The harmattan weather starts the dry season and is characterized by intense dryness, low sunshine and a bit of coldness, especially in the morning. In Ghana, people in the mid and northern part of the country suffer the most from the harsh conditions of the harmattan.
In this writing, I will give you sometips to help you live this weather with minimal negative impact on your health and life. The harmattan weather starts in sometimes in November or early December – this varies year after year. It continues in January and goes away in February or March.
Some health conditions associated with the dryness which come with the harmattan are headaches, dry throats, sore throats, patched skin, dry and sore lips, dry feet, stuffy nose, cold and dehydration.
Apart from these health conditions, during the harmattan season, a lot of dust is generated in the environment. This is caused by the dryness of the ecosystem as well as the earth. So much dryness occurs to the extent that trees shed off their leaves, green grasses become brownish in colour and dried. In some communities, shortage of water is experienced; meanwhile thirst is felt soon after drinking water.
How to live
Drink a lot of water: Due to the dryness of the ecosystem which also affects the human body, it is important to stay hydrated during this season. Drinking enough water is encouraged. Dehydration has some medical conditions like fatigue, short breath, and general weakness. As a result you must drink enough water to stay safe from such health conditions in the harmattan season.
Use lubricants: Shea butter is mostly recommended for use in this season of utter dryness. It can be used on the lips, face and on the body against dryness of the skin. It contains antioxidants which help fight skin complications and nourishes the skin. Other creams and lubricants like Vaseline, olive oil, baby oil are also good for use against the harmattan.
Bath regularly: Since harmattan causes dryness of the ecosystem, keeping the body clean by bathing regularly is a plus. Dryness of the ecosystem produces heat which may result in sweat. Sweat causes itchy skin. I recommended bathing at least 3 times daily during the harmattan season. It is often very cold in the morning; bathing with warm water may help keep the body warm.
Wear long socks: Naturally, during the harmattan season, it is important to wear long socks to ward off any dust. This tip will be beneficial to people who do not wear trousers or shoes. So if you put on shorts, with or without shoes and boots, it is advisable to wear socks, especially if you wear slippers or sandals.
Eat regularly: By experience, I can say this is a weather which causes hunger regularly. You eat and get hungry real quick. If it is recommended to drink a lot of water, then it is as good to eat enough and on regular basis. I also recommend eating more fruits like water melon. Water melons contain enough water. Oranges are also good because they contain vitamin C which is good for the skin.
Stay indoors: If you have nothing doing outside, I suggest you stay indoors and keep yourself cool, calm and warm. There misty substances in the air which cause a lot of pollution in the atmosphere. These particles are dusty and can be seen from a distance like fog, though you cannot see it around you. Inhaling the polluted air outside can cause headache, dry and patched lips, stuffy nose and sore throat.
Practice these tips and harmattan will not be a problem to you.
Put together by CY