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Common Diseases In Nigeria ; Causes, Symptoms And Prevention

Common illness and disease in nigeria

Nigerians are vulnerable to some diseases. No matter how great our hygiene habits are, we are still exposed to certain illnesses. The common diseases in Nigeria are malaria, cold, hypertension, cholera and HIV/ AIDS. These diseases have been reduced to the minimum with the emergence of orthodox medicine. They had claimed many lives in the past and many of these diseases were attributed to spiritual afflictions and attacks. The diseases are highlighted in the following paragraphs.

1. Malaria:

Nigeria is a malaria endemic environment. We are all exposed to mosquito bites( read about preventing mosquito bites here). Malaria is caused by plasmodium and transmitted through female anopheles mosquito which feed on blood; they are attracted to body sweats. Symptoms arise two weeks after been bitten. Symptoms include headache, high temperature, bitter taste, loss of appetite, fatigue and body pain. Malaria in pregnant women results in miscarriages, still births, loss of baby weight etc. Studies show that about 250,000 of Nigerian children die every year from malaria and 551,187 population death was recorded in the year 2010 . People even attribute any form of illness to malaria even if it is not. Self medication and malaria pills are given to a sick person at his or her first sign of such symptoms.

Nigerian hardly seeks medical attention for malaria diseases, drugs are gotten over the counter in chemist shops and dispensaries. This notion should be corrected as medical attention should be sought when ill. Symptoms can get worse if not treated well. Mosquitoes are always found in gutters, swamps and stagnant dirty water around the house. To prevent mosquito bites, good hygiene (read about personal hygiene here) should be maintained. This is done by washing the drainages, sewages and gutters. Grasses around the houses should be cut, the use of mosquito nets, spraying the house and rooms with insecticides are also some of the useful preventive measures. Night bath is necessary to prevent mosquito bites.

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2. Cold:

common cold is a viral infection that affects the upper respiratory tract, especially the nose. 11,281 number of death was recorded as a result of whopping cough in 2009. It is associated with symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, running nose, sore throat, headache, watery eyes, block nostrils with mucus and voice loss. They are caused by dust, exposure to cold, eating contaminated foods or eating with dirty hands. Preventive measures include good personal hygiene ( read about good personal hygiene here), washing of the hands, avoiding the dusty areas or covering the nose with masks in dusty areas, wearing of sweaters, cardigans and not exposing the body parts, especially, the chest in cold weather. Covering of the nose when sneezing and turning away from people when they sneeze also help to curb the spread of the virus.

3. Hypertension:

 it is also known as high blood pressure which later leads to the paralysis of one or both sides of the body, known as "stroke". Hypertension occurs when the blood pressure in the arteries are increased. Due to this, the heart will work more for the circulation of blood. The heart contracts and the cardiovascular muscle relaxes. Anyone with the BP of 140/90mmHg and above is likely to have hypertension, stroke, heart and kidney failure. Nobody is exempted from this chronic disease. The men, women, old and young should always check their BP. It is common among those with stressful life situations, job loss, failure in projects, contracts and studies, loss of a loved ones, emotional trauma, heart breaks.

We should always check our blood pressure (BP) in hospitals or pharmacy shops and it is even free in most clinics. We should note that blood pressure rises when malaria parasite is present in the blood stream. So, it is not always when one has high BP that he or she is hypertensive, but, high BP is most likely associated with hypertension. With the absence of malaria, high BP needs medical attention. Medications prescribed should be used always. A hypertensive patient should not be around a noisy environment. Bad or tragic news should be kept from such patients. Avoiding stressful activities, reduction in salt and alcohol intake, watching of body weight, adequate sleep, rest and exercise, frequent BP checking are the medical advice given to people with high blood pressure. 

4. Cholera and diarrhoea:

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 a chronic and communicable disease that can claims lives within few days if care is not taken. Diarrhoea is not as serious a cholera, lasts for about three days which can be as a result of stomach upset, reactions to food eaten, food poisoning or constipation. Diarrhoea symptoms are loose, watery and frequent stools. They are both water and food-borne diseases that are carried by house flies that came in contact with infested stools and vomits. According to the UNESCO statistics, the diarrhea death rate in Nigeria is 18.8%. Diarrhea accounts for 16% of infant mortality in Nigeria and about 150,000 deaths among children under 5 years. Cholera include symptoms such as passing out watery or blood stained stools, vomiting, loss of body weight, fatigue, dehydration, stomach ache. To prevent these diseases, high degree of personal hygiene (read about good personal hygiene here) should be maintained, frequent washing of hands before eating and after using the toilet, covering of food and water, proper cooking of food, taking healthy food and water, good construction of toilets, washing and cleaning of toilet, covering of pit latrines. Health education and frequent visitations of public health officers to different houses will force the population to take care of their environments, including their toilets. Government should provide drinking water and good sanitation body.


Human Immunodeficiency Virus advances to Acquired Immuno deficiency Syndrome is a sexually transmitted disease that destroys the immune systems and is accompanied by many diseases and infections. HIV is mainly transmitted through blood or mucous contact by unprotected sexual activities and sharing sharp objects like razors, needles, hair clippers, cutting combs used by ladies, injections, circumcisions and piercing equipments. Symptoms include fever, high temperature, weight loss, diarrhoea, body blisters, fatigue, cough, difficulty in breathing and so on. Safe sexual activities by the use of condoms prevent one from contacting the disease. Sharp objects should not be shared. Used injections, circumcisions blades, piercing equipments should be disposed off. Rape victims should check in for medical attention and test do know their HIV status

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