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‘What to do to stay healthy during the harmattan’

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Within the last few days, the country began to experience the harmattan season. It usually occurs from the end of November to March and is often characterized by a cold, dry, dusty wind in the evenings until the early hours of the mornings. According to Gurama Gurama, a pharmaceutical microbiologist and bio technologist, there is little amount of water in the atmosphere (low humidity) during harmattan, and that increases the spread of infections or diseases.

He said common health problems during harmattan season include common cold, asthma, sickle cell crisis, eye problem (Appollo), catarrh, bronchitis, pneumonia, dry skin, tonsillitis, nose bleeding, bronchitis, burns, and road traffic accidents among others.

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Gurama who is also a lecturer with the Faculty of Pharmacy, Gombe State University, said the following practices could be adopted to cope and stay healthy during the season :
Wear thick cloths to keep you warm particularly children and the elderly.
Also drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration, at least 1.5 – 2 liters per day.
-Wear protective devices on the eyes (spectacles) and also cover the nose and mouth, possibly with mask.
-Apply oily creams to the body to keep the skin healthy.
-Also apply lip balms and oily cream to the soles of the feet, it will help to prevent them from cracking.
-If asthmatic, reduce exposure to dirty and dusty atmosphere and always keep the inhaler or your emergency drug handy.
-Wash raw foods such as fruits and vegetables properly before eating to prevent the spread of infections.
-Don’t underestimate the importance of exercise, no matter how little. It burns fat like cholesterol and enhances the metabolic activities within the system that produces heat and counteract the effects caused by harmattan. Gurama advised the public to switch off all electrical appliances after use and quench naked fire when not in use to prevent burns.

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