Diseases linked to the dry season 

By Eriah Lule 

At around 8:35 in the evening, I dropped by Bugujju trading center in Mukono around Uganda Christian University (UCU), at Dembe’s Rolex production to get myself a 3 by 3 Rolex with tomato sauce and mayonnaise, my favourite as usual.

A red-dirty Sino truck came speeding on the dry tarmac road as it headed for the Jinja Highway. Dust covered the atmosphere for about 35 seconds, like an early morning fog. No one would see the other side of the road.

All the roadside food vendors were left shaking their heads. As for my rolex, my other fellow customer retorted, ” It gets more delicious with a taste of dirt in it. That is Uganda,” he said.

At around 10 pm , a severe stomach ache purged and by the time it clocked midnight, I had a severe fever.

Ngobi Stuart, a nurse at Mityana Referral Hospital, notes that with each season of the year, be it dry or wet, it comes with different challenges, more so the diseases associated with them. We may only see the dust land on your food, but the germs it has carried are numerous and will harm your health.

“A lot of contaminable diseases are spread in all dimensions of life,” he said.

In a casual conversation with Luba Joshua, not his real name, the owner of Ddembe’s production notes that he tries to at least sprinkle water every two hours on the road to fight the dust, but it’s as if we are doing nothing.

“I spend almost a budget of Ugx 2,000 shillings everyday buying water to just sprinkle it on the road, but the dust is too much,” he said. ” All we do now is just make sure everything we use is clean, though you can’t fight dust to the fullest.”

Given such a long dry season, the National Water and Sewerage Corporation has also had challenges with water across the country , with residents facing water shortages all the time. This has paved the way for the mushrooming industry of drinking water distilling factories that have come to provide drinking ‘mineral water’ at a cheaper cost.

She recalls becoming ill after drinking two bottles of mineral water and being diagnosed with typhoid. “It cost me 150,000 shillings to get treatment at a nearby clinic,”, she said.

According to Ngobi, the dry season comes with high temperatures and low humidity, which increases the likelihood of transmission of organisms. During this season, certain diseases are more common due to rising temperatures that can reach dangerous levels in some parts of the world, which could also be ideal for pathogens to thrive and spread. Below are some of the diseases and how best we can control them.


Heat and humidity can trigger asthma symptoms like coughing and shortness of breath, as lack of air movement can trap pollutants like dust and mold into the airways. Taking shelter in clean, cool, and well-ventilated places should help someone with asthma combat the heat. Medications need to be close by just in case of a sudden attack.


Chickenpox is a viral infection that typically affects children, which is why the first dose of

The varicella vaccine should be given to kids between the ages of 12 and 15 months, and the second dose from age 4 to 6. Initial chickenpox symptoms include fever and headache, while rashes may start appearing a week after exposure to the virus and develop into blisters that take several days to heal.

Since chickenpox can be transmitted through direct contact with the rash or inhalation of air droplets, those who are sick should avoid going to public areas to prevent the infection from spreading.

Conjunctivitis (sore eyes)

In sore eyes or conjunctivitis, the outer lining around the eyeball and the inner lining of the eyelid become inflamed. This may be due to a viral or bacterial infection that thrive during the dry season, an allergic reaction, or trauma. The conjunctiva—or the covering of the white part of the eyes—may show redness, with noticeable itching and discharge around the eyes, too.

4. Flu

Although influenza viruses are also prevalent in cold weather, they are also common in the dry seasons . Weather changes, like sudden downpours or temperature shifts from hot outdoor to cool indoor environments and vice versa, can make someone susceptible to respiratory diseases like coughs and colds. Other symptoms of the flu include fever, muscle aches, and headaches.

Bedrest, antiviral medications, and adequate fluid intake are effective in alleviating flu symptoms.

Skin conditions

Sunburn is a common skin condition that occurs when someone is exposed to the sun for an extended period of time.The intense heat can cause first-degree burns with skin redness and peeling or second-degree burns with blisters.

According to the research, incidences of malaria and other diseases are higher in areas with high temperatures in the range of 18 to 32 degrees Celsius, and a mysterious epidemic of chronic kidney disease that is caused by a combination of increasingly hot temperatures, toxins and infections, as per the New England Journal of Medicine, might be linked to the dry seasons.

Therefore, we can avoid such conditions by doing the following:

Avoid overcrowding and ensure adequate ventilation in the home. Cover your nose and mouth with a disposable tissue or by blowing into the elbow when sneezing or coughing to prevent the spread since these are airborne diseases.

Wash your hands frequently, especially after coughing or sneezing. Visit a health facility if you have a sudden high fever or neck stiffness for diagnosis and treatment. All health workers are advised to practice universal care precautions at all times. I.e., wearing gloves while handling patients or providing care to an ill relative.


People who drink contaminated water or drink fruit juice that was made with unboiled water or eat food washed in contaminated water can develop typhoid fever. Other ways typhoid fever can be contracted include: using a toilet contaminated with bacteria and touching your mouth before washing your hands. Eating seafood from a water source contaminated by infected human waste

Antibiotics like Ciprofloxacin (Cipro): doctors often prescribe this for adults who aren’t pregnant.

Azithromycin (Zithromax) This may be used if a person is unable to take ciprofloxacin or the bacteria are resistant to ciprofloxacin.

Ceftriaxone. This injectable antibiotic is an alternative for more complicated or serious infections or for people who may not be candidates for ciprofloxacin, such as children.

Ngobi added that these drugs can cause side effects, and long-term use can lead to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.