The Ministry of Health has again called on parents, students and teachers to continue to practise good hygiene, as it seeks to contain the incidence of influenza A (H1N1) here.
In particular, the advice has gone out to schools, colleges and daycare facilities.
Students and staff who display symptoms of?? having a fever with cough or sore throat on arrival, or who become ill during the day should be promptly separated from others until they can be sent home. Sick persons should wear surgical masks if possible and be provided with tissues.
The Ministry has advised those students and staff, who exhibit signs of fever not to attend school or daycare for at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever, or show signs of a fever, without the use of fever-reducing medicines. Persons are also advised to stay at home even if they are using antiviral drugs.
Individuals are also warned that immediate medical attention should be sought if symptoms become severe, or if persons develop difficulty breathing, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, confusion, severe or persistent vomiting, or flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and a worsened cough.
However, the high-risk groups, such as pregnant women, children under six months and persons with underlying medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, asthma and other lung conditions, and those with weakened immune systems are at a greater risk of severe illness. These persons should visit their doctor or clinic promptly, if they experience flu-like symptoms, so that appropriate treatment can be provided.
Everyone is advised to practise good hygiene, such as frequent hand washing and covering of the nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing.
The Health Ministry has stressed that for the majority of infected persons, symptoms would be mild with recovery in three to five days.??
The Ministry of Health has also requested that students and staff should wash their hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser, especially after coughing or sneezing and should cover their noses and mouths and throw the tissue in a covered garbage bin after use.
In terms of general sanitation, areas frequently touched by students and staff should be routinely cleaned with disinfectants.
The Ministry of Health has stated that special cleaning with bleach or other detergent-based cleaners is unnecessary.
The "Updated Guidelines for Daycare Facilities and Schools, September 2009", are available on the website of the Barbados Government Information Service in the downloads section of www.gisbarbados.gov.bb.