The commonest ailments we treated people for during the NYSC camping exercise were malaria, common cold, peptic ulcer disease, typhoid fever, gastroenteritis and musculoskeletal problems like muscle pain and bruises due to physical exertion. Quite a number of previously asthmatic persons also had acute exacerbation of asthma (asthmatic attacks) most likely because of the dusty environment and cold weather.
Some effective practical health tips that can help corpers stay healthy include:
1. Eating healthy. Balanced diet boosts immunity and helps to fend off most infections like malaria, typhoid fever and gastroenteritis.
2. Ensuring good hygiene. Many infections people suffer from are directly or indirectly related to suboptimal hygiene. The simple practice of frequent handwashing can actually go a long way in preventing common infections.
3. Keeping a clean environment. Mosquitoes are the only cause of malaria. If people keep their environment clean i.e no overgrown bushes or filthy clogged gutters, mosquitoes will find it difficult, if not impossible to breed and the burden of malaria will be much less.
Those who are more prone to severe malaria like sickle cell individuals or pregnant women should take prophylactic drugs regularly and sleep in insecticide-treated mosquito nets.
4. Those who experience ulcer pain should avoid skipping meals and eating overly peppery, oily or hot meals as these may aggravate peptic ulcers.
5. Asthmatic persons need to identify and avoid any factors that trigger attacks such as dust, cold or stress. They will benefit from inhalers which are very handy and potentially life-saving in the event of sudden attacks before arriving at a hospital.
In conclusion, I believe these are simple practical tips that corps members can readily avail themselves of within and outside orientation camps to remain fit and able to deliver maximally on their national assignment throughout the service year.