Home Health and Safety  Safety Tips for the Harmattan Season

Safety Tips for the Harmattan Season

by Dr. Cyprian Ngong


In Sub-Saharan Africa, the Harmattan season starts in mid-November and lasts till March. It’s a season that is shaped by cold, hazy weather conditions, atmospheric dust and dryness. The consequences of not managing yourself well in this season are dire. For this reason, you need to get yourself acquainted with the safety tips that will take you through the season successfully. If you are ready, here we go!

Pay attention to some health challenges associated with the Harmattan;

  • Asthmatic Attack (precipitated by floating particles which can cause constriction of the windpipe), sore throat, cough, catarrh and headaches should be watched out for.
  • Heat strokes are commoner in this season.
  • Skin injury due to skin dryness, since the skin is not properly hydrated, and it loses elasticity.
  • Fire accidents – Dry air can support widespread fire. Engaging in burning refuse can result to unexpected fire outbreak.
  • Road traffic accident due to foggy view especially in the early hours of the morning.
  • The eyes would be prone to redness, itching and conjunctivitis (what we popularly call Apollo) due to air particles that can cause eye allergies.
  • People that have sickle cell anemia are prone to crisis during this period.
  • Frequent dehydration, due to an increase in perspiration, sweating and urination.
  • There can also be an increased chance of meningitis especially in children and people with a weak immune system.

Top Safety Tips to Follow

The following tips will help you cope with the season:

1. Take enough water and reduce carbonated drinks:

This will help prevent dehydration since the season increases perspiration, sweating and urination. Also, it’s an advantage that the season starts towards the end of the first term of school for the children. As a result, you can get a bigger water bottle for them and encourage them to take more water during school.

2. Reduce outdoor play for the children:

You cannot monitor the way your children play at school, but you can watch them at home.

3. Use oily creams and lip gloss to avoid skin dryness:

This will help moisturize the skin and prevent crack lips. Shea butter is good too.

4. Avoid burning refuse: Dispose your refuse properly. It is advisable to use the central waste management system available in your city.

5. Monitor asthmatic relatives:

If any of your family member is prone to asthmatic attack, let their inhaler always be with them. Double-check on that. Let them avoid dusty places as well.

6. Properly clean your rugs, duvet and curtains. Launder them for the season.

7. Get some over-the-counter medications:

You can add some anti-allergic, fever relieving, Vitamin C supplements and pain medications in your first aid box.

8. Avoid self-medication:

During this season malaria is usually less because the breeding grounds for mosquitoes such as stagnant water would have dried up. So always see your doctor when down with a febrile ailment. KompleteCare™ is just a click away!

9. Wear comfortable outfits:

Wear outfits that will keep you warm during the night and cool during the hot afternoon. You can inform your child’s teacher to take off their cardigan in the afternoon when the temperature is high.

10. If you stay close to the mountains, be mindful of reptiles. The heat can chase them out of their hiding during the day. Avoid pilling wood or objects against the wall in your compound so the reptiles won’t find hideouts. I don’t want to frighten you with the word snake, but there, I just did it.

11. Take vitamin C supplements, fruits and vegetables, they are good in preventing flu. Vitamin C is rich in antioxidants and can boost your immune system.

12. Be wary of flying: Flights tend to get cancelled or rescheduled a lot during harmattan due to intense haze. Avoid flying if possible and go for other means of transport instead.

13. Rinse your eyes with clean water and reduce your exposure to dust by wearing protective spectacles.

14. Persons who suffer from Sickle Cell Anaemia should be vigilant and keep warm as much as possible to prevent any crisis.

15. Due to the dusty atmosphere, we should practice a healthy food preservation culture. Fruits and vegetables should be properly washed before eating and those of us that store our drinking water should always ensure that the containers are always covered.

16. Take your required and recommended shots. Remember cerebrospinal meningitis vaccine.

Moving Forward

There you have them, 16 whopping safety tips! Utilize these tips and hammer away the 2020 harmattan and beyond!

Medical Disclaimer: KompleteCare™ aims to improve the quality of life for everyone with fact-based content about the nature of diseases, preventive care, behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.


Dr. Cyprian Ngong

You may also like

Leave a Comment