NEMO (Saint Lucia) launches Flu Campaign with Acid Kreationz

Castries, Saint Lucia, August 31, 2009 (NEMO) - The National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) Secretariat, in conjunction with the Ministries of Health and Agriculture, has launched a media campaign against H1N1 Influenza. This is timely, as it is anticipated that with the reopening of school, the potential for H1N1 Influenza outbreaks will increase. The PSAs produced in collaboration with Acid Kreationz can be downloaded from http://www.stlucia.gov.lc/flu/ and http://www.youtube.com.

For the first time in 44 years, students will be returning to school after summer vacation, amidst a global influenza pandemic.

H1N1 influenza affects primarily younger persons. Most persons who acquire the disease have only mild flu- like illness, and recover at home within one week.

However, some individuals, especially those with underlying medical conditions such as, asthma, sickle cell disease, diabetes and heart disease, may develop more severe illness requiring hospitalization. Some of these patients experience a sudden and very rapid deterioration in their clinical condition, usually on the 5th or 6th day, after they begin showing signs of flu-like illness.

The World Health Organization and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, warn of a second, possibly more severe wave of H1N1 Influenza disease in the upcoming months.

Persons are reminded that frequent hand- washing, is still one of the most effective ways of reducing your chances of getting influenza.

Parents are asked to remain alert for any sign of flu-like illness in their child. The child should be taken to a health facility if there is any sign, such as sore throat, runny nose, cough, fever, headache, joint and body pains, belly pain, vomiting and or diarrhoea. Children with flu symptoms should be monitored at home for at least 1 week, after visiting a health professional. If a child worsens while on treatment, that child should be taken immediately back to a health facility for re-assessment.

The Ministry of Education has taken a number of steps to help prevent the spread of influenza in the school setting. These include monitoring students for signs of flu like illness, frequent hand washing and frequent cleaning of hard surfaces. Parents may be asked to send their child to school with hand washing soap and alcohol based hand sanitizers.

All of us need to remain vigilant in our efforts to decrease the spread and impact of H1N1 Influenza.
This is what we should be doing now to protect ourselves from H1N1 Influenza.

Cover your cough. Cough into tissue and place used tissue in a covered bin. If you have no tissue or napkin, cover your mouth with your sleeve.
Wash your hands frequently. Hand washing helps prevent persons from acquiring the disease and prevents spread of infection. Hands should be washed with soap and water. If no water is available, alcohol based hand sanitizers can be used.

* Visit a health practitioner if you have flu like symptoms.
* If you are ill with flu, do not go to school

If you are ill with flu, do not go to work
* If you are ill with flu, do not go to mass crowd gatherings
* If you are ill with flu, remain at least 3 feet away from other persons and after seeking medical attention, remain at home for at least one week
* If you are ill with flu, do not go into pig farms
* If you are ill with flu, do not go into poultry/chicken farms

For audio and video copies of flu sensitization material visit http://stlucia.gov.lc/flu/

For more information on H1N1 Influenza, please contact the: Ministry of Health at: (758) 468-5309, (758) 468-5317, (758) 468-5318, and (758) 468-5300

For information on bio-security measures for farms, please contact the Ministry of Agriculture at: (758) 450-2375, (758) 450-3213, (758) 454-3470 or visit the newly launched website http://www.maff.egov.lc/

For information on measures taken by schools to prevent the spread of H1N1 Influenza, please contact the Ministry of Education at: (758) 468-5260, (758) 468-5262, and (758) 451-6964

CDEMA Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency. Resilience Way, Lower Estate, St. Michael Tel: (246) 434-4880, Fax: (246) 271-3660
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