The Preventive Health Department (PHD) says that the business community also has a role to play in minimizing the spread of pandemic Influenza A (H1N1) virus in the workplace.
Pandemic H1N1 influenza spreads easily from person to person and while it is mild in most cases and people will make a rapid and full recovery, it can be severe in some.
Simple hygiene measures in the workplace can go a long way in minimizing the spread of H1N1 flu. Sanitizers (alcohol-based) should be provided for employees and clients. Hard surfaces used frequently should be disinfected and seek strategies for employees to work from home or flexible hours in the event their child (ren) are sick with flu-like symptoms.
In various countries around the globe, businesses have been advised to prepare a business pandemic plan.
Some of the key points that businesses should be aware of are: Identify your business’ core people and skills; Identify a contact person or coordinator for the plan; Consider the effects of supply shortages on operations; Plan for staff absences; Consider human resource issues; Decide if your business will stay open or close in a pandemic; Encourage good personal hygiene practice; Understand social distancing measures; Communicate your plans to your staff and customers; Look at the financial implications; and test your plan and know when to use it.
Staff with influenza like symptoms who come to work using medicines that mask the infection, are still infectious and may pass the virus to other staff and customers.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has already indicated that to nations in the Northern Hemisphere to prepare for a second wave of pandemic Influenza A (H1N1) virus.
There is uncertainty on what that second wave may bring and everyone must remain on the alert. It is recommended for persons to get their seasonal flu vaccine, and this can be done by consulting your family physician.
The PHD is reminding residents to continue to practice high standards of personal hygiene which entails covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze or cough, and washing your hands frequently with soap and water, especially after contact with respiratory secretions (e.g., after sneezing and coughing).
Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way. Try to avoid contact with sick people.
The symptoms of Pandemic Influenza A (H1N1) flu virus in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with the virus.
Persons who have flu-like-illness should remain at home and contact their family physician via telephone who will determine whether influenza testing or treatment is needed. Do not delay in contacting your family physician.
Persons who have traveled in the preceding seven days to affected countries should seek immediate medical attention once they develop influenza-like symptoms. You are advised to stay at home and contact your family physician. This will help minimize the risk of infecting those around them, especially people who are at a higher risk of severe illness and complications of influenza.
Members of the public are advised to exercise caution when traveling. In the event that travel is unavoidable, the public is advised to take precautionary measures such as avoiding crowded areas and maintaining high standards of personal hygiene at all times. Another preventive measure is eating healthy foods, getting a lot of exercise and maintaining an eight hour sleep schedule.
Persons seeking additional information should contact PHD at telephone numbers: 542-3003 or 542-3553 or visit the following websites: www.cdc.gov/swineflu or www.who.int. for more information on Pandemic Influenza A(H1N1) virus also referred to as swine flu.
A high-ranking official of the government of St. Lucia was on Monday the guest of St. Maarten’s Commissioner of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Aviation & Sports, Frans Richardson, when the two met for a lunch meeting.
The official, Elisha Hunte, is special advisor to the Prime Minister of St. Lucia and is attached to the St. Lucia Ministry of Finance, Economic Affairs, Economic Planning and National Development.
Mr. Hunte is on an orientation visit to St.Maarten and on Monday exchanged ideas with commissioner Richardson, regarding the exploration of a number of co-operation areas. These include agricultural trade and tourism, considering the special relationship already existing between both Caribbean islands.
The St.Lucia government representative and members of his delegation are visiting a number of sites as part of a program marking the fact-finding visit.
On photo: David Christian (advisor office of commissioner Richardson), Melvin Woodley (director Vessigny Investment Partners Limited, Romeo Pantophlet (advisor office of commissioner Richardson), Fern Mars (managing director of Shorelink Services Ltd. in Trinidad), Fernando William (advisor office of commissioner Richardson), Commissioner Richardson, Carolyn Collins (president Shorelink Services Ltd.) and Elisha Hunte, special advisor to the St. Lucia Prime Minister.
Not pictured is Anthony Conrad, General Manager of Vessigny Investment Partners Limited, and who also forms part of the delegation.