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Coping with hot weather-related diseases


The dry season is here again. It comes high temperatures and low humidity, which increases the likelihood of transmission of organisms causing diseases such as Cerebrospinal Meningitis (CSM), conjunctivitis, measles, chickenpox, cholera, skin diseases, diarrhea and vomiting among others.The Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMet), had earlier warned of climate-induced diseases such as malaria, cerebrospinal meningitis and respiratory diseases in many parts of Nigeria.

According to the agency, incidences of malaria and other diseases would be higher in areas with high temperatures in the range of 18 to 32 degrees Celsius associated with high relative humidity above 60 percent precipitation, while areas covered by thick vegetation that provide environmental conditions conducive for the survival of vector and development of malaria parasites were also prone to malaria spread.

It said states that require vigilance include: coastal cities of Lagos, Abakiliki, Eket, Calabar, Ogun, Ondo , Owerri, Ebonyi, parts of Kogi, Cross River, Benue, Osun, Delta, Kwara, Niger, Nassarawa, Benue, Plateau and Taraba states.On cerebrospinal meningitis, NiMet disclosed that low relative humidity, high temperatures, dry north easterly winds and surface dust conditions would encourage the spread of the disease up to mid-March.


Also, researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, in a study had pointed out a mysterious epidemic of chronic kidney disease caused by a combination of increasingly hot temperatures, toxins and infections.In the study, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that in recent years, chronic kidney emerged as a major illness among workers in hot climates.

However, NiMet also warned that heat-related ailments such as measles and heat rashes were expected during the hot season, noting that the information and projections provided will assist health policy makers such as the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to develop effective vaccination strategies to prevent outbreaks.

Meanwhile, the NCDC and partners have commenced preparedness activities, through the national CSM Technical Working Group (TWG). The TWG has completed a risk assessment exercise for prioritisation, and issued letters of alert to states to ensure adequate preparedness this season. NCDC is issuing this public health advisory note to members of the public to be aware of the risk and take appropriate precautions.

To prevent the spread of CSM, NCDC offers five important tips to members of the public:
*Avoid overcrowding and ensure adequate ventilation in the home
*Cover your nose and mouth with a disposable tissue or by blowing into the elbow when sneezing or coughing.
*Wash your hands frequently especially after coughing or sneezing.
*Visit a health facility if you have sudden high fever or neck stiffness for diagnosis and treatment
*All health workers are advised to practice universal care precautions at all times: i.e. wearing gloves while handling patients or providing care to an ill relative

It is very important to report to the nearest health facility immediately, if you experience any of the signs or symptoms listed above. If you notice any member(s) of your family or neighbourhood with any of the listed signs or symptoms, kindly encourage them to report to the nearest health facility. Early presentation to a health facility and treatment increases chances of survival.

Meanwhile, there are several other ways to prevent meningitis
Antibiotics can be given to help prevent meningitis this is because bacterial meningitis can be life-threatening, standard meningitis treatment involves delivering the antibiotics intravenously, through a vein. According to Nigrovic “IV [intravenous] antibiotics will ensure that high levels of the medicine will get into the central nervous system where the infection really exists.”

Antibiotics are typically given three times a day for 7 to 21 days, depending on the type of bacteria organism causing the meningitis and the type of antibiotic chosen. Patients are often in an intensive care unit of a hospital during meningitis treatment so that they can be watched carefully to be sure the antibiotic treatment is effective.
Avoid close contact with someone who has meningitis

Try to avoid any contact with fluid secrets from the victim’s mouth and nose (for example, kissing, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, sharing drinks or utensils)

Get vaccinated
Getting vaccinated against meningitis is considered as the most popular and effective way to prevent the disease.There are two main types of vaccines that are commonly used to protect you from meningitis. It is recommended that you should take a vaccine at age 11 or 12 and then have the second one when you are 16 or 18 years old. The reason for this is that people have more risk of getting meningitis between the ages of 16 and 21. If you plan to enter into the military or go traveling or migrate to another country in which meningitis is a common disease then take a vaccine is highly recommended.

In addition, getting vaccines that prevent some common diseases like measles, mumps, rubella, and chickenpox is also very useful because they can protect you from these disease as well as viral meningitis.


Don’t share personal items
Meningitis can be contracted when you come in contact with respiratory or throat secretions — saliva, sputum, nasal mucus — of someone who is infected, either through kissing or sharing personal items. You can prevent the spread of meningitis by not sharing items where secretions can lurk, such as drinking glasses, water bottles, straws, silverware, toothbrushes, lipsticks or lip glosses, and cigarettes.

Strengthen your immune system
In addition to protect yourself from outside factors, it is very important to protect from inside by strengthening your immune system.
If unfortunately you get exposure to factors that can cause meningitis, a good and healthy immune system will help in the situations like this. It works to fight against these factors and protect you from viruses and bacteria. Eating healthy is very necessary for a system to work effectively. So, remember to create for your own and family members a healthy diet with fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. Also, combine healthy eating with regular exercise and sleeping enough will bring more good results.

Take some supplements
Vitamins like A, C, E and D are very helpful in maintaining good health and decreasing the possibility of developing inflammation around the brain and spinal cord. The B family of vitamins supports the immune system as well as the nervous system, making it even harder for meningitis to develop. Don’t forget fish oils and other sources of fatty acids that help decrease inflammation in general and serve as food for the immune system.


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