• The annual harmattan season has officially started here in Nigeria.
  • As usual, it comes with dry air that is harsh on the skin and a lot of dust.
  • This season can also trigger certain diseases. Below are the tips you need to deal with these ailments.

Harmattan in Nigeria is characterised by dry, cold weather, low humidity, very cold mornings and evenings.

The season usually triggers some unpleasant infections and diseases. Here is how to take care of yourself during the season:

  • Asthma or bronchitis attacks  

The dusty haze that comes with harmattan results in the deterioration of air quality which can aggravate the respiratory system. This along with the cold weather can lead to asthma or bronchitis attack.

No fewer than 250,000 Nigerians die of asthma yearly
No fewer than 250,000 Nigerians die of asthma yearly

Bronchitis is what you get when there is an inflammation and swelling of the lining of the bronchial tubes (these are the major air passages that go from the trachea (the windpipe) into the lungs).

To reduce your chances of getting these attacks, wear a mask over your nose when you have to leave your house. Avoid close contact with people who have a cold or the flu, wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face.

ALSO READ: 5 ways to protect your skin during Harmattan

  • Cold

The dryness and low humidity that comes with the harmattan period increases the spread of infections or diseases like a cold. Symptoms include cough, catarrh, sore throat and runny nose.

Sick man coughing(nation)
Sick man coughing(nation)

To prevent or cope with a cold, you need to stay warm by wearing appropriate clothing. Boost your immune system by taking lots of fruits and vegetables with Vitamin C.

It is also advisable to increase your fluid intake and dream warm water, tea, and other hot beverages.

  • Meningitis

Meningitis is a bacterial or viral infection of the meninges, which cover the brain and spinal cord. This serious disease can spread quickly from person to person especially during the harmattan season.

Most common symptoms of the deadly disease include stiff neck, high fever, headaches, and vomiting.

A recent meningitis outbreak in 23 Nigerian states claimed over 1000 lives
A recent meningitis outbreak in 23 Nigerian states claimed over 1000 lives

You can reduce the risk by not smoking, washing hands thoroughly, keeping your surfaces clean and avoid sharing personal items like toothbrushes and straws.

Other health hazards include nosebleeds and conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye.