Harmattan: Expert gives survival tips

Posted by News Express | 3 January 2020 | 876 times

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• Harmattan
A general physician, Dr Malomo Bamidele, has cautioned Nigerians against exposing their bodies to cold during harmattan to prevent them from getting pneumonia and other complications associated with the season.

Bamidele, who is also the Medical Director of a Lagos-based hospital, LifeCrest Medical Services, gave the advice while speaking on Thursday in Lagos with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

The harmattan season originates from the dry and dusty winds, which blow from the Sahara Desert across West Africa from November till March of the following year.

Bamidele noted that with the dry season still ongoing, Nigerians, particularly children, should carefully cover up their bodies to prevent them from catching cold.

He said the harmattan is usually characterised by dry, draughty air, dust and cold, adding that children who had cold or catarrh could easily get infected with pneumonia.

“A cold that gets worse can turn into pneumonia because the cold will irritate the lungs and create an environment where it becomes easy for germs to start an infection.

“Studies have shown that pneumonia is the leading cause of death among children of five years and below.

“As the season is characterised by cold, it is necessary to take precautions, especially in our children who are unsuspecting. Through their innocence, they may come in contact with cold.

“Pneumonia is most common among those with weak or compromised immune systems and people suffering from other diseases. “It is, therefore, important to give children foods rich in vitamins, especially fresh fruits,” he said.

The physician explained that it is normal for people to become dehydrated and get thirsty very easily during the season.

Bamidele urged Nigerians to avoid carbonated drinks and juices but rather drink at least 1.5 litres of water every day.

He said such water intake would help to keep the body system working properly.

According to him, using skin moisturisers is a must during the season as they will increase the skin’s water content by reducing evaporation. He advised that taking Vitamin C would help to reduce the likelihood of one contracting the flu, otherwise known as catarrh.

“It is important to increase the amount of fluid and fruits (watermelon, oranges among others) consume, especially, during harmattan.

“Staying hydrated keeps the skin refreshed and glowing while helping the body to function optimally.

“The weather is usually bright and hot in the afternoon but can be very cold at night.

“To be on the safe side, put on warm clothes when going to bed at night or when going out in the morning.

“This season breeds a lot of dust. You will clean your house now and in the next five minutes, it will look like you have been away for five years.

“For asthmatic patients, the dusty winds of harmattan can trigger attacks. This is why they should stay away from dusty areas and have their inhalers on them at all times.

“Wearing a nose or face mask is advisable during this period when one has to be in contact with dusty environment,” he said. (The Nation/NAN)


Source: News Express

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