Mrs Osas Egwebe, a nutritionist at a private hospital in Asokoro, Abuja on Monday said that drinking a lot of water would help to prevent harmattan related infections.
Egwebe made the disclosure during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the harmattan season and measures people should take to be healthy.
She noted that when hydrated, the body flushes toxins and was kept refreshed all day.
According to her, eating lots of vegetables and fruits such as cucumber, watermelon, pawpaw and carrot among others helps to strengthen the immune system thereby protecting the body against infection during harmattan.
She said that eating lots of vegetable at the period helped to supply the body the essential vitamins and minerals that would help it to fight infections.
The nutritionist said that measures to take during the harmattan period to avoid infections and diseases included eating fruits and vegetables.
“Cover foods well to avoid contamination as it helps to combat infections during the harmattan season.
“Eat three meals a day or five small ones as well as keeping regular healthy routine are measures for having good and vigorous life during harmattan.
“Preserve all edible in a clean place to avoid food contamination and also eat only warm foods.
“Keep the environment tidy as well as washing of hands regularly helps maintain healthy life during the period,’’ she said.
Egwebe said that vegetables and fruits should be tied up in nylon bags to help to preserve their moisture.
She also encouraged the consumption of foods such as garlic and ginger, adding that it helped to reduce chest congestion and cough, especially for asthmatic patients.
The expert added that consumption of lemon was also encouraged due to its high content of Vitamin C, B6, A and Vitamin E among others which helped the body to function extensively.
A dermatologist, Mr Anthony Okon, in the same hospital said that drinking lots of water helped to hydrate and maintain healthy skin during the harmattan period.
He added that scrubbing of the body with mild moisturising soap promoted good circulation and improved the skin tone.
“Applying cream on damp skin helps retain moisture in the skin.
“Using body oil after bath helps retain moisture in the skin, especially the hands and feet.
“Keep warm by always wearing clothes that will cover you up properly to avoid unnecessary exposure of your skin to dry air.
“Do not use alcohol-based facial cleaners because they strip the skin of moisture and dried the skin,’’ he said.
“It is good to wear sunglasses during the period to avoid harmful dust invading the eyes.
“Use hydrating creams and lotions during the day and at night before retiring to bed.’’
The health expert admonished individuals to use lip balm to help to prevent the lips from cracking and bleeding.
Okon also said that there was the need to cover the nose properly and warned against picking of nose with fingers as it could lead to bleeding and infection.
He urged people to avoid the use of antiseptic soaps, saying that such soaps tended to make the skin dry.
Okon advised that hand creams be applied during the day and at night before bedtime, saying that it helped to keep the skin moist.
He said that asthmatic patients or those with respiratory conditions are prone to complications during harmatthan.
He advised that they should reduce their exposure to dusty environment as well as carry their inhalers to avoid attacks.