Speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs, Chief Medical Officer – Dr. Sharon Belmar-George, has provided much-needed guidance to the public in order to reduce possible negative health implications during and after the carnival season.
During the carnival season, there is a general tendency for participants to let their guard down on many levels. It is important that precaution is taken to ensure safety for all at this time.
The Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs advises that persons look out for each other during the events especially those happening during the night. Avoid walking or driving in dark isolated areas when going to and from events. Reduce opportunities for personal injury and violation.
– Avoid dehydration by reducing exposure time in the direct sunlight. Wear sunblock and sunscreen and increase water intake. This is important during high level activities. Special consideration must be given to the elderly and young children who are particularly prone to dehydration.
– Avoid excessive alcohol intake as this also leads to dehydration, injuries, violence and road fatalities when persons drive under the influence. Also timely eating is advised. There are limited Intensive Care Beds available at the hospitals and usually during thi s period we note increase patient flow in the Accident and Emergency Department at the Hospital.
– Sleep deprivation and exhaustion also leads to increased motor vehicle accidents as persons may fall asleep while driving. Ensure you get sufficient rest between events or appoint a designated driver if you feel tired or sleepy.
– The majority of the planned activities are in open spaces and on evenings, we are in the rainy season and we normally note increases in mosquito indices at this time. The public is advised to take the necessary precautions and use insect repellants to reduce mosquito bites.
– Annually we note increases in sexually transmitted infections after the carnival season. We advise against unsafe sexual practices. The Ministr y of Health will be providing condoms to the various carnival bands to ensure they are available to revelers. Condoms are also available at the various Community Wellness Centres.
– We are still managing the COVID-19 Pandemic and at high risk of the introduction of Monkeypox in Saint Lucia. Personal responsibility is paramount at this time. If you develop signs and symptoms or feel unwell get tested and keep away from mass crowd activities. It is also advisable that you are fully vaccinated before attending mass crowd events.