Just as winter does for the west, the dry season heralds Nigerians to the end of year. The signs are everywhere: dry skin (because of obvious loss of moisture), cracked lips, sole of the feet and even the skin itself. Some cracks even become ulcerated.
The harmattan weather by its nature is harsh, and with this harshness comes a lot of adverse effects on our health and well-being.
The northern part of the country is worst hit by the cold weather, which starts in December and ends around the end of January. It is referred to as the ‘Nigerian winter’. The season, which may last a couple of months longer in parts of the country, presents a peculiar character requiring modifications in daily life experience, particularly with regard to health and travel.
The effects of harmattan are various, and mainly negative. However, here are some things you should use to protect yourself and your health during this season.
10 TIPS FOR COPING WITH THE HARMATTAN (DRY) SEASON
- Keep the skin and hair healthy by applying oily creams at regular intervals, especially on hands and feet that are exposed daily.
- Eat hot food. Eating hot soup is the best answer to the cold weather. It does not only warm you up, but fills your stomach. Coffee and cocoa are also good at warming you up, but they don’t do quite a good job of filling your stomach.
- It is also advisable that people improve on their hygienic pattern during this period. In the course of patronizing hawkers, fruits, vegetables and other such items must be thoroughly washed before eating to prevent food borne diseases.
- Those that are allergic to cold should endeavour to go for thick clothing that can cover them up. The skin can be kept healthy through regular use of appropriate jelly products.
- It is advisable to cover yourself well and wear thick cloth during this period so as to keep your body warm and protect yourself from cold. The dry, cold and dusty wind associated with Harmattan also triggers sickle cell crises in affected individuals.
- Stay hydrated. This just might be the sole most important tip to beat the dry season. The season itself is called ‘dry’, so our focus should be on staying moist and hydrated as much as possible.
- Keeping a lip balm in your pocket, car and handbag for constant applications will keep chapped, dry lips at bay.
- Increase your intake in fruits and vegetables containing vitamin C, water and other fluid intakes.
- It is also advisable to wear sunglasses to protect the eye from dust.
- Avoid antiseptic soaps during this weather. Use them only when you have a skin infection it is meant to treat. Use it even then for a short period and stop.
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.