Harmattan (Dry Season) is the time of year that signifies Christmas is near, but also the time that dust fills the air and brings on a lot of ailments. But why do these illnesses become more common when the Harmattan winds blow?
This is why…
The maladies which dry season predisposes one to are usually respiratory issues, eye/nose allergies and it also aggravates other existing conditions like asthma and bronchitis. We confirmed this from a medical doctor in old Karu, a suburb of the FCT, who also told us some noteworthy things about the specific ailments that thrive at this time and why;
- Skin Issues: Skin dryness is a condition that some have all year round, but the Harmattan brings this on and causes cracking of the skin and major dryness which could bring about other severe skin diseases.
- Respiratory Infections: The flu, which is an upper tract respiratory disease, is likely the most common in this category. The symptoms can be anything from cough, sore throat, runny nose, nasal congestion, headache, low grade fever, facial pressure to sneezing. Without wondering, these are caused by bacteria which are carried in the wind and dust particles which the Harmattan brings.
- Diarrhoea: The relationship between a loose bowel and Harmattan isn’t direct, but very serious. Due to the recurrent winds which carry dust and other microscopic particles, bacteria and all sorts of germs are carried more easily and these settle on water and food.
How to avoid these diseases…
- Proper clothing will go a long way in reducing some of the effects of Harmattan on the body. For more see this.
- Keep your house well ventilated for clean, fresh air, but ensure food and water are covered to avoid germs getting onto them.
- Take care of your skin by using petroleum jelly aka vaseline, oils (coconut, Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter etc) or moisturizing creams that prevent dryness.
- Use balms on the lips to avoid them from getting chapped (breaking). It can get so bad that it will hurt and bleed.
All seasons come with their own pros and cons, but the best thing to do is be prepared.