Dr Ibrahim Nasir, a dermatologist has advised people to ensure regular application of cream and jelly on the body to curtail skin diseases associated with harmattan, as the season sets in.
Nasir gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Hadejia.
Harmattan is a typical geographical feature of the Sahara and savannah region of West Africa, usually accompanied by cold, haze, dusty and dry weather.
It is characterised by strong wind, which blows south from the Sahara into the gulf of Guinea between the month of October and March.
The dusty weather condition portends negative effects on humans and animal health, affecting the skin, eyes and the respiratory system.
Devastating pollutants resulting from the dust often make life unbearable and expose people to infections.
Nasir said that diseases associated with harmattan weather could be prevented through good personal hygiene and sanitation.
He noted that the skin was usually dry with accompanying cracking of the lips and sole of the feet, while eyes became exposed to the dust particles carried by the wind.
The medical expert explained that such condition caused itching and redness of the eyes, especially in persons who were allergic to the weather.
He added that “respiratory infections are common, especially in children, due to high concentration of dust pollutants in the air, resulting to sneezing, cough and catarrh.
“Harmattan is not good for people with existing respiratory complications such as asthma and pneumonia; as the cold and dusty weather aggravate these conditions,” he added.
Nasir suggested that the skin should be kept healthy by applying creams, moisturizers, as well as lip balms to prevent cracking.
The doctor called for regular washing of the eyes with clean water and wearing of spectacles to reduce exposure to dust.
He further advised persons suffering from asthma and other chronic respiratory conditions to carry their inhalers along, wear warm clothes and adhere to precautionary steps to reduce exposure to the dust.
“People should wear warm clothes to keep the skin healthy. Wash fruits and vegetables before eating.’’