We are once again in the thick of harmattan. The weather is cold and dry, and there is a lot of dust in the air. What can we do to minimize the effects it has on people with Sickle Cell?
During this season the weather can be very unpredictable. During the day it can get sweltering, and at night it can get frigid. In all situations, it is essential to stay hydrated. With the dryness in the atmosphere, it is very easy to lose fluids. Just because you do not, sweat does not mean you are hydrated. As much as possible, drink lots of fluids. When you are going out, take a bottle of water with you. This is very important for children since they are very active and are always running around and playing. Make sure they stay hydrated as much as possible.
It is crucial to stay warm, as well. Wearing more than one layer of clothing will go a long way to keep you warm. If possible, take a jacket or sweater with you when you leave the house. Avoid cold foods and drinks where possible. For children, make sure they are bundled up. Since they are young, don’t know the importance of this, but you should insist on it. Avoid sleeping with the AC or fan at night. The temperatures tend to drop at night. Also, take baths with warm water when the weather is cold.
Get as much rest as possible. Take naps when you can. The more rest you get, the better. It reduces your stress levels and keeps you healthy. When your body is stressed, it is hard for it to fight infections, and you will feel more tired than usual. Proper rest will go a long way to keep you healthy. Grab a good book, watch a good movie. Encourage your children to take naps as well. They expend a lot of energy during the day, so a good nap will really help them.
Always use moisturizers and lip balms. They prevent dryness and helps reduce dehydration. The dry conditions can lead to cracked skin and lips, which tend to be quite painful. Shea butter is a useful local moisturizer, and it is readily available almost everywhere.
And last but not least, make sure you take your medications regularly. Without this, everything else will not be beneficial. Stock up on your medications before they get finished. Always make sure you have extra stock in case of emergencies.
Written by The Sickle Life Editorial Team
(The writers are persons living with Sickle Cell Disease and Sickle Cell Disease Advocates from Sickle Life. All Views expressed are personal, please contact your doctor/counsellor for further information.)