Health Advisory for the 2016 Carnival Season

Ministry of Health provides a Health Advisory for the 2016 Carnival Season

The Ministry of Health and Wellness is advising carnival patrons and the
general public to be safe and secure during this carnival season. The
advisory comes from Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Sharon Belmar-George.
She cautions against excessive drinking, exposure to the sun, unsafe sexual
practices and reminds the public to use mosquito repellent to prevent the
spread of Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya Viruses.

“For persons who will be on the road for extended periods of time, we are
advising that persons keep well hydrated. We don’t want persons getting
sick and dehydrated while they enjoy the festive season. So we would like
to ensure that they keep drinking and water is the best drink to prevent
dehydration.”

Dr. George also encouraged the use of sunblock to protect the skin against
prolonged exposure to the sun and advised that young children should also
be kept well hydrated with water as opposed to carbonated drinks and kept
out of the direct sunlight for long periods of time. She noted that the
onset of rainy season also brings with it an increase in vector borne
diseases and advised carnival patrons and the general public to keep
safeguarding themselves.

“During the carnival time most people have a lot of skin exposed, so you’re
at risk to bites from the Aedes agypti mosquito. A lot of the evening
activities are in outdoor open air facilities, so we are requesting as part
of your carnival park to ensure you have mosquito and insect repellent
available and you apply it regularly to reduce the chances of contracting
from Dengue Fever to Chikungunya to even the Zika Virus as well.”

Drinking and driving is another major issue during the carnival season. The
Medical Officer said the Accident and Emergency Departments of the
hospitals see an increase in both minor and major injuries during this
period.

“We are asking persons to please do not drink so that you are not vigilant
to be able to take the necessary precautionary measures. If you are going
to drink do so in moderation and not excessive that you don’t end up being
a danger to yourself and to other persons. We are also asking persons to
look out for your friends. If you notice your friend is drinking
excessively indicate that you will drive them home.”

Dr. George also noted an increase in sexually transmitted diseases during
the carnival season and advises against unsafe sexual habits and practices.

“We want persons to have fun but also to keep healthy. We make condoms
available at our healthcare facilities and we know that most of the
carnival bands provide condoms as part of the carnival pack. So keep
yourself safe, keep your family safe as well during this season . We wish
people a safe carnival but please take the necessary precautions to reduce
the possible impact on your health after the carnival season.”