• Common diseases in Nigeria and how to prevent them.

    No matter how careful we are, we can’t always escape the increasing number of diseases lurking in our daily lives in Nigeria, below are the most common of such diseases and how they can be effectively prevented.

    1. Malaria: Malaria is leading cause of morbidity and mortality in our country, this disease is caused by plasmodium species whose vector is the anopheles mosquito; it is usually transmitted by mosquito bites.
    Malaria can be prevented by eradicating mosquitoes or preventing bites, simple ways to do this include
    • Keeping a clean environment; clear drainages and gutters
    • Cut down grasses and clear swamps around your house
    • Sleep under a mosquito net (preferably the treated ones)
    • Spray your room with good insecticides twice weekly
    • Window nets have been found to be helpful in preventing bites
    • Mosquitoes are attracted by sweat, so it is essentially to take a bath before going to bed and making your bedroom cool
    • See your physician once you notice this symptoms (fever, joints pain, headache, bitter taste in the mouth and fatigue)

    2. Common cold or Flu: Common cold as the name depicts is everywhere, it is also known as nasopharyngitis or acute coryza is a viral infectious disease of the upper respiratory tract which affects the nose primarily causing sneezing, sore throat, cough and runny nose, it is usually self-resolving after about seven to ten days. The only possible ways to reduce the spread of the viruses are physical measures such as hand washing, reducing contact with anyone with symptoms and wearing of masks amongst health workers.

    3. HIV/AIDS: Human immunodeficiency virus is a slowly replicating retrovirus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; an infectious disease in which progressive decline and failure of the human immune system leads to life threatening opportunistic infections and cancer.it can be prevented by the following practice
    • Proper use of condom during sexual intercourse
    • Proper screening of blood before transfusion
    • Avoid sharing sharp objects
    • Safe injection practices
    • Proper circumcision of male children
    • Post exposure prophylaxis to health workers and rape victims

    4. Pelvic Inflammatory disease: This is a term for inflammation of the uterus, fallopian tubes and/or ovaries as it may progress and lead to infertility; it is usually caused by bacteria, fungal or parasites. route of spread is usually via sexual intercourse or via post abortal sepsis and intrauterine device insertion. If untreated it could lead to infertility or ectopic pregnancy. Below are ways to prevent PID
    • Abstinence /proper human sexual behavior
    • Use of barrier methods such as condoms or diaphragm
    • Avoid vaginal douching
    • Good personal hygiene; never wear a panties twice
    • Periodic pelvic examination and STI testing to screen for symptomless PID
    • See a gynaecologist once you notice any abnormal vaginal discharge
    • Treating partners to prevent reinfection or spread to other people

    5. Hypertension: This is also known as high blood pressure and it simply means that the blood pressures in the arteries are elevated and this requires the heart to work harder than normal to circulate blood through the vessels. Blood pressure is summarised by two measures systolic(when the heart contracts) and diastolic( when the cardiac muscles are relaxed).High blood pressure is present when the pressure is 140/90mmHg and above, this is a major risk factor for stroke, heart failure, myocardial infarction and chronic kidney disease. This disease can be prevented by the following
    • Maintain normal body weight for adults; body mass index of 20-25kg/m2
    • Reduce dietary salt intake
    • Engage in regular aerobic exercise daily
    • Limit alcohol consumption
    • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables

    6. Acute diarrhoea: Diarrhoea is very common water and food-borne disease. Caused by a wide range of enteric organism, symptoms include passage of loose stools, fever, abdominal cramps and sometimes vomiting. The ways to prevent diarrhoea include
    • Avoid consumption of uncovered foods such as fruits cut and exposed
    • Drink only potable water
    • Avoid eating foods sold by food vendors and bukas
    • Wash your hands before eating
    • Wash your hand after you use the toilet

    Credit: Dr Jimade Ola-Solomon

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