January 30, 2023

Amarachi Okeh

A Professor of Public Health, Tanimola Akande has said that Nigerians can keep safe during the harmattan period by vaccinating against respiratory infections that are often common in the dry season.

Professor Akande noted that respiratory diseases are common, especially in children during the dry harmattan season, noting that getting vaccinated against those infections is the best way to prevent them.

According to the health expert, during the dry season, respiratory diseases like rhinitis, bronchitis and pneumonia are often prevalent during harmattan, adding that when Nigerians can be shielded against these diseases when they get vaccinated.

Speaking with Reportr Door HealthWise, the health expert said, “Harmattan period usually comes with dryness and dust. This allows for an increase in the spread of upper and respiratory tract infections such as rhinitis, bronchitis, and pneumonia.

“Asthmatic attacks are more during harmattan. Symptoms of these diseases like catarrh, cough, and fever are commoner during harmattan. There is also the tendency for dry skin and lips during harmattan.”

He further warned that if children contract diseases like pneumonia and it is not well treated, it can turn deadly for the child, same for asthma.

According to Mayo Clinic – a medical center focused on integrated health care, education, and research, pneumonia can affect anyone of any age but children below two and people above 65 are the most at risk.

If not well treated, complications from the condition can include sepsis, bacteria in the bloodstream, difficulty breathing and fluid accumulation around the lungs, Mayo Clinic said..

In addition to vaccination, Prof. Akande said, avoiding a very dusty environment and use of a face mask is highly recommended during the dusty harmattan season. 

Also, keeping the body moisturised by using moisturising creams, increasing water intake to retain the body’s level of hydration, and keeping the body warm with appropriate clothing are necessary during the dry season, Akande said.

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