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Perception and coping with excessive heat exposure among male Arab pilgrims, 1436.


Hajj season in Mecca city in Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest mass gatherings in the Middle East where more than 2 million Muslims from all around the world visit annually. As Hajj season will take place during summer in the coming years, and with obvious significant increase in temperature globally, identifying pilgrims' knowledge and their adopting protective practices regarding heat exposure is important.


A cross sectional study conducted during 10th, 11th, and 12th of Dho Alhijja 1436 in Mina, Mecca. Only male Arab pilgrims were recruited. Sample was divided into two strata; domestic (KSA pilgrims) and International Arabs. A total of 14 camps were selected randomly; seven from each stratum. About 412 participants completed the questionnaire. Seven variables were regarded as exposure factors including; age, nationality, education, comorbidities and past visits to Mecca.


Mean age was 43.48 ± 13.42 years. Age group 30-60 represented 67.2% of the total participants. Majority of pilgrims have never performed Hajj before (68.2%). Bivariate analysis showed almost 62.2% of African Arabs used clothes made of cotton only comparing to 48.2% and 38.3% of Asian Arabs and Saudis; respectively (P value < 0.001). Almost 86.6% of high educational level group drank water more during Hajj days, while 79% of pilgrims with lower educational level increased their water intake (p=0.014). Carrying heavy objects was common among pilgrims with comorbidities (32.5%) (P value <0.001). For pilgrims with 1st time visit, 15.3% and 23.5% moved on foot from Arafat and Mozdalifa respectively, compared to 5.7% and 18.7% of pilgrims with multiple visits. (P value <0.001).


Pilgrims knowledge and adopting practices regarding excessive heat exposure need to be improved. Their coping strategies were influenced mainly by the age, nationality, education and comorbidities.