to wear black Hijabs.

The medical mission head said “Saudi women wear black hijab, but you don’t see them in the afternoon; they come out at night.”

He also warned pilgrims against patronising foods from street vendors, adding that such foods may not be well prepared.

“But if pilgrims must consume foods by the roadside, they should ensure that it is hot, and always wash fruits thoroughly
before eating,” he added.(NAN)