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Floating dust particles in Upper East Region contributing to rise in upper respiratory tract infections among residents

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Strong Winds Blowing Across Region

The Upper East Region is currently experiencing strong winds from the Sahel-Niger and parts of the Sahara Desert, according to the Ghana Meteorological Agency.

The cold winds blowing across the region come with dust particles that not only reduce weather clarity but are heavily impacting the health of residents in the region.

Impact on Health and Weather Clarity

Speaking to Mark Smith on A1 Radio’s Day Break Upper East show about the drop in air quality in the region and its implications for residents, Medical Officer at the Upper East Regional Hospital, Dr. Aaron Tetteh Puplampu, explained that at the outpatient department of the hospital, there had been an increase in reports of upper respiratory tract infections over the past few weeks.

Increase in Upper Respiratory Tract Infections

An upper respiratory infection affects the upper part of your respiratory system, including your sinuses and throat. Generally, respiratory infections affect the respiratory system, the part of your body responsible for breathing. These infections can affect sinuses, throat, lungs or airways. There are two types of respiratory infections: upper respiratory infections and lower respiratory infections.

Upper respiratory infections affect the sinuses and throat. Upper respiratory infections include: common cold, epiglottitis, laryngitis, pharyngitis (sore throat) and sinusitis (sinus infection).

“Especially at the OPD, there has been an increasing number of people with upper respiratory tract infections. From the beginning of the year until now, because of the change in weather, we have had quite a number of patients come in with those complaints. It comes with symptoms like coughing and sneezing, and those with already-existing conditions have severe forms of their underlying conditions. We also have reports of people having difficulty breathing,” he explained.

Vulnerable Groups Need Extra Precaution

Dr. Puplampo explained that while all residents in the region are at risk, there are categories of people who must take extra precaution because of their vulnerability. “We have the extreme age groups—the babies or infants as well as the elderly, those who are above 65—who are vulnerable. Also, those who have asthma or some respiratory conditions—in this weather, we tend to have an increase in their crises during this period.”

Recommendations to Reduce Risk

To prevent or at least minimize the risk of infection, Dr. Puplampo recommended the use of nose masks. “COVID has at least taught us the use of nose masks. The use of nose masks is recommended, particularly when you are going to town. We have differences in nose masks—the usual surgical masks we see in town and the ones we call the N95s. The N95s handle dust much better, so if you have the chance to purchase that, do so, but if not, the surgical ones would work just fine,” he said.

The Medical Officer also encouraged residents to stay indoors as much as they could to reduce the risk of infection.

Expected Weather Conditions over Next Fortnight

Meanwhile, the Meteorological Agency in the Upper East Region has reported that the weather condition is expected to worsen within 14 days.

Source: A1radioonline.com|101.1MHz|Mark Kwasi Ahumah Smith|Ghana

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