HARMATTAN

HARMATTAN

Hello readers, I was just observing this funny yuletide season in Lagos and I was wishing I was probably in Ijebu or Osogbo because this Lagos heat is terrible, then it dawned on me, I sleep through my alarm at night but find it hard to enjoy my day due to the dry weather, I spread my clothes and in no-time they are dry, I rub my skin with extra virgin coconut oil yet my legs still appear white sometimes, oh yes, this is how we welcome harmattan in Lagos, so I thought to myself, a lot of people may be wondering why this season is unique, please keep reading to know how to get the best of this season.

Hi Harmattan is one of the two (2) distinct weather conditions we have in Nigeria, (and basically western Africa). It is characterized by a desert-like weather, cold, dry, and dusty north-east wind that blow from the Sahara Desert over West Africa. It usually appears during the last quarter of November till probably, mid-march and usually more in the northern states than in other parts. The temperature can be very unstable and there could be a significant difference between night and day, usually cold (at night) in most areas but can also be very hot during the day in certain places depending on the environmental situation. The humidity can be very low during harmattan therefore the environment is certainly dry. Basically, weather conditions contribute a lot to our health standard. During harmattan, due to the low humidity, our foods don’t get to spoil as quickly as in the rainy season but in reverse, harmattan could be damaging to crops. The haziness of the weather may also interfere with our breathing and we may develop cold and sore throat. Let’s take a few tips to enable us stay healthier during this season;

1. Hydration: It is important to increase the amount of fluids we take in as our body will need this to help us stay healthier, improve our skin, hair and nail. Water should be the most important during this season. Also fruits like watermelon can help make up our water.

2. Moisturizer; the dust around can make anybody exposed to it look dirty and unkempt. Since moisture will be lost more quickly due to the dust and dry breeze, the skin will look cracked and may be scaly, nose might start to bleed, lips get chapped, hair looks brittle, it is important to use oil based moisturizer on our skin, lips and hair, e.g Shea-butter (ori), eucalyptus oil, Vaseline.

These oils will help add moisture and nourish the skin and leave it looking fresh and smooth. Coconut oil use is more preferrable. Natural oils can be used to soothe the dry skin and promotes skin renewal. Also, Eucalyptus oil can be mixed with coconut oil which can be used on babies also. Lip balm and chap stick can soothe the lips as well.

3. Sanitation; our body is more prone to contracting air borne diseases like flu and common cold during harmattan. it is important to control the amount of dust in our homes as this will limit our exposure to diseases. Also, asthma patients should make sure their inhaler is not far away at all times as there are more cases of asthma crisis during this period. Immuno-compromised patients, old adults and young children should be properly taken care of. Warm or cold bath is necessary daily to renew and also hydrate the skin. A bath can also help reduce our exposure to infections in the respiratory system as it cleanses our nose, and reduces blurred vision. Burning should be avoided as much as possible as the dry and dusty wind can cause fire accidents.

4. Clothing; it is important to protect ourselves from the weather as it can be harsh on our body. Possession of face masks can reduce lung exposure to dust, handkerchief, tissue, hand-gloves may go a long way to help us through this season.

5. Proper Diet; adding vitamin c, taking more citrus fruits (oranges) can go a long way to help us against the flu. A hot cup of tea can help relieve our body, for coffee lovers like me, de-caffeinated coffee is preferred this season as caffeine may cause dehydration or better still, stick to warm beverage.

The best part of harmattan is that it ushers in the holidays, so yes, you can sleep through your alarm, for the 8-5 workers, this is your chance to stay fresh and resume the new year turning heads. And the entrepreneurs, this is a less worry time as rainfall is prohibited by this season. Although, travelling may not be as easy as the saturated air condenses, thereby, reducing visibility (looks like fog), but regardless, this can be a very good season if we can just enjoy it.

Thank you for reading, kindly turn on post notifications to get latest updates on our blogs. Please don’t forget to like and comment on this article. You can also share this article with your friends by copying the link. Have a wonderful season.

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