Expert Cautions On Effects Of Harmattan 

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By: Mayen Etim

KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – The Director of Womenhood School of Health Science Kaduna, Nurudden Bello, has cautioned parents against exposure of their wards to cold.

The expert said parents should help keep their children and elderly ones warm to prevent diseases associated with the harmattan season.
Commenting on the current harsh weather condition being experience in the country during an interview with Journalists over the weekend in Kaduna; Bello said the extreme cold weather can cause serious health issues to children and elderly persons.

He identified such sickness as hypothermia on the elderly ones, adding that children can also be affected with cold related sicknesses.

The Director attributed the harsh weather condition in the county and some part of Africa to climate change, desertification, deforestation and environmental degradation.

He noted that exposure to cold can lead to low body temperature, hypothermia, frostbite and even death, adding that exercising in the cold can lead to heart attacks and stroke.

“Older adults can lose body heat faster than when they were young. Changes in body that come with aging can make it harder for an elderly person to be aware of getting cold”, he said.

Bello, who is also the Assistant Director of African Climate Reporters, stressed the importance of care for kids and elderly persons during a period such as the harmattan season.

“The reason why northern Nigeria and some parts of Africa are facing this kind of harsh weather is as a result of climate change, desertification and environmental degradation.

“The demand for charcoal and fire wood business is on the rise in the region. More forestry are turning into Sahara Desert, forcing all wild life migrating to safer lands.

He said there is need to sensitize the public on cold related diseases like respiratory infections such as conjunctivitis, common cold, asthma, cough, catarrh, tonsillitis, pneumonia, sickle cell crisis, eye problems, bronchitis, dry skin, and epitasis among others.

While giving tips on how to cope with extreme cold conditions for people if they must go outside, Bello said they should wear tights or long underwear cloths, wear mittens or gloves, socks and shoes, protect the eyes, lips, skin, neck, and face.

“The elderly ones must wear thick clothes to keep themselves warm, drink plenty water in order to prevent dehydration, wash their face regularly to avoid red eyes, and wear protective spectacles.

“People should always cover their nose and mouth with a mask. Regular exercise is also good for the body at this season for the mature adults. Wash your hands after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose”, he said, and warned citizens to reduce exposure to the dust.

Bello called on NEMA, SEMA and other environmental NGOs/CSO  to raise more awareness on the dangers of bush burning, and enjoined people to always bath with warm water.

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