Beauty and Health: Coping with Harmattan or Winter - HHM

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Sunday, 20 December 2015

Beauty and Health: Coping with Harmattan or Winter

Stay healthy during Harmattan and Winter Seasons

Harmattan or Winter 

The harmattan or winter periods are seasons characterized by cool temperature with increased dust (air pollution). This season always span from the month of November till the month of March, its severity depends  specifically on your location. Residents of Northern parts of the country always experience adverse effects than the southerners where there is little to no Harmattan.

This season is always accompanied by varying disease conditions. Major symptoms experienced due to the climatic conditions include catarrh, headache, running nose, rough skin, fever, peeling mouth, pains on palms and feets etc. Asthmatic patients always find it hard to cope with the increased dust and lower temperature as compared to healthy people because of an impairment in their Respiratory System.

Why do I feel this way during harmattan and Winter Seasons?

The season is accompanied with a SAD mode and depression that results from the reduced sunlight or drop in temperature that causes the brain to work overtime releasing the hormone melatonin that controls sleep, regulates the body activities including depression. This increased concentration of melatonin brings about some of the unusual feelings during harmattan:
  • Becoming more tired
  • Unable to Wake up early from bed or Sleeping late
  • Not hungry or over eating
  • Over drinking of water or  less urination
  • And every other unusual feelings that accompanies the season

Staying Healthy during the Harmattan season

Wears for Harmattan and Winter Seasons

Stay warm
Avoid hypothermia using synthetic/ wool fabrics; socks, gloves, hat and scarf to keep yourself warm and do not try to stay out door without covering up. If by peradventure water pours on your cloth remove as fast as possible because you will loss more water when your skin is wet.

Stay Physically active
Stay physically active during Harmattan and Winter Seasons You can; visit the gym , Take a walk/run, dance, Play tennis or football etc. Things that keep your muscle active tend to reduce the effect of harmattan up to 60%. During exercise your heart pumps more blood to your tissue and generates heat thereby keeping you warm. Regular exercise is very important towards staying healthy.

Eat healthy

Healthy diets for winter and Harmattan seasons
Eating a balanced diet often keeps your immunity active and provides for the overall function of your body. A healthy diet provides the brain with nutrients keeping it active because the brain controls the body’s thermoregulation (as it alters the body processes immediately a temperature change is sensed). In order to cope with temperature changes, diet from; cereals, legumes, fishes, meats, green leafy vegetables and fruits are suggested for you as it provides the nutrients required for  the body’s thermoregulation. Also consume a considerable amount of fat and oil daily as this is part of cell/tissue membranes and it serves as a shield against cold and also helps in generating heat during physical activity.  

The Sun as a Prescription for Harmattan and Winter Seasons 

The sun is known to be the primary source of heat for the living things. To counter the effect  of harmattan, we recommend going out on the early sun for the following reasons;
  •  It helps activates your body time by regulating the brain’s production of melatonin, an hormone that controls sleeping time.
  • the sun is the body’s source for Vitamin D
  • It helps in Body’s metabolic processes
  • The sun helps the skin in building a fine barrier against foreign bodies.

Take Care of your Skin during the Harmattan and Winter Seasons 

A healthy skin protects the body from foreign infections as it serves as the body’s humoral immune response. Caring for the skin may involve;
  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Protecting the skin from mechanical damages and keeping it always covered as it helps its regeneration.
  • Washing and disinfecting to keep the skin clean.
  • Applying soft Creams that are noncorrosive to the skin
  • Avoid leaving the skin dry without oil especially on parts like lips

Other topics


Protect against Dust during the dry season 

Due to increase dust during the season, Coverings should be provided for delicate parts so as to prevent the entry of dust to the body.
Eye glasses can protect the eyes while Nose mask can also prevent dust from entering the nose. Always take time to clean your nose canals and avoid clean shaving of hairs along the nose canal as this serves as a filter for the air.  

When should you see the doctor?
Report to your doctor immediately you start feeling symptoms of infection or abnormal signs that is not caused by the uncomfortable weather. Do well to explain in detail what you are experiencing so that the doctor can provide needed help.

Do not Try these things during Harmattan or winter seasons 

  • Do not try to Smoke as a way of raising your temperature during cold as this is unhealthy due to its association with clinical disorders like lung cancer.
  • Do not drink alcohol because you want  to feel warmth; this will overload the liver with detoxifying work and can result in liver failure.
  • Avoid all behavioural changes that may want to arise due to weather and try to avoid abuse of anything.

Author: Samuel Sunday
Posted : 13th December, 2015
Last Updated: 26th December, 2016