Citizens are well within their rights to express their dissatisfaction with the status quo. This is why protests are important in a democratic society. Having said this, protesters should be aware of how protest activities affect their health and they should be well prepared. Here are some health conditions that could escalate during a protest:
Post-traumatic stress disorder
This occurs when a person has experienced or witnessed one or more traumatic events. These events could involve serious physical harm or even death. The symptoms include physical discomfort with shortness of breath, dizziness, emotional numbness, self-blame, constant negative feelings, and so on.
During a peaceful protest, it can be triggered when things turn violent. For example, police shooting live ammunition into the protest crowd and using brute force on protesters, or protest disrupters using weapons on other people. If any activity during a protest causes great distress and discomfort, leave and seek help from a mental health professional for proper diagnosis and treatment, if necessary.
This is an anxiety disorder where you have sudden attacks of panic or fear on a regular basis. It is a normal reaction to circumstances that are unpleasant or risky. Symptoms include intense fear, shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, nausea, dizziness, and abdominal cramping.
A panic attack can be triggered by stress, social events, skipping meals, all of which can be linked to a protest. If you have a history of panic attacks, this is something you can experience again.
If it does happen, stay where you are and take deep, slow breaths. Think of positive things or images. Remember that it cannot lead to any physical harm. If you notice someone having a panic attack, help them calm down and stay with them till it is over.
Asthma affects breathing and is caused by swelling in the airways. Asides from genetics, it is caused by triggers. Usually, people with asthma know their triggers and they stay away from them. However, the passion to fight for a social cause can make people forget these things.
There would be all sorts of smells at a protest with people wearing different scents or the police using teargas and pepper spray. Protesters that are asthmatic should carry their inhaler and follow their calming process. Other protesters around should learn first aid steps to help during an asthmatic attack.
This one of the serious health conditions that can be escalated during a protest. People are walking and chanting, there is a lot of noise and the sun is probably out in full force. Also, there is so much excitement that one could forget to eat.
Even worse, there could be a disruption and people have to run for their lives. All these increase stress levels which in turn increases heart rate and then blood pressure. Higher blood pressure poses a higher risk of heart attack or stroke.
Stay safe out there
Na person wey healthy dey go protest. That about sums it up, doesn’t it? Stay safe out there, take care of your health conditions first of all. If there are any triggers around you, move away. And remember, we still have a pandemic lurking, oh, and keep up the good work.