It is that time of the year when the weather is dry, cold and dusty. Environmentalists note that climate and anthropogenic factors are responsible factors for harmattan.

Research has also shown the correlation between the season and the spread of airborne diseases. Illnesses such as sore throat, frequent sneezing, watery or reddish eyes, catarrh dried skin and lips are common during this time.

Down below are strategies to take during this weather.

Remain indoors

A family physician and general practitioner with the Modibbo Adama University Teaching Hospital, Yola, Adamawa State, Dr Mohammed Yusuf, says that due to the dusty and cold atmosphere associated with harmattan, nasal discomfort, chapped lips and dry skin among other symptoms are common.

He adds that children are more vulnerable to the harsh effects of harmattan. Yusuf advises that children should be kept indoors during this period and when they are to go outside, they should be properly covered up.

Use steam inhalation

The doctor advises the constant use of steam inhalation during this period. Steam inhalation is breathing in steam of heated water to soothe and open nasal passages. The benefit of this is that since the weather and air are dry, dusty and cold, breathing in warm and moist air would help to calm nasal discomfort.

Yusuf says, “Also if you can, apply mentholatum on your nostrils to arrest the side effects of dust which is irritation. You can also encourage children to do this procedure.”

Take Vitamin C

To mitigate the effects of dry weather, the doctor advises the intake of vitamin C. Vitamin C has been found to improve skin health and hydration.

Dispose waste properly

Littered waste poses a threat of increased airborne diseases.

A Fellow of the Institute of Human and Natural Resources and a Climatologist, Imoh Ekpoh, warns that an environment without a proper waste management system is at risk of increased pathogens in the air and when inhaled by humans and animals will cause sickness.

Take care of your skin

A dry and cold wind is harsh on the skin and can lead to cracked and at times bleeding skin. The lips, palms and feet are mostly affected during this season. Skin conditions such as eczema are on the increase during this period. It is advisable to generously apply cream and ointment instead of a lotion.

In addition, wearing socks and applying cream will prevent chapped feet. Applying lip balm will moisturise and heal chapped lips.

Drink lots of water

It is advisable to increase water intake. This will help to prevent dehydration and protect the body from overheating. It is important to obey the body’s demand for water intake as the dry season is bound to dry up everything that comes in contact with it.

Take care of your eyes

Dry and dusty weather comes with wind and dust. It is one of the common causes of dry eyes. As a result, particles and debris can find their way into the eye and cause discomfort as a sting or burning sensation.

It is advisable to follow the 20-20-20 rule which states that after 20 minutes of looking at the screen, 20 seconds should be spent looking at an object 20 metres away. Also, remember to blink, avoid direct sunlight, and stay away from smoke and heat.