In light of the increased rainfall and the flooding along the coastal belt, the Ministry of Health is advising the general public to pay special attention to health, personal hygiene, water safety and vector control.
The Ministry advises:
· That if you are living in flooded areas, stay out of the water as much as possible, as it can greatly reduce your chances of contracting diseases such as skin infections, Leptospirosis, Diarrhoeal and other water-borne diseases. Direct contact with flood waters can expose you to several germs that can lead to any of these diseases. Keep children out of the water as they are most at risk of contracting diseases.
· If you must go into the water, use protective foot wear such as long boots. Prepare a foot bath of ½ cup of bleach to one bucket of water and wash your feet before entering the house. Then apply vaseline or oil to your skin as it forms a barrier and provides some protection from the dirty water.
· During rainfall you may notice an increase in mosquitoes. Protect yourself and family against mosquitoes by sleeping under mosquito nets, use mosquito repellents and coils and cover storage containers as a means of reducing the breeding of mosquitoes. Remember, the mosquito that spreads Chikungunya virus breeds in fresh still water around your home.
· Use safe water for drinking, cooking and brushing your teeth, and for making ice and drinks. Safe water is water that is treated with bleach or boiled for 5 minutes or bottled water.
· Keep food separate, protected from the flood water.
· Discard all food that has been in contact with flood waters safely by placing in a plastic bag and deposit in cover bins.
· Wash all fruits and vegetables with treated safe water and peel before eating.
Keep all food items and drinking water in sealed containers
· Cook food thoroughly and consume within one hour of preparation. Store all remaining food safely in a refrigerator and reheat thoroughly before consuming.
· Wash hands thoroughly with soap and safe water or use hand sanitizers, especially before and after eating meals, after going to the toilet or latrine and taking care of the children.
· Use the toilet or latrine and dispose baby’s diapers in your covered bins. Do not mess or let faeces get into the water.
· Keep garbage bins closed
· Watch out for animals. Rats, roaches, snakes and centipedes and other pests that have been flooded out of their homes and may seek shelter in yours. Use a pole or a stick to poke and turn items over and scare them away.
· If your home was seriously affected by flood water and you suspect electrical wiring has been damaged, have it checked by a qualified person before turning the main electrical switch.
· Know the location of the main electrical breakers and the gas and water valves in your home and ensure path is clear to access them easily so that you can shut them off in emergencies.
· Turn off the main electrical switch and unplug all appliances if you home is under water.
· Place important documents and valuables in plastic and store them in a safe place.
· If you or any family member experience any fever, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, skin rash, cuts, sticks, bruises or other conditions, please seek medical attention immediately. Georgetown Public hospital and other hospital outpatient departments in the affected regions are all fully operational and equipped to provide adequate care. Health centers around Georgetown will be open for extended periods and mobile sites in affected areas will be established and published soon.
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