Carnival 2018: CPS calls on community to adhere to hand hygiene and cough etiquette during flu season

With large numbers of people gathering at Carnival related events and activities on a daily basis, the Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, is calling on Carnival revelers to practice hand hygiene and cough etiquette as a prevention action to prevent the spread of infectious diseases such as influenza to family and friends.

Symptoms of the flu include sudden onset of fever, cough (usually dry), headache, muscle and joint pain, sore throat and a runny nose. The cough can be severe and can last two or more weeks. Most people recover from fever and other symptoms within a week.

However, influenza can cause severe illness or death in high-risk groups such as pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy; children younger than five-years; people older than 65-years; people with chronic medical conditions such as HIV/AIDS, asthma, heart and lung diseases and diabetes; people with increased risk of exposure to influenza, which includes health care workers.

Keeping hands clean through improved and frequent hand hygiene and cough etiquette which are two of the most important steps one can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Washing your hands should take at least 40 to 60 seconds.

Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water. If clean, running water is not accessible, as is common in many parts of the world, use soap and available water. You can also use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 per cent alcohol to clean hands.

Your hands should be washed before, during, and after preparing food; before eating food; after using the toilet; after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
Flu viruses are thought to spread mainly from person to person through the coughing, sneezing, or talking to someone with the flu.

Flu viruses also may spread when people touch something with the flu virus on it and then touch their mouth, eyes, or nose.

People infected with the flu may be able to infect others beginning from day one before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after becoming sick. That means you may be able to spread the flu to someone else before you know you are sick.

Preventive actions entails: try to avoid close contact with sick people; cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze (cough etiquette); throw the tissue in the trash after you use it; clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

CPS wants everyone to enjoy the festive season in a healthy manner. Happy Carnival 2018.