In many African countries, there are two distinct seasons: a wet season and a dry one.
The dry period starts from late October and lasts to early March with peak dry conditions between early December and late February. The period witnesses the prevailing influences of the dry and dusty north-east winds, as well as the ‘harmattan’ conditions.
Thankfully, this is a period of no flooding and as such, pests like mosquitoes are fewer. The dry weather makes this the optimum time to visit for beachgoers; especially as cool ocean breezes help to keep temperatures bearable.
The dryness in the environment comes with its own effects that need to be dealt with for both adults and children:
This is the time to bring out that moisturizing lotion. Some people like to use oily body products but you will realize that the oil clings to the dust and water-based moisturizers are much better. Ultra violet rays of the sun directly shines on our skin and could damage it – protect your skin.
Harmattan dust increased cases of respiratory infections such as asthma, cough, catarrh, tonsillitis, influenza, and pneumonia because it carries dust, pollen grains and other allergenic materials capable of triggering attacks. It can trigger asthma and bronchitis attacks as well as cause cold, cough, catarrh, and even meningitis.
Do wear appropriate clothing; it’s hotter during the day and cool at nighttime. Sunglasses come in handy to protect the eyes, where the winds are quite dusty and harsh.
Salty foods and not enough fluid intake can make your skin feel dry, as well as certain medications like diuretics used for high blood pressure. In addition to drinking more water, try adding extra water-rich foods to your diet, like leafy greens, cucumbers, celery, tomatoes, and strawberries.
Protective hairstyles like braids, cornrows and wigs are great for the season because they make it easier to access your scalp when you need to oil it. Remember to keep your conditioning spritz/mist at hand for remoisturising your hair. Silk or satin scarves are a trendy way to protect your hair from the weather. Choose natural oils as they absorb better and don’t clog pores.
Your Water Counts
The fact that people get thirsty more often than in the rainy season means that they would need more water. Do drink a lot of water to stay hydrated and prevent heatstroke. Drink potable water so as not increase the chances of contracting diarrhoea, cholera and upper respiratory tract infections. A study once showed that drier climate may spread diarrhea. If in doubt, boil your water and allow to cook before drinking.
Dry season is a good time to clear your drainages (if you have any open ones) of refuse and potential drainage blockers. It is important to mend broken down roads and infrastructure.