Harmattan Season: Health dangers and tips

Harmattan Season: Health dangers and tips

The Harmattan season is here again! And with no surprise, it brings its usual dusty winds, dry air, and thick hazes. Not to mention, it brings along diseases as well.

Harmattan is an annual season starting from sometime in November and extending to March. As uncomfortable as it gets, let’s not forget the sweet comfy night sleeps it brings as well. Just as every other season, this season comes with its lovely and unfavorable parts, and thus, helpful tips are needed to adapt properly.

The Harmattan season is a very hot and dry one with humidity as low as 15% in the atmosphere. As much as it dries our clothes, it dries our skin and guts even quicker as well, hence one helpful tip is to always stay hydrated.

It is essential to drink a minimum of four (4) liters of water a day (equivalent to eight sachets of water) to stay hydrated for the proper functioning of the kidneys and other metabolic processes. One of the most obvious features of this season is the dryness and cracking of the skin.

Dry air takes away moisture from the skin leaving the body scaly and for most of us, who surely don’t want to look this way; water-retaining creams and oils are recommended. Frequent bathing is also helpful for washing off dust and dirt carried by air.

Lip cream or balm may also be useful for preventing the lips from drying. Patients with asthma are advised to always move with their inhalers because they are highly predisposed in this season to frequent asthmatic attacks.

The air not only carries dust, it carries pollen and other allergens, which can irritate the mucosal surfaces of the nose and precipitate allergies. These allergies range from sneezing to runny nose and catarrh.

Respiratory diseases like Catarrh and sneezing are the most common and can occur also as symptoms of a cold. It is advisable that people wear thick or layered clothing to keep themselves warm and especially to cover themselves at night.

It is also important to wear nose masks or use clean handkerchiefs especially when it is windy. Nosebleeds are often common and except there is an underlying condition, there is no cause for alarm because the dry air can crack the delicate skin inside the nose, rupturing minor blood vessels and causing it to bleed.

Usually, the bleeding should stop after a while and if it persists, medical personnel should be sought. Taking a lot of fruits and vegetables rich in Vitamin C greatly helps to boost immunity needed in fighting off infections and staying healthy so make sure you don’t forget to take an Orange or Pineapple after that Christmas chicken.

Acute Hemorrhagic Conjunctivitis, popularly known as Apollo seems to be prevalent this season. It is marked by swelling of eyes, redness of one or both eyes, water discharge, sensitivity to light and gritty sensation in the eye.

As the wind blows, it carries micro-organisms which of course, are ubiquitous. These micro-organisms such as bacteria or viruses enter the eyes and cause this inflammation.

In some cases, the body immunity is strong enough to get rid of the infection, and in serious cases, medical attention is needed; to prevent this, washing of the eyes regularly and use of sunglasses help and a balanced diet should not be underestimated.

Asides health problems, the Harmattan haze makes driving and flight difficult and as everybody travels to their loved ones this season, we all should take care to drive carefully, avoid over speeding and obey traffic regulations.

Home appliances should be put off when not in use and care should be taken when burning refuse to avoid fire destruction. With Joy in our hearts and health in our mind, let us enjoy this holiday season taking care of ourselves, our loved ones and using these necessary health tips.

Author: NZE Ihunanya

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