(PRESS RELEASE) – Saint Lucia’s Ministry of Health is closely monitoring the influenza activities and putting measures in place to ensure the island isn’t adversely affected.
Over the last few months, there has been clamoring and concerns about a unique influenza which has negatively impacted or claimed many lives in the United Sates. The influenza or better known as the flu season begins in the month of October and usually ends in May. The Ministry of Health has bolstered its surveillance to ensure that the virus does not hit our shores. Acting National Epidemiologist Dr. Gemma Cherry reassures Saint Lucians that the country is not experiencing or is yet to encounter such a unique influenza.
“In our case it is not the same we are not having such an active or such a severe flu season at present. Like I said before lots of persons would have flu or influenza but you expect lots of persons to have mild influenza cases so at present we’re not having lots of hospitalization as a result of persons developing complications as a result of the flu virus”.
Dr. Chery said, the most common signs and symptoms of the flu include; fever, coughing, running nose, muscle aches, headache and sore throat. However, she encourages people most at risk to get vaccinated.
“In terms of the flu, the flu shot is actually your first and is what we considered the most important step in preventing someone from actually getting the flu virus. The flu vaccine is actually available at all wellness centers and it is free. As with any other disease there are risk groups. So persons most at risk of having or acquiring the flu virus would be your pregnant women, persons who have chronic disease for example person who are asthmatic, diabetes, persons with heart disease. These persons we encourage to go out there and get vaccinated. Children also are a risk group, children less than 5 but with special emphasis on those less than 2”.
Dr. Chery added, that people with the flu should remain home and refrain from public events.Individuals should practice proper hand hygiene and if there is any level of uncertainty about what one may have contracted, then a visit to the nearest Wellness Centre is advised.