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Harmattan: How to avoid dehydration, kidney problems– Experts

As Nigerians experience the harmattan season, medical experts have advise them to ensure they drink enough water to avoid dehydration and some kidney-associated problems.

The experts, from University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Ibadan.

Dr Femi Popoola, a Consultant Community Physician, urged citizens to always stay warm and take lots of water, liquid and fruits.

Popoola listed some health-promoting measures during harmattan to include: wearing layered clothing to cope with the effect of cold.

The consultant community physician said that avoiding cold, dust, other irritating factors by people with asthma as well as other allergic conditions were also necessary.

“Always carry a water bottle, especially if you will be moving around outside, while you must drink water regularly and whenever you feel dry.

“Also, apply oil in your skin and other exposed areas like lips to avoid chapping.

“People with asthma and other allergic conditions should stock up on relevant prescribed medication or see a physician,” he said.

Popoola also advised people not to use antibiotics for coughs and catarrh, as they were mostly caused by viral agents.

According to him, over-the-counter remedies, such as menthol, lozenges and cough expectorants may help and be preferable.

“These measures could help to tackle common health issues people experience at this time, such as worsening of allergies (hay fever), respiratory infections, dehydration and tiredness,” Popoola said.

Also, a Senior Registrar in the Department of Medicine, UCH, Dr John Oladapo, enjoined citizens to pay attention to their health and water intake.

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Oladapo said that at this time, people should always apply oily creams that would go into their body to avoid dryness.

He further stated that the harmattan season could affect the generality of an individual’s wellness, especially in terms of hydration level, as one could be dehydrated.

“So if somebody does not drink enough water, such a person can experience dehydration which can lead to kidney problems and poor body functioning.

“Always wash your hands, get lip gloss to avoid having dry lips, avoid bush burning, eating of domestic rats, practise good hygiene and maintain good cough etiquette.

According to the medical practitioner, harmattan season comes with very dry wind and lots of movement in the atmosphere, while there is reduction in the water in the body.

Oladapo added that there could be increased tendency for people to have respiratory track infections generally, as they tend to have cough, catarrh and difficulty in breathing, among other ailments.

He enjoined citizens to be careful in exposing themselves unnecessarily, adding children particularly should pay attention to the surfaces they touch and the places they go.

“There may also be incidences of allergic conjunctivitis because the virus is moving around the atmosphere and it irritates the eyes which can make it difficult for the victims not to see clearly.

“It’s very important that people pay proper attention to their health in general, even as the year is coming to an end,” Oladapo said.

(NAN)

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