Nigerians have been warned by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, (NiMet) to brace up for an “above danger heat stress” which may likely be experienced this year due to the combination of heat and humidity.
According to the agency, the heat when experienced for too long could cause heat stress which may, in turn, lead to several illnesses collectively called “hyperthermia”.
In its 2017 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP), NiMet warned that older people could have a tough time dealing with heat and humidity, as most people who die from hyperthermia globally each year were over 50.
Other heat-related complications NiMet highlighted include; heat syncope, heat cramps, heat edema, heat exhaustion and heat stroke, adding that Nigerians were no exception. Explaining further, the agency said:
“Heat syncope is a sudden dizziness that can happen when one is active outdoors in hot weather.
“Heat cramps are the painful tightening of muscles in your stomach, arms or legs which can result from hard work.
“Heat exhaustion is a warning that your body can no longer keep itself cool as people might feel thirsty, dizzy, weak, uncoordinated and nauseated accompanied by lots of sweating.
“Heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke where people need to get medical help right away.
“Older people and people who become dehydrated or those with chronic diseases or alcoholism are at most risk.”
NiMet also sensitized Nigerians of the meteorological dangers of malaria, calling on the health sector to be better prepared to deal with the deadly disease.
In its report, the agency disclosed that ‘plasmodium falciparum’, a protozoan parasite that causes malaria found in Nigeria was the most dangerous of the malaria parasites.
According to NiMet, the process of mosquito birth and bites is directly influenced by rainfall, temperature, and humidity which gives rise to differences in stability of disease transmission and seasonal variations.
The agency revealed that Benin City and its north ends are likely to experience high to extreme mosquito population throughout the year 2017. To the north of Benin City, risk in mosquito population is expected to grow with rainy season months.
On the other hand, lowest mosquito population risks are to be expected in areas north of Yelwa, Zaria, Bauchi and Yola axis in 2017.
NiMet said it hopes to develop a partnership with the health sector and others involved in malaria control through partnership on data collection on mosquito population and infected population to improve its malaria forecast model.
More so, the agency predicted that neutral El-Nino Southern Oscillation – variation in winds and sea surface temperatures phase, was most likely to dominate the January to June weather system across the country in 2017. The ENSO phase was expected to give way to a dominant El-Nino phase through the end of the year.
Last week, NiMet’s DG, Prof. Sani Machi disclosed that there will be early onset rainfall and early cessation in many parts of Nigeria, especially the northern part.
Machi stated that the onset date of the growing season was predicted to run from February 25 over the coastal states to June 16 in the far north.
He added that onset was also predicted to be normal in many areas, explaining that it would be early in parts of the northwest, the eastern flank of Adamawa and Taraba as well as the coastal states.
According to him, cessation dates of the rains in 2017 are predicted to start from October 4 in the extreme north and reach the coastal states around December 25.