News Analysis

Preventing Harmattan-Related Diseases

The Harmattan season is usually anticipated from the end of November lasting through the month of March of the New Year.

This however varies from year to year and from one part of the country to another.

Characterised by dusty dry wind, the weather is sometimes cold and hot or cold completely depending on the region.

Because the wind is dust-laden, people suffer from dryness of the throat, dry skin, cracked lips, catarrh, cold, cough and nosebleeds.

When dust particles overruns the body systems, the probability also for developing chronic respiratory problems such as asthma, pneumonia, bronchitis is high.

Cold, an upper tract infection induced by the weather could cause cough, sore throat, runny nose sneezing and fever.

These symptoms are synonymous with the symptoms of COVID-19 hence the apprehension in some quarters.

Be that as it may however, the onus lies with everyone to ensure adequate protection against these diseases as the temperature fluctuates between high and low.

For those who feel discomfort due to dry skin, the time is now to ensure regular hydration of the system and use of moisturizers.

To prevent nasal congestion, intake of more fluids, fruits and vegetables rich in Vitamin C will help to boost the immune system against diseases as suggested by medical experts.

Since people in the extreme ages such as the very young and old are more vulnerable at this time, more should be done in terms of warm clothing, and warm foods to protect them.

Asthma patients will do well by having their inhalers handy and keeping away from dusty places which could trigger attacks.

Wearing of facemasks is already in vogue as a means to prevent spread of COVID-19, more Nigerians should imbibe this practice for the overall protection.

Moreover, wearing of protective clothing, covering the head, chest and eyes is necessary especially when outdoors.

For people living with sickle cell disease, the Harmattan period is dreaded as it triggers crisis.

Sickle cell though a genetic disease, the cold dry weather reduces the blood oxygen at this time.

More attention should therefore be paid to these category of people to ensure they are in good health.

Nigeria is blessed with an array of seasonal fruits and eating them unwashed could lead to sickness.

Washing the dusts off fruits before consumption is mandatory.

Also, to prevent dehydration often experienced at this time people should keep bottles of water handy to address the situation.

Since the Harmattan season is inevitable, to scale through unhurt, protection and prevention remained key.

Anthonia Akanji

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