IT is common to hear many people say that they wake up about two times in the night to take a bath after they woke up and found their bodies covered in profuse sweat from several hot consecutive days .
From an average temperature of 33 degree Celsius and 70 per cent humidity in Lagos to 39 degree Celsius and 11 per cent in Maiduguri, the excessive sweating and heat rashes have become regular and made it difficult for many, especially children, to sleep comfortably at night.
Good sleep is important for the next day function and it is achievable during a heatwave. “I have worn wet T-shirts to bed many times. I have used it many times and it has allowed me to sleep. With it you can have a good sleep and by the time your T-shirt dries, it will be in the early hours of the morning, maybe 4 am,” said Dr Achaika Irabor, a family physician at (UCH), the University College Hospital, Ibadan. Of course, there is no need to fear developing body rashes. She added, “Not in this heat; it is clean water and not sweat. Also, it is a clean shirt.”
Dr Irabor said wearing the wet T-shirt alongside a cold bath before going to bed will ensure the core body temperature remains low enough to ensure sleep. The core body temperature needs to drop to about 35 degrees. Above this temperature, staying asleep or falling asleep at night will be difficult.
Sadly, heat like most other things when excessive and not controlled can have serious consequences, including heart failure, heatstroke, dehydration, diarrhoea, vomiting and skin cancer in albinos.
A consultant family physician at the (UCH), Ibadan, Dr Olusola Mosuro said hot weather is hazardous to health and so staying indoors between 12noon and 3pm when the atmospheric temperature is at the peak.
“We tend to sweat more due to the heat. This will reduce the blood volume, and invariably affect other things in the body, including causing dehydration and hypotension.”
Dr Mosuro said that when dehydration leads to a reduction in the rate of blood supply to vital organs of the body, heatstroke, heat cramps and kidney stone could also occur.
Now, heat stroke, although commoner in northern Nigeria, can also occur in southern Nigeria from inadequate water intake during hot weather. Most of the time even with the heat, people do not take enough water. She added: “Some people only take water when eating, but it should be a routine. That is why some people go around with a water bottle to remind them of the need to take water. That at least will help with preventing dehydration.”
Dr Mosuro added that heatwaves can also be the reason for skin diseases such as heat rashes and eczema when clothes worn do not absorb sweat and so as serve as a good avenue for yeast growth and body odour. She mentioned viral infections that thrive more during the heatwaves to include measles, chickenpox and catarrh. “The catarrh could be as a result of allergy from dust with that an imposed infection will set in and this could progress to pneumonia,” he added.
Moreover Dr Okechukwu Ogah, a consultant cardiologist said incidence of heart failure is higher during hot seasons