WORSHIPPERS attending the pilgrimage to Mecca have been warned to watch for the health risks caused by extreme heat.

Doctors have said anyone in East Lancashire going to Saudi Arabia for this year’s Hajj season must take care to avoid heat exhaustion and sunstroke.

The Hajj is expected to take place this year over five days from August 9 to August 14.

Dr Muzaffar Pervez, a leading GP from Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “As in any country when the weather is hot, you should make sure you drink plenty of fluids at regular intervals; avoid exposure to the sun for long periods and use sunscreen with a high factor sun protection.

“Also make sure your physical condition allows for the amount of walking that Hajj requires and take sufficient rest to restore your energy.”

Temperatures in Saudi Arabia in August can reach as high as 43°C, making the rituals of the Hajj demanding.

Pilgrims have also been urged to prepared with up-to-date health information and travel advice.

They should also check if they need any vaccinations.