MOH News
Dr. Barakat Al-Sallami Warns Pilgrims against the Risk of Heat Exhaustion
06 December 2011
   Dr. Barakat Mohammed Al-Sallami, an internal medicine consultant, head of the Infection Control Division at King Fahd Hospital and assistant head of the internal medicine divisions at Mina Emergency Hospital, Jeddah, has warned pilgrims against making too much effort while performing the Hajj rites under hot-weather conditions, so as to avert general heat exhaustion, which might take several forms, such as heat cramps, heat syncope, and sunstrokes.
 
Dr. Al-Sallami explained that heat cramps involve suffering from such symptoms as contractions of leg muscles, pains caused by the too much effort exerted in walking long periods under direct sunlight, which is a preliminary indication of the heat problems, further developing into the following phase, namely heat exhaustion.
 
Al-Sallami went on to say that, in case of heat cramps, pilgrims have to set at rest in a cool place, and have some refreshing drinks to retain his vivacity. Such symptoms, he said, usually abate in two hours time, following which pilgrims restore their liveliness and resume their activities. But, if heat cramps are not handled soundly, then the case will develop to heat exhaustion, which requires more sophisticated medical care, by cooling the body at the specialized sunstroke centers provided by the Ministry of Health (MOH) for serving pilgrims.
 
Heat exhaustion, Dr. Barakat Al-Sallami added, results from the exposure to high temperature and making too much effort, thus losing a quantity of the body's liquids and minerals, leading up to heat fatigue, manifested in weakness and wasting, and perhaps accompanied by dizziness and inability to proceed making any effort. According to Dr. Al-Sallami, this is the phase directly preceding the onset of sunstrokes, usually accompanied by complete dryness and drastic rise in temperature (exceeding 40° C), as well as causing nervous system disorders, possibly leading up to complete unconsciousness.
 
It followed that Dr. Al-Sallami moved on to the problems resulting from sunstrokes, expounding that there are immediate and long-term problems. Sunstrokes could immediately cause defects in brain functions, or the functions or any of the internal organs, such as the liver and kidneys. The long-term medical problems, on the other hand, usually affect the nervous system, causing mental impairment or disruption of body movement.    
 
It did not escape Dr. Al-Sallami's notice to commend the Kingdom's colossal efforts made over the past years to best prevent and treat heat exhaustion, with the effect that Saudi Arabia has become one of the leading countries in this field, making optimal use of the peculiarly expensive equipment ("Makkah" cooling devices) available in several sunstroke centers, in order to treat pilgrims suffering from sunstrokes.
As his statement drew to a close, Dr. Barakat Mohammed Al-Sallami, the an internal medicine consultant, head of the Infection Control Division at King Fahd Hospital and assistant head of the internal medicine divisions at Mina Emergency Hospital, Jeddah, gave a number of precious tips for pilgrims, by following which they can keep away from heat exhaustion. Among these tips are to avoid making too much effort, sleeping on the hot sand, and walking under the direct sunlight except with an umbrella, as well as keeping away from the exposure to the sunlight. Meanwhile, he called upon all diseased pilgrims to take their medications in due time, and to abide by the instructions and tips given by their doctors, aside from taking adequate rest, and heading for the nearest hospital or health center on the occurrence of any pains or complications, in addition to adhering to the general hygiene tips.  
 



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