Just as the western world is dry during winter, so the dry season or harmattan heralds west Africa from the end of the 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 the harmattan, which starts in November and runs through till around February. It is referred to as the ‘West African winter’. The season, which lasts 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 only 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.
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.
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.
We need to improve in 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.
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.
Keeping a lip balm in your pocket, car and handbag for constant applications will keep chapped, dry lips at bay.
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.
Protect the eye
It is also advisable to wear sunglasses to protect the eye from dust particles in the air.