The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has announced an increase in the intensity of the harmattan due to dusty weather conditions across the country. The Association said the increased dust and general dry weather conditions as confirmed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Meteorological Services have seriously affected human health leading to increased respiratory conditions. In a press statement released on Friday, February 9, the GMA stated that individuals with asthma and other chronic respiratory conditions may suffer acute attacks or worsening of their conditions. The GMA also stated that the dusty conditions will reduce visibility on the roads, especially at night.
“People are also predisposed to dehydration due to the increased dryness of the air. Additionally, the dry weather condition is a risk factor for the outbreak of bushfires,” the statement read. To safeguard against these weather conditions, the GMA advised the public to wear face masks to reduce exposure to the dust, limit outdoor activities, especially for children and stay hydrated by drinking water liberally all day. Additionally, the GMA warned people living with asthma to carry their inhalers and take all prescribed medications. “Anyone who experiences signs and symptoms of respiratory conditions, e.g., cough, painful swallowing, runny nose, chest pain, or difficulty in breathing should report to the nearest health facility immediately. "Drivers are also advised to avoid over-speeding, especially on dusty roads and at night. The public is advised to avoid burning bushes and activities that lead to bushfires.” The GMA also advised that all roads under construction should be watered to reduce the dust.