As harmattan gradually gets more severe, a surgeon, Dr Nura Ahmed, has advised parents to protect their children against infection by ensuring that they wear warm clothing.
Ahmed gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Hadejia.
NAN reports that the harmattan is a geographical feature of the Sahel and Savannah region of West Africa, characterised by cold, haze, dust and dry weather conditions.
It is usually accompanied by strong winds, blowing south from the Sahara into the gulf of Guinea between the month of November and March.
The dusty weather condition portends negative effects on human and animal health, affecting the skin, eyes and respiratory system.
Devastating pollutants from the dust often make life unbearable and expose the inhabitants to infections.
Ahmed noted that children often become susceptible to asthma, bronchitis and other diseases due to exposure to extreme cold.
He, however, said that diseases associated with harmattan could be prevented through proper care and personal hygiene.
The medical practitioner, therefore, advised mothers to ensure that they bathe their children regularly.
“Respiratory infections are common, especially in children, due to the high concentration of dust pollutants in the air resulting in bronchitis and other diseases.
“Harmattan is not good for people with existing respiratory complications such as asthma and pneumonia; cold and dusty weather aggravates these conditions.
“Parents and caregivers should give special attention and wear warm clothes on children to keep them healthy. It is also good to wash hands, fruits and vegetables before eating,” he said.
Ahmed urged persons suffering from asthma and chronic respiratory conditions to wear a respirator to reduce exposure to the dust.
According to him, the skin and eyes need special care in cold weather conditions.
The medical practitioner added that the skin was usually dry with accompanying cracking of the lips and soles of the feet, while eyes became exposed to the dust during this season.
He said such condition caused itching and redness of the eyes, especially in persons prone to eye diseases.
Ahmed urged that the skin be kept healthy through the application of creams or jelly. (NAN)