Harmattan diseases: Medical expert assuages residents’ fear
By Damilola Kushimo
As the season of harmattan becomes fiercer, with haze and fog occupying the atmosphere in the early hours of the day and occasionally at dusk, medical expert, Hajia Busurat Safari has allayed the residents’ fear about any influenza or infection that are associated with the season, saying the diseases are seanonal while giving some preventive measures.
Speaking with Echonews correspondent, Safari, an Assistant Community Health Officer at Ire-Akari Health Centre identified cold, dry skin, asthma, cough and catarrh as common diseases that occur during the season, urging the residents to adhere to preventive and corrective measures.
Having recognised these health hazards as the most common ones in this season which might likely stretch till late march, Safari explained, ‘‘Cold is one of the expected sicknesses in harmattan, bathing should be done cautiously. You are expected to bath a new born baby just once in order to avoid pneumonia. If it is adult, bath with caution.
“Secondly, this weather is very dusty, people should stay away from dusty area probably, they can use their nose covers and try to stay away from area that is poor ventilated.
‘‘If you see someone carelessly coughing, you can help yourself because cough is a contagious infection. Sneezing also, is highly contagious. Without protecting our noses; we are not safe. So, anyone sneezing has to cover their mouth and nose properly, not with their palms but with the acute angle of their elbows, it is the ideal place to cover.’’
‘‘However, cough is very broad, going to hospital for early detection is the best. It may require you to do some tests, it is called Gene Expert Test and it is being done in General Hospital free of charge, if the cough is over two weeks from the onset.
“You’ll just walk towards the Direct Observation Therapy Unit DOT, in the general hospital. Or you come to the health centre, we have dispatch rider now that makes it easier for us. You fill the form, we will collect the specimen then we will call the dispatch rider and take the sample to the general hospital. In two days, the result will come and if it is Tuberculosis (TB), we’ll start the treatment immediately, we have the drugs here. Everything is free, be the test or the treatment,’’ she explained.
Furthermore, she stressed that residents should avoid overcrowded place and try to stay in a well-ventilated place, reiterating that malnutrition and poor intake of fruits are the basic causes of dry skin and coaxed skin in this season, urging that water should be taken adequately.
She also warned that asthmatic patients should desist from exposing themselves unnecessarily during the season especially the air conditioner.