By Dr. Nisma Haris
Khareef season, Dhofar regions own monsoon season, opens the gateways to matchless lush green landscapes and captivating scenery, enough to relieve the tiring spirits. When the entire world is surrounded by the highly contagious covid-19 pandemic, we need to be extra cautions during this season with persistent drizzling, high levels of humidity, mist, and absence of proper sunlight. Such weather conditions have well-documented effects on communicable diseases.
According to AVICENNA (Ibn Sina 980-1037 CE), who has written numerous scientific papers and valuable medical books that are respected worldwide, states in his book “THE CANON OF MEDICINE”
“The air generally becomes pestilential (become depraved apart from any increase or decrease in some of the intrinsic qualities) from putrefactive changes towards the end of summer and during autumn. He stated that abnormal warm and cold air is not good for human health.”
To be specific, health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
Rhazes (Zakariya Razi 865-925 CE), another revolutionary figure in the field of medicine, states in his book “THE BOOK ON MEDICINE FOR MANSOOR” (dedicated to caliph Al Mansoor)
“Most epidemics spread in the autumn season especially if the preceding summer season was humid and the wind is still. In this context, the direction of the wind is given utmost importance”.
He further states in the 15th volume of his treatise “THE COMPREHENSIVE BOOK OF MEDICINE” that “the southern winds are warmer while northern winds are colder and this change of temperature makes more people susceptible to respiratory infections”.
A surge in the cases of common cold, flu, cough, asthma, low-grade fever, seasonal headaches, skin allergies(urticarial rash, scabies), hair problems, gastric upset, urinary tract infections, joint pains (particularly arthritis) are well known during khareef season. Also, the absence of clear skies & lack of optimum sunlight in khareef season is quite desolating & leads to stress, anxiety, depression, and other psychological disorders. These ailments triggered during khareef henceforth raise the defensive health workload of every individual with a likelihood of putting the entire regional population at higher risk with the already pre-existing COVID 19 pandemic.
The season of khareef despite having so many positive aspects has its demerits, one has to deal with khareef errands like dampness in living areas, furnishings, etc. If left unattended they become breeding grounds for various types of fungal species, unpleasant odor in fabrics due to damp closets, food, if left outside unconsumed, becomes a harbor to various microbes. On top of all these problems, creeping and crawling insects can be seen all around.
But nothing to worry; following few precautionary measures can help:
- Put on full-sleeved clothes and shoes before stepping out to prevent any insect’s bite. It is advisable to carry a mosquito repellent along when venturing outside particularly in wadis and hilly areas.
- Take regular baths to ward off any hair or skin related ailments
- Maintain household hygiene and keep the surroundings clean.
- Ensure fungi does not grow in wooden furnishings or wooden kitchenware, shoes and other leather articles
- Refrain from visiting crowded places to eliminate the chances of spreadable infections especially viral infections.
- Several herbs have been recommended for spray or fumigation. Amongst them, the most popular and widely available in the Dhofar region is the frankincense Convincing scientific evidence is present which advocates its air-cleansing activity because of its antibacterial and antiseptic properties.
Abide by these dietary habits:
- Consume half a teaspoon of fenugreek seeds and half a teaspoon of nigella seeds with a warm glass of honey lemon water in the morning. Both fenugreek and nigella are miraculous herbs and are loaded with numerous health benefits.
- Have your meals and snacks at regular time intervals to aid metabolism.
- Keep yourself hydrated to compensate for the fluid loss even if you are not feeling thirsty.
- Include fruits, vegetables, yogurt, milk, nuts in your diet to boost your immunity
- Consume steamed vegetables instead of raw ones
- Consume homemade fresh food. Cook smaller portions that can be consumed in one meal
- Avoid all sorts of oily, spicy, sugar-coated food items as they have a heavy thermal effect on our body and make us feel sluggish.
Dr. Nisma Haris is a doctor with expertise in herbal medicine, currently based in Salalah.