WITH Christmas literally upon us, persons with health issues are warned to pay heed to their respective health issues and not be carried-away by the feasting and partying they may be involved in.
And Saint Lucians on a whole are being asked to be careful and go easy on the drinking of alcohol in particular and avoid binge drinking as it could lead to harm.
Pharmacist Karen Moonie Weekes of the Pharmacy Services Ministry of Health warns about taking medicine correctly during that time.
“We recognized, as pharmacists, during the festive season, there is a culture of ignoring your medicine in order to enjoy yourself,” she said, referring to people on medication.
Calling on them to take the right dose at the right time, Weekes emphasized the importance of taking medication regularly and as prescribed.
“When you do not take your medication as prescribed by your health care provider this may worsen your condition and lead to serious health consequences,” She said.
“During this festive season we encourage everyone to become health champions by taking your medicine correctly,” she urged.
Assistant Principal Nursing Officer in the Ministry of Health Julietta Frederick-Cassius also lent her voice to that of Weekes by encouraging persons suffering from chronic illnesses like diabetes, hypertension, asthma, respiratory condition and more not to stop their medication.
“Have your prescription refilled,” she urged.
Cassius warned of the closure of health centers on Christmas day, Christmas holiday, New Year’s Day and New Year’s holiday and called on Saint Lucians to continue visiting these centers right through the season.
“We are aware that during the festive season some persons may tend not to visit their facilities for care. We would like to remind the public that all wellness centers will continue service for the season except on the public holidays,” she said.
Currently works are ongoing at the La Fargue health center, Saltibus health centerMongrouge health center and the Bexon health center hence these facilities will be closed throughout the season to facilitate those works, which, on completion will see those facilities being more energy efficient facilities and more environmentally friendly.
Also closed is the Vieux Fort health center however the services it provided have been relocated to a building on Clarke Street directly opposite Ideal Bakery.
Another health alert for the season comes from Glensford Joseph, Medical Surveillance Officer, Epidemiology Unit, Ministry of Health. According to him over the past 10 years there has been a steady increase in gastroenteritis from January going into March, and which falls below a threshold in April.
He wants Saint Lucians to adopt a handwashing culture where they would wash their hands with soap before preparing meals, before eating, after visiting the toilets, etc. and to wash laundry impacted by vomit and feces of persons with gastroenteritis.
Ernie Pierre of the Environmental Unit of the Ministry of Health is warning Saint Lucians to be on their guard in purchasing can foods this festive season.
He warned against buying foods that are expired and purchasing large quantities that are close to their expiring dates. He also warned against purchasing can foods that come without labels or damage, have sharp dents or are exposed to flood waters.
Regarding temperature sensitive foods Pierre advised against keeping these foods for a long time in the trunks of their vehicles as microorganisms could grow on the foods and expose people to food poisoning.
Temperature sensitive foods, he said, should be refrigerated and left over foods must be stored immediately in containers and refrigerated and reheated thoroughly for consumption.
Coordinator of the Substance Abuse Unit of the Ministry of Health Joanna Joseph warns about binge drinking saying it leads people into states of mind they don’t usually anticipates.
“If you’re going out to party it’s important that you leave your home with a full stomach. Don’t leave hungry. Or before you drink ensure that you are full because it will slow down the digestion of alcohol as what causes intoxication is too much alcohol in the system,” she said.
Joseph calls on parents not to relax their rules regarding under-age drinking during the festive season. She noted that during this time some parents maybe a little lenient and allow their children, who are under 18-years of age to have something with a little alcohol in it.
“The later someone is introduced to alcohol the lesser the risk is that they can become dependent or use it in a harmful way,” Joseph said.