Home Uncategorized harmattan is here, you’ll need these tips

harmattan is here, you’ll need these tips

by adminV
a community covered with harmattan

By Victor Ogunyinka

hazy, windy, dry air of the year ending comes at a time when people
prepare for the most widely celebrated event of the year, the Christmas.
One wonders if it’s the celebration that comes with the extra incentive
of the weather or it’s the weather that heralds the festivity.
That aside, there’s something one critically needs to be careful about
as the wind strokes our breath, caresses our hair and deposits
extraneous materials into our eyes. It could be the beginning of a
catastrophic health, if left unabated.
When harmattan strikes, almost everything is affected; the skin appears
gloomy and unattractive, hair breaks at will, more fire outbreaks and
the one’s health is put on the brink.

Dr Taiwo Aderemi, Medical Director, Safepath Hospital, Challenge, Ibadan
explained that harmattan season is a transitional period from extreme
heat to cold weather, noting that the atmosphere changes and give rise
to mist, dust and cold.
For a region that averages about 25°c annually, the fresh breeze of the
harmattan should naturally be a ‘fair-weather’ to sundry.
While the harmattan season comes with some soothing atmosphere, one has
to be critical of its not-too-pleasant incentives, particularly in terms
of health that overwhelms the season. Some disasters are peculiar to
the end-of-the-year weather, bruises, infernos, lip break among other
things, but the dangers of harmattan, according to experts could be
physical or medical and of course, the latter should appeal to us more.
The respiratory system, because of its direct communication with the
atmosphere, is also often affected. The respiratory system has a natural
defence system which is easily overwhelmed by the high concentration of
dust pollutants in the air.
The resultant effect is damage to the respiratory system, predisposing
to infections. Excessive sneezing, cough and catarrh are some of the
symptoms that result from these infections. Also, the harmattan is not a
good season for people with existing respiratory conditions like
asthma. The  cold, dusty weather tends to aggravate this condition.
Dr Aderemi said: “We have medical conditions that are aggravated by cold
and dust; the sufferers experience the unpleasant part of harmattan.
That may include persons having sickle cell diseases; they have more
crises in this part of the year. Same thing for asthma patients; the
cold and dusty aspect of harmattan could serve as asthma triggers.
“Also, arthritis and rheumatism are also worsened by the cold. There is
the aspect of food too, which nobody takes very seriously. We have some
food borne conditions that may be aggravated by harmatttan. The dust
blowing all over, transferring all kinds of micro-organisms could blow
on your vegetables, fruits and other kinds of foods, if you don’t wash
them properly and thoroughly, one could end up with food borne
Such are the damning effects of harmattan on both the healthy and
unhealthy. It is no gainsaying that more than others; children are also
easy victims of the all encompassing characteristics of the season.
Due to their fragile nature and developing immune system, experts have
identified that children that are not well protected during this season
could end up developing cold, chills, running nose, fever and other
ailments that could be of serious danger on the long run.
The effects of dusts on the eye during the windy season are more than meet the eye.
Furthermore, Dr Aderemi noted that the effect of dust during harmattan
is more on people that are always on motion, adding that itching and
redness of the eyes affect such persons more.
“There are some medical eye conditions that are common during harmattan,
part of it is what we call contact conjunctivitis. People will just
discover that their eyeballs are red and  itching due to dust deposit in
the eyes.
“We advise people that are always on motion, especially in this type of
weather, should protect their eyes the more. They should use goggle so
that there won’t be adverse effect from the weather on their eyes,” he
Researchers have identified some essential tips to stay healthy during the harmattan:
• Invest in body oil to retain moisture on the skin after bath. Do not
completely dry your skin after shower; about 10 per cent of moisture is
retained if you apply on damp skin.
• Use mild soaps to wash your face as harsh soaps and cleansing bars will remove all the oil on your face.
• Stop the use of facial cleansers and toners that contain alcohol or
astringents. Use only mild facial cleansers and toners. Facial cleansers
and toners with a neutral pH of 5.5 are best.
• Wash hair with shampoo and conditioner as usual.
• Don’t dry hair completely to retain some moisture in hair.
• Apply hair oil, pink oils, lotions and creams to hair daily or every
other day depending on hair type and severity of the weather  
• Use hair sprays to add shine to your hair.
• Scarves and hats are amazing accessories that can be use to protect hair and still be fashionable.

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