Chimamanda is a ten-month old baby still crawling but since the rainy season started, her mother has taken her in and out of the Primary Health Center close to them at Jikwoyi, a suburb in Abuja because of health issues.
At the rains increase, so the little baby’s cold, catarrh and occasional stoolling. The mother, a young woman, has complained that it is either ‘little Ammanda’ as she is fondly called is not responding to the drugs or that she is tired of visiting the hospital every other day.
Chimamanda is one of the numerous children, especially the under fives, who are presently suffering the consequences of this rainy season. Although there is some element of climate change as it affects the seasons, but the ugly effect of the cold weather has left its trails on people especially children.
As it is now, children constitute the major population of hospital patients because of the adverse effect of the rain on their health.
According to a consultant pediatrician ( who does not want his name in print) at the Wuse District Hospital, he said during the wet season, parents rather than ventilate their houses prefer to lock their windows to prevent the cold wind from entering.
He said that during this period, ‘’ what happens is that a lot of parents rather than ventilate the house, lock the windows and the children breathe in repeated air because the parents believe that they are protecting the children from cold.’’
According to the Pediatrician, the proper thing is to ventilate the room but cover the children because in the process of closing the windows the children pick up respective infections from adults.
‘’That’s one of the most common things that happen during rainy season. Change in weather occasionally lowers the weather temperature but does not cause respiratory infection. But because we lock up the windows, air is stagnant in the room and it leads to common respiratory tract infection. ‘’
Furthermore, infection can be contacted during the early part of the rains when feces with infections like cholera, E.coli (Escherichia coli) get washed down and infect vegetables and food materials, if not properly washed with water and salt, can cause diarrhea. Also improper hand washing can lead to infection.
Cough and catarrh is a symptom of another disease such as bronchitis, a viral infection and bronchial pneumonia which is a bacterial infection and often happens at this season. These are common cases now.
He said that he has seen many cases of such this period.
Another Medical Consultant has advised people to avoid undue exposure of their bodies during the rainy season to avoid the risk of cardiovascular diseases and viral infections.
A consultant family physician at the Federal Medical Centre, Ebute Metta, Dr Olagoke Usman who spoke with News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos’ said that undue exposure to weather was risky due to the low immunity of the body during the season.
Usman said that rainy season comes with a lot of health implications. ‘’It is a season whereby people contact more of viral infections.
“During rainy season, people have more of viral infections such as common cold referred to as catarrh, cough and those with adverse effects like asthma.
“Rainy season also comes with many water-borne diseases such as cholera, typhoid fever and so on. This is due to people’s poor adherence to proper hygiene.
“Many engage in open defecation, and during rainy season, the flood gathers all these human feces and other filth which come in contact with humans.
“Many put their legs inside the water, thereby contacting foot disease. The most deadly of this act is that this flood might find its way into the well people use as a source of water.
“With this act, there may be epidemic outbreak such as cholera and others.
“For the fear of communicable diseases, people should adopt right hygiene,” he said.
Usman said that other sicknesses were those associated with allergic reactions.
“During the rainy season, flowers will continue to blossom and grasses grow; this will make the gardeners to cut them and result to pollenisation.
“Wind carries this pollen and people who are allergic to it may inhale it resulting to attack, and this is not known to many.
“People with this condition need not wait before consulting their doctors; but most importantly, stay away from this trigger factor condition’’.
Medics advise that simple hygiene measures can help to prevent infection with the viruses that cause colds. These sanitary measures include, hand washing: an essential and highly effective way to prevent the spread of infection. Health workers advice that hands should be wet with water and plain soap, and rubbed together for 15 to 30 seconds before washing under running tap water. It is not necessary to use antibacterial hand soap. Teach children to wash their hands before and after eating and after coughing or sneezing.
Alcohol-based hand rubs are a good alternative for disinfecting hands if a sink is not available. Hand rubs should be spread over the entire surface of hands, fingers, and wrists until dry, and may be used several times. These rubs can be used repeatedly without skin irritation or loss of effectiveness.
It may be difficult or impossible to completely avoid people who are ill, although parents should try to limit direct contact.
Most children with colds need not be excluded from day care or school. It is likely that they spread the virus before they developed cold symptoms.
Using a household cleaner that kills viruses, such as phenol/alcohol may help to reduce viral transmission.

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