The other day, my cousin who recently relocated to America was telling me she ate Suya and Garri during thanksgiving because she was feeling homesick. She went on and on about all the foods she was missing and capped it up by saying,
“The snow wants to finish me here”. I laughed and told her to board the next available flight to Nigeria then.
I always look forward to the last weeks of the year because of the several festivities, events and happenings. It’s always a favorite time of the year for me and no doubt for many out there. The streets are gradually being decorated with beautiful lights and Christmas trees which is always a good sight to behold. Almost every night, there’s a party going on in the hood.
Also, it’s the season of harmattan aaarrrgghhh! Harmattan which is our own “snow” in Nigeria is a cold, hazy, dry and dusty northeastern trade wind that blows from the Sahara Desert over West Africa. It usually occurs between December and February. This is a period when many people avoid taking their baths because of the cold. In fact, getting out of bed is a challenge. He he.
The weather change causes the skin to dry often and turn white. It is also common to see people with cracked and peeling lips. The part I dislike the most is the dust which causes several ailments like catarrh, sore throat and cough. Err, the painful thing is the catarrh that dries in your nose and you find it difficult to blow it out.
Because it’s a season of love, warmth and definitely not the time to be sick, it is necessary to take care of ones health during this period. I’m going to be sharing some useful tips on how to get through harmattan.
- Stay hydrated: Drink lots and lots of water. Let me digress a bit. When we wash cloths during this period and spread it out, they dry quickly in a matter of hours or even minutes. In the same way, the cold harmattan air is quite harsh and dries the skin. No matter the kind of moisturizer you use, it’s still better to take care of you from the inside. Water helps maintain the skin’s suppleness, prevents dryness and energizes you.
- Eat lot of fruits and vegetables: They say prevention is better than cure. It is necessary to build your immune system this season. This is the period to eat right, especially foods that fight these diseases like flu and pneumonia. Foods rich in vitamin C and A like oranges, cucumbers, berries, leafy vegetables, carrot, ginger, garlic, turmeric etc are highly recommended.
- Get good moisturizers: A good way to avoid skin dryness this period is to use oil rich moisturizers. Moisturizers containing alcohol should be avoided as it dries the skin. I’d suggest shea butter, coconut oil and olive oil. These oils keep the skin fresh and hydrated hence they should be used copiously throughout the day. Oils are also good for the hair especially natural hair. The hair should be well moisturized to avoid dryness and breaking. Also, lip balms that contain beeswax are effective for dry lips.
- Keep warm: It is also important to eat healthy fat to keep warm. They include eggs, avocado, olive oil, fatty fish etc. You should also wear warm clothings that are wool based.
In addition to these tips, it is important to keep the home clean and dust-free as much as possible. Preventive measures should also be taken to avoid fire accidents since they are common occurrence at this period.
Are there other tips we left out? Let’s know in the comment box.