The harmattan is a season whereby the weather is cold and causes dryness and dust. During the harmattan, people tend to bathe with warm water to keep themselves warm. They make use of jellies and hot balms to moisturize their skin and lips.
Harmattan causes dryness in skin, breaks the lips and anybody who does not rub enough oil on his/her body will look like someone bathed in cement dust. Harmattan is associated with ailments such as catarrh, cold, headache, cough, sore throat, etc.
It also causes one to sneeze intermittently. Most people do not like the harmattan while few people embrace it.
ENCOMIUM Weekly spoke with some doctors on Friday, January 29, 2016, who gave suggestions on how people can cope with the harsh weather. In a phone conversation with Dr Dammy Ayoola, she said that harmattan can be described as a harsh weather. The problem with harmattan is that it carries dust particles.
“When you are talking about harsh weather, you can specify harmattan as one. The problem with harmattan is that it carries dust particles. Most people that have health issues during the harmattan are those with respiratory problems such as asthma, but generally, people that are hyper allergic have issues with their respiratory system. The best way for them to cope is to take their drugs regularly and they should visit their physician. They should avoid staying out in the cold for long and if possible, they should always cover their nostrils with handkerchief.
“For people who are not asthmatic, they can also cope by staying away from dusty areas, make sure they wear clothes that will keep them warm and comfortable.
“People should also know that harmattan causes cracky skin and lips. In other to maintain your skin, the best thing is to rub Vaseline oil on your skin and also rub in your nostrils and lips. This will reduce the level of dry skin and cracky lips.”
We also had a chat with Dr Steven Ime, who once worked as a doctor in Motolani Hospital, Agege, Lagos, and now the Director General of Centre for International Integrity, Peace Advocate Development (CIIPAD) Nigeria in Abuja. He told us that people can cope with harmattan by taking precautions.
“During the harmattan, one should endeavour to stay away from cold water. They should also have enough of vitamins A and E and abstain from dusty areas. People that are mostly affected by this harsh weather are asthmatic patients. The harmattan is a harsh weather that breeds catarrh, sneezing, headache, cough, fatigue, etc. If not properly maintained, it can cause arthritis. When one takes cold water during harmattan, it accumulates and blocks the respiratory system which can lead to sore throat, chest pain and catarrh. There is a weather code that brings about arthritis. Then also make use of woolen clothes that will keep you warm. It is not advisable to expose your body during the harmattan.
“Last, always keep your environment clean and free of dust.”
- DAMILOLA FOLAMI