How to cope during the harmattan season.

Aww!  Dried and cracked lips,  pale body,  runny nose,  excessive sneezing,  itchy eyes,  cold,  dry and dusty environment!  What is happening?  It is the harmattan season!  Harmattan is here again!
Harmattan is a season in West Africa,  which is a cold, dry and Northeasterly trade wind that blows from the Sahara desert towards west Africa which occurs between the end of November and towards the middle of March.
Harmattan is a period which people do complain of having dry skin, cracked lips, cold, pale body parts, running nose.
The cold and dusty environment harmattan bring is another challenge people do encounter. Most people do rub and shine when bathing (laugh) during this period. The haziness of the atmosphere known as fogginess makes it difficult to drive around causing inability to see from afar.

During this season, people with asthma are not favored, the season is detrimental to their health because the cold, dusty wind is a major triggering stimuli for recurrent asthma attacks. Don't fret at all! Keep calm! There are lots of measures to follow during this period to make you feel comfortable. Trust me you will eharmattanharmattann period by following the o's and don't to protect yourself and scale through this season without any recurrent asthma attacks.

Also, young ones are not left out during this period, You exposing to excessive cold can cause bronchopneumonia ( a type of pneumonia which is an inflammation of the lungs and bronchi due to an infection caused by viruses, Bacteria or Fungi causing inflammation of the alveoli in the lungs,  as a result, the alveoli is filled with pus or fluid) because some microorganisms such as streptococcus pneumonia, Haemophilusinfluenzas that causes respiratory diseases (asthma bronchitis, tonsillitis, and cough) are multiplied during this period as a result of the season associated with low humidity air and the weather is harsh to the respiratory tract!!!! So parents watch out!!! Exposing children to cold will cost you money on medical interventions, sleepless nights, excuse from work, stress, and anxiety. Be warned, prevention is better than cure.

Read also The benefits of fruits and vegetables; an approach to a healthy lifestyle.

Are you living with sickle cell anemia disease, you too can scale through this period though harmattan triggers sickle cell crises due to the reduction of oxygen in blood supply to the system. Be vigilant, keep warm and protect yourself. Don't be anxious, worry less, the following preventive measures will make you feel comfortable during this period of harmattan:

  1. Wear protective clothing:

  • For this season, wear your cardigan, blazer, sweatshirt, head warmers, hoodies, and socks. This will provide warmth for you.
  • Don't go out in light or loosened clothing. 
  • Kit up for kids when in or outdoor.  
  • Switch off air conditioners. 
  • Wear long-sleeve cloth which will prevent your skin from direct contact with the dry air.  
  • Wear below-knee gowns and skirts to prevent your wonderfully made legs from being exposed to harsh weather and turning pale (white patches).
  • Clothing should be made of thick fabrics, this protects you from cold and provide warmth.
  •  Don't forget to put on your inner cloth(singlet).
  • Mothers, back your babies to provide warmth and comfort needed for them.

2. Skin protection:

  •  Bath with warm water. 
  • Hydrate yourself with a lot of water, this will leave your skin refreshed. 
  • Make use of creams and lotions that have enough oil in them to prevent your skin from being dried and pale looking like 'Human leopard skin' white patches on you.
  • This is the best time to make use of your vaseline, coconut oil, shea butter, jojoba oil and olive oil giving your skin the best moisturizer. Do not use groundnut oil on your skin (LOL).
  • Make use of lip balm on your lips to prevent lips from cracking.  
  • Rub your chest, feet, palms and back with methylated balm. 

3. Hair protection:

Hair becomes unable to comb, stringy, brittle, dry out and falling off in large amount (This is what I hate about harmattan season). Very sure that you won't want to lose your full, shining and long hair to the cold hands of harmattan, Relax there are good tips for you:
  • Don't leave your hair undone. 
  • Use tepid water instead of cold water to wash your hair. 
  • Moisturize your hair with essential oils e.g coconut oil, shea butter, etc.  
  • Oil your hair often.  
  • Wear a protective hairstyle.  
  • Make use of scarfs when passing through a dusty environment. 
  • For guys with beards, condition, moisturize, trim and comb your beards, rub your beards with essential oils. 

4. Hygienic practices:

  • Wear a nose mask, it is affordable.
  • Wash curtains.
  • Dust rooms and furniture. 
  • Practice hand hygiene. 
  • Take plenty of fruits, especially those that contain Vitamin C, to help prevent cold and sneezing.
  •  Cut surrounding bushes. 

Are you living with asthma? Don't be anxious, the following tips will help you enjoy the harmattan period:

  • Keep your inhalers handy anywhere you go.
  • Always go out with nose masks.
  • Avoid outdoor activities.
  • Stay indoor.
  • Don't bath with cold or chilly water, use tepid water.
  • Wear protective clothing while indoor or outdoor (Sweaters, head warmers, hoodies, socks among others).
  • Mop floors instead of sweeping.
  • Don't stay in areas where smoking or burning or dust is.
  • Drink tepid water always.
  • Eat fruits that contain Vitamin C.
  • In case of severe rhinitis (catarrh) do steam inhalation. If symptoms persist, visit your health care provider.

People living in sickle cell disease can also comfortable harmattan during this period by following the tips below:

  • Stay warm during this period.
  • Increase nutrition intake.
  • Take a bath with tepid water.
  • Bath with tepid water instead of cold water.
  • Avoid cold drinks.
  • Avoid swimming in cold pools.
  • Dress in protective wears (cardigans, jeans, socks, hoodie,s, etc).
  • Parents should dress children in warm layers of clothing when indoors or outdoors.

    Following the above preventive and protective measures will help you enjoy and feel comfortable during this harmattan period.
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