• Harmattan or the dry season in West Africa usually occurs between November and March.
• The wind which blows from the Sahara Desert over West Africa is characterized by dirty, dry and dusty weather.
This ushers cold mornings and nights. And the afternoons get hot especially when it is approaching the rainy season again.
It is also usually sunny in the afternoon as there is hardly any cloud cover from the sun. Temperatures can go as low as 9 °C at night and early mornings. But sometimes in the afternoon, the temperature can also go as high as 33 °C while the relative humidity drops rapidly. This makes visibility to become poor due to haze.
This season of dry winter wind usually carries a whole lot of dust with it. Hence most people in the West African region are prone to cough and catarrh. And also the fluctuation in the temperature isn’t really conducive for many.
This weather is welcome by some saying they love the cold nights and mornings. But not others who hate the dryness and dust that it brings. The weather has many effects on people.
The harmattan wind increases fire risk and the amount of dust in the air limits visibility and also causes difficulty in breathing fresh air. Hazy days can ground flights and postpone trips several times.
Since humidity is low, it is not uncommon to see people with chapped lips and even nosebleed for some. It causes flaky dry skin, eyes, dry respiratory system and can make breathing difficult for asthmatics.
Frequent sneezing, cough and catarrh are very common in this season.
But all of these can be minimized if you have the right essentials with you. Carrying these items with you every time will protect you getting the harmattan flu. Always protect yourself from getting your skin and health affected by the weather.
And this is why NaijaFamilyBlog has listed some items out to help people cope the season.
Today’s post will show you the items you should have with you or use every time you’re stepping out.
These 10 Items are essential during the harmattan season
1. Hair Treatment
You need a good hair treatment in the dry season to avoid dandruff and itchy dry scalp. Water should touch your scalp as much as possible and then a hair treatment to avoid hair breakage. Do not to apply in excess as it can also attract plenty of dust. Wear a head warmer if possible to keep the dust away. And maybe a hat or fez cap to protect from the harsh sun in the afternoon.
2. Sunglasses/ Sunshades
The sun shines its best this season too as there is no cloud cover. It can be blinding to walk under it too. You need photochromic sunglasses to shade your eyes from dust and the sun rays. Get a good pair to always carry with you especially for the afternoons.
3. Lip Balm/ Lip Gloss
Chapped and broken lips are one of the effects of the weather on your skin. It can even cause bleeding and prevent you from cracking a bold smile. Get you a lip balm or gloss to carry along always. Apply it when you notice dryness especially after bathing and eating. Make sure you get a product that is not harsh on the lips as the lips have delicate skin.
4. Dust Mask
A dust mask is a must-have essential for this dry harsh weather. To prevent the inhalation of excess dust in the air causing catarrh and cough which, in severe cases, can also lead to a sore throat. Make sure you breathe through your nostrils most of the time as breathing through the mouth can cause dryness quickly.
You can opt for a dust mask that is disposable after use. Or get one that can be washed and used again.
5. Moisturizer/ Lotion
Your natural upholstery needs to be oiled well this season. Allowing the skin to break can invite germs into the body. Since the skin gets dry easily you take to use moisturizing creams and petroleum jelly often to keep moisture sealed in.
Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula and Vaseline Petroleum Jelly are a good combo to keep your skin from breaking in harmattan. Use well especially for the arms, elbows, knee, shin, ankles and feet to prevent dryness and whiteness. Make sure you grease every crease.
6. Jogger Pants
Jogger pants don’t only help you to conceal moisture but cover your legs from the dust and hide you from turning ‘white.’ They also cover the bony shin as that’s where the cold gets in from.
7. Sweater/ Jacket
The mornings and evenings are usually very dry and cold. You need a sweater or a jacket to stay warm even if you are indoors. It is not uncommon to see people dress funny these periods as everyone is trying to ward off the cold.
Socks this season are not worn just because you use them with shoes. Even indoors, especially when you have a tiled floor, you need them for walking around the house. This will cut out the sneezing and ease the flu. Try as much as possible not to walk bare feet as you will lose heat.
9. Hand Gloves
Not everyone may need the gloves especially indoors. But if your fingers to go numb and you can barely grab anything when your hands touch cold water then you may need them.
10. Bottle, Water
You need to be hydrated as much as possible during harmattan. You may get tired easily if you are losing more water than you are taking. If you notice the colouration of your urine is very yellowish and almost brown then there is a high chance you need to take water more. And often too.
Hydration will keep your skin from breaking, and also water your throat and alleviate the dryness.
Have a bottle of water with you always. And if you can, carry along a water bottle with warm water always with you.
Warm water is very good for your throat if you don’t want to catch a sore throat.
Fruits and veggies are good this time. You can dice a couple of fruit slices into your water like cucumber. It’s very refreshing. And they contain vitamin C to help your immune system and also repair broken tissue due to the harsh weather.
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