Just as the western world is dry during winter time, so the dry season or harmattan heralds west Africa from the end of year to the beginning of a new year. This weather is characterized by dry dusty air coming from the Sahara desert.
You don’t need a rocket science to tell you when harmattan starts because the signs are everywhere: dehydration, dry skin (because of obvious loss of moisture), cracked lips, sole of the feet and even the skin itself. If care is not taken, some cracks even become ulcerated.
The weather of the harmattan season is harsh by nature, and the season comes with a lot of adverse effects on our health and well-being.
The northern part of the country is worst hit by harmattan, which starts in November and runs through till around February. It is referred to as the ‘West African winter’. The season, which last a couple of months is longer and more severe in the northern parts of the country, presents a peculiar character requiring modifications in our daily lifestyle, particularly with regard to health and travel.
Harmattan season usually comes with dryness and dust because there is little amount of water in the atmosphere(low humidity), this increases the spread of infections or diseases such as dry skin, dehydration, cold, cough, catarrh, asthma, bronchitis and pneumonia.
However, here are some things you should use to protect your health and your family during this season.
How To Stay Healthy In The Harmattan Season
1. Apply Oily Cream:
Keep the skin and hair healthy by applying oily creams at regular intervals, especially on face, hands and feet that are exposed daily.
2. Drinking hot tea:
Drinking hot tea or eating hot food is the best answer to the cold weather. It does not only warm your body up, but fills your stomach. Lemon Ginger Tea or Turmeric Ginger Tea are also perfect at warming you up, This tea in combination with honey will help to soothe the dry irritated areas of the throat and give you the comfort you need. Honey is a natural remedy for sore throat and cough.
3. Healthy hygiene:
We need to improve on our hygiene during this Harmattan period because there is so much dust in the air. We should thoroughly wash our food items must especially our fruits, vegetables and other such items before eating to prevent food borne diseases.
Wearing the right clothes in the right weather helps to prevent common cold and cough. Thick and heat absorbable clothes keep heat released from the body trapped inside and limit radiation of heat to the surroundings. Hand gloves and well-covered shoes also provide enough warmth that you need.
The dry, cold and dusty wind associated with Harmattan also triggers sickle cell crises in affected individuals. Always keep warm during this season
5. Stay hydrated:
This just might be the sole most important tip to beat the dry season or Harmattan season. The season itself is called ‘dry’, so our focus should be on staying moist and hydrated as much as possible. Drinking lots of water and Teas like the English Breakfast Tea will do just that.
6. Lip balm:
Keeping a lip balm in your pocket, car and handbag for constant applications will keep chapped, dry lips at bay.
7. Eat fruits and veggies:
These are good sources of vitamins and minerals. They contain a high water content, which helps to reduce dehydration caused by the dry air this period. The fruit also helps fight infections and build immunity against a chronic cough and other infections associated with common cold.
8. Protect the eye:
It is also advisable to wear sunglasses to protect the eye from dust particles in the air
9. Avoid Antiseptic Soaps:
During Harmattan season, avoid the use of antiseptic soaps because it drys and dehydrates the skin. Use them only when you have a skin infection it is meant to treat. Use it even then for a short period and stop.
10. Drink Nozie Tea Everyday:
Yes! Drinking Nozie Tea everyday will not just keep you warm, it will benefit you in numerous ways. Boost immunity, detoxification, anti-aging, brighten your sight, relieve stress, improve digestion, nourish the skin, increase energy and strength and many more!
Every season comes with its own challenges. It is therefore, the collective responsibility of everyone, not only to adapt to changing environment conditions, but also to adopt individual and joint strategies to confront all challenges associated with the harmattan season.