How to Stay Healthy During Harmattan

Harmattan, defined as “a dry, dusty easterly or north-easterly wind on the West African coast, occurring from December to February,” is here! And the dry, cold, and dusty weather can make you sick.   Some of the most common effects of Harmattan include:
  • Dried and cracked lips and soles that could be embarrassing, as well as cause discomfort and slight or severe pain (depending on the intensity);
male child with dried lips caused by Harmattan
  • A hazy atmosphere which could pose threats to drivers, thereby leading to road accidents;
  • Dried scaly skin;
  • A dried and sore throat caused by the extreme atmospheric dryness of the season;
  •  Sneezing, cough and catarrh;
sneezing black woman
  • Eye pain and blurry sight; and
  • Hair breakage among others.
  To stay healthy during this season though, Philip Eappen, the Chief Administrator of the American University of Nigeria (AUN) Clinic, gives us the following necessary steps:
  • Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration;
  • Wash your eyes regularly to avoid red eyes which is common in during harmattan;
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a mask or towel when it is dusty;
  nose cover
  • Avoid or reduce outdoor activities, especially if you have allergies;
  • Stay indoors to avoid dust inhalation of harmful particles coming with the wind;
  • Wear clothes that keep your body warm;
  • Visit the clinic if you have red, itchy, and watery eyes
  • Get medical help if you have running, itchy, sneezing, and stuffy nose;
  • Keep the doors and windows closed;
  • Always use moisturizers to prevent dry skin and dry palms;
  • Use lip balm to prevent cracked lips.
woman applying lip balm   This season can trigger asthma and allergies. Asthmatic patients should always keep their inhalers handy and avoid dust as much as possible. This dry cold dusty season triggers sickle cell disease (SCD) as well. Patients should drink plenty of water and avoid outdoor activities as much as possible.
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