Harmattan: How to avoid spread of communicable diseases – doctors

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Lagos – Doctors have advised people to protect their bodies against various communicable diseases that go with harmattan period.

They gave the advice in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos. Harmattan is usually a dry and dusty period associated with low humidity which simply means there is very little amount of water in the atmosphere.

As a result, the weather appears harsh to the hair and skin. Dr James Asoka, Medical Director, Sheffi Hospital, Egbeda, Lagos, said that harmattan season had health implications like pneumonia, asthma, nasal congestion and other health complications that might arose because of the dust.

“People should wear warm clothing to minimise the likelihood of contracting these communicable diseases, “he said. Asoka also said that the skin should be well protected against the effect of harmattan which could have vast damage to the body.

“It is also safer sometimes to wear sunglasses to protect the eyes, where the winds are quite dusty and harsh to prevent infection,“ he said. Dr Olaleye Adewale, a medical practitioner at the General Hospital, Gbagada, Lagos, advised people to always keep away from the dusty environment to guard against possible ailment.

“People should ensure that their windows are being closed always to avoid dust which can trigger asthma and sickle cell disorder,” he said. Adewale said, “Due to the dusty atmosphere, there is need to imbibe healthy food preservation culture, especially food hawkers such as fruits to prevent food borne diseases. “Fruits and vegetables should be properly washed before eating. Our drinking water containers should also be properly covered, “he said.

Also, Dr Femi Alade, a pharmacologist at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, Lagos, said that harmattan was a natural hazard that people have to live with.

“The season has caused a general drop in the temperature, poor visibility caused by the dusty haze and a complete adjustment in the dressing pattern by individuals. “People should adapt to this weather by adopting personal and collective measures to maximize the health benefits accrued to it,” he said. (NAN)

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