Health Tips for Harmattan Season/Weather
We are right in that period when places in the West African subcontinent experience changes in the climatic conditions. Between late November and mid-March of every year is characterised by the presence of harmattan weather. Harmattan season is characterised by extreme cold, dry and dusty wind. The wind is sometimes called the “Doctor wind”.
Nigeria experiences three seasons every year. Harmattan season is one. The other two seasons being the rainy and sunny seasons. Harmattan weather can affect one’s health directly and negatively. Harmattan season is an important one because of the never health-friendly weather. If you live or plan to live in places affected by the weather such as Nigeria, it is very important you learn the tips to help you cope with the weather.
Health Tips for Harmattan Season
How do we survive this period of the year that is usually seasoned with harsh weather? Here are a few and very important things to do to stay healthy during the harmattan Season:
- Step up hygiene in the house, office and kitchen as the wind transfers contaminated dust more often than normal during the season.
- Use thermal wears or good clothes that shield the body against cold regularly during the season. These will protect you better against cold.
- Encourage children to dress properly. Younger children are vulnerable to cold.
- Children and people generally should minimise contact with dirty surfaces and wash hands thoroughly after contact with objects or surfaces.
- Avoid staying too long in the cold.
- Men to avoid exposing their chest to the highly ‘piercing cold’.
- Drink more water to limit dehydration effect. The drying effect of the weather causes rapid dehydration.
- Avoid using soft or sugary drinks and caffeinated soda for hydration as the sugar and caffeine in them aid dehydration of the body.
- Do not quench thirst with alcohol. Do not wet throat with it. Because alcohol makes the body to lose water.
- It is safer to have your shower or bath with warm water during cold time to minimise the chance of developing cold complications.
- Apply oily creams or Vaseline on your skin after shower/bath to prevent dry skin. Dry skins are very prone to crack which may aid microbial infections.
- People prone to eczema (atopic dermatitis) should avoid dry skin as it could cause the disease to develop.
- Lips are very prone to dryness during harmattan season. Apply lip balm to prevent dry/scaly lips.
- Apply a good moisturizer to the souls of your legs to prevent hard and dry souls.
- Use nose mask (dust mask) when working/present in dusty atmosphere.
- Protect and prevent direct exposure of the eyes with glasses or spectacle in windy dusty environment.
- Use protective wears (shoes and clothing) when carrying out activities that expose you to hard objects such as walking on stony ground.
- People with respiratory disorder such as asthma should have their inhaler readily available with them for emergency use.
- Asthmatic patients should also limit their exposure to dust as this upset the condition.