Hajj is an important form of worship to which a high value is attributed by Muslims. The presence of many pilgrims approximately over the age of 60 together significantly increases the risk of developing respiratory tract infections (RTIs) and viruses (MERS, SARS, SARS-CoV-2). This study aimed to examine the awareness of Turkish pilgrims on the prevention of infections in the airways before the Hajj visit in 2019.
A total of 382 Turkish pilgrims traveling to Mecca from Ankara in 2019 constituted the population of the study. The study was conducted in a qualitative and descriptive design. The data were collected through an acquisition information form. The participants were asked to fill out the “Acquisition information form for pilgrim candidates” prepared using a triple scale.
According to the results obtained from the study, 96.9% of the pilgrim candidates stated that they should wash their hands frequently and 88.7% of them stated that they use hand sanitizer when they cannot reach any water source. 91.6% of them indicated that the handkerchiefs they used should be disposable. Over 45% of the pilgrim candidates stated that they do not know how to use air conditioners and that they do not need to know it. The statistical results showed that there was a significant relationship between the age, gender, chronic disease, educational status of the pilgrims, and their awareness levels on protective factors to prevent respiratory tract infections.
Pilgrims are likely to encounter many health problems in the hajj visits. Therefore, healthcare professionals should be able to determine the accurate care that is needed by pilgrims before and after the hajj. It was determined that pilgrims need training on preventing respiratory tract infections.