Dr Arikawe Adeolu, a medical practitioner at the Federal Medical Centre, Jabi, Abuja, has recommended the use of nose mask to prevent infections mostly transmitted during the harmattan season.
Adeolu said certain kinds of diseases were more common during the harmattan because the weather provided a better condition for transmission of the diseases.
He listed some of the diseases to include: conjunctivitis commonly known as apollo, the flu, the common cold, and catarrh among other infections.
He said that to prevent from contacting any of the viruses that caused the infections, it was important to limit exposure to the dry and dusty weather.
“Harmattan is a dry and dusty weather which we experience in this part of the world.
“It is brought about by what is called the ‘North-easterly Trade Wind’ which blows from the Sahara Desert over the West African sub continent to the Gulf of Guinea.
“While blowing over the Sahara Desert, it picks fine sandy particles and blows it over this same region and that is why harmattan seems to reproduce the conditions you have in the desert.
“It is dry and dusty and this alone causes some form of discomfort to the human body.
“Harmattan can worsen your health, so extra precautions should be taken like using nose mask to prevent the air from getting into the body system.
“The weather provide for easy transmission of the flu and even the common cold virus so you have people coming down with catarrh, chills and general body ache.
“Usually the nose is the first partaker of any disease condition that could arise from this weather because it is through the nose that we breathe in air,” Adeolu said.
He advised against coming in contact with infected persons to prevent transmission of the diseases, adding that if contact was made, the hands should be washed with water and soap.
According to Adeolu, one way of transmission is for an infected person to cough or sneeze close to someone who is not infected.
He said that another means of transmission was when an infected person shook hands with another after coughing into his or her hand.
He noted that there was also an increase in cases of meningitis during this period and urged those living, especially in the northern part of the country to ensure they got a Meningococcal Vaccination.
He advised that a lot of water be taken during the harmattan as the weather increased ones likelihood of getting dehydrated.
He said that once an individual became dehydrated the body’s ability to prevent certain disease conditions could be reduced.
Adeolu also advised that professional medical advice be sought in case of any signs or symptoms of the diseases. (NAN)
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