Dar es Salaam. The Tanzania Meteorological Authority (TMA) has said that the extreme cold conditions in Njombe, Mbeya, Mafinga, Arusha, and some other parts of the country are influenced by the intensification of high-pressure system over the southern tip of Africa.

Speaking to The Citizen on Wednesday, TMA manager from the Central Forecast Office, Dr Mafuru Biseke, said that the intensification of the southern high-pressure system had contributed to the advection of the cold southerly wind from the southern tip of Africa towards most areas of the country, in particular the southwestern highlands (Songwe, Mbeya, Iringa and Njombe regions) and the north eastern highlands (Kilimanjaro, Arusha and Manyara regions).

"Normally, June to August marks the dry, cold, and windy conditions over most parts of the country from the climatological point of view. Most of the time, the cold weather temperatures record less than 10 degrees Celsius in some areas of the country, especially over the high ground, translating into very cold conditions. For instance, the lowest temperature of 5 degrees celsius has been recorded in Njombe recently", he said.

He urged people residing in regions with cold weather to ensure they wear warm clothes to protect themselves from cold-related diseases like pneumonia.

"The proper use of heaters must also be taken into consideration with maximum precaution, especially in households that use traditional heaters such as charcoal stoves. These stoves have a tendency to generate the byproduct carbon monoxide gas, which is lethal to human health by causing breathing difficulties and may lead to death," he said.

For his part, Mr Mathew Shao, a medical doctor from Iringa Regional Referral Hospital, has warned residents of the region to take measures to protect themselves from severe cold that can cause health problems.

According to him, such weather conditions can cause an increase in diseases of the respiratory system such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.

He also said that if precautions are not taken, there is a risk of death due to carbon monoxide poisoning due to the incorrect use of wood or charcoal in houses with poor ventilation systems.

"If a person lights a fire inside the house and falls asleep when the charcoal uses carbon dioxide, this is very dangerous," he said.

He has said that infants and the elderly can experience hypothermia in the body, which leads to death, so it is important to be careful.

He mentioned that other side effects include nose bleeding due to the strong cold air hurting the small blood vessels in the nose.

Dr. Methew has advised people to avoid cold environments and wear protective clothing such as heavy coats, socks, hats, and heavy gloves made of cloth or yarn before going out.

He has also advised the use of a facial mask to protect the nose from severe cold that can cause small veins to burst and bleed.

For infants, the doctor advised that they should be breastfed regularly or given food often, while the middle-aged should be protected from fire accidents.

Also, people should take care of the elderly and infirm patients, making sure they wear heavy clothes, and ensuring that children under the age of five get nutritious food, as it  is important because the body uses a lot of energy to fight the cold," he said.

He has emphasized on exercises as a basis for fighting the cold, including slow running and doing other activities like farming.

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