This is the season when Harmattan creeps in with its tell-tale signs of dust, cold weather, cracked skin and allergies. As a result of so much dust moving around, this season brings along cough, catarrh, and sore throat.
Harmattan can be very deceptive. This minute, it is very hot, the next minute, it is cold; or the sun is shining, yet there is a chill in the air. Parents need a lot of wisdom when it comes to taking care of their children during harmattan.
So the question is; how do we protect and prepare our children during the harmattan season? Here are some tips that should help.
Care of the body
Bathe them with warm water. This protects against direct cold, and many children seem to love it! You can also decide to put some balm on their chests and the soles of their feet at night to stay warm.
With every diaper change, you may want to moisturize their buttocks. Some mothers do this with shea butter. After a warm bath, apply Rub on the sides, chest and feet. This keeps them warm.
Always moisturize their bodies – Shea Butter is a great product to stay moisturized. Some mothers also mix whatever cream they use with olive oil.
You may also apply a little Vaseline on the lips. You want to avoid the lips getting cracked and bleeding.
Give them lots of water to drink and fruits to eat as this helps to build their immunity.
Find ways to keep them warm; warm food, warm tea, this is a season to stay away from ice cream and chilled water.
This is a season to have an extra layer on, usually in the mornings when it is very cold you might want to wear a singlet or undershirt under their clothes. Also have a sweater handy at all times and they can dress up or down as the weather gets hotter during the day.
For the girls, please ensure that their hair is made and to keep it moisturized. You might want to let them spend more time in the house at this time to protect them from the dry, dusty air during Harmattan.
Deal with Cracked Skin
Dip black teabags into lukewarm water, when it is warm, place it over the lips.
Honey is very useful when it comes to broken lips. Apply it to the broken lips and leave it there. Good it is sweet, trust the children will come for more.
You can also use shea butter. Avoid using lip balms meant for adults as much as you can as children can lick these
It is common place to experience excessive sneezing, cough, catarrh and even nasal bleeding. Any pre existing chronic chest infection like asthma should be dealt with special precaution by reducing exposure to the dusty atmosphere, in addition they should have their inhaler with them all the times. The harmattan also triggers sickle cell crisis in those with sickle cell anaemia. Oxygen in blood is usually reduced in extremes of temperatures, like cold. Thus, patients with Sickle cell anaemia should be take precaution and keep warm as much as possible to prevent a crisis.
Prompt treatment of respiratory symptoms like cough, catarrh, and others is important so it does not lead to a secondary infection.
Asthma patients should be cautious. They tend to have more attacks because harmattan carries dust, pollen grains and other allergenic materials capable of triggering attacks.