The Ministry of Health has stepped up its efforts to reduce the spread of the Influenza A (H1N1) virus this Crop Over season, by issuing a set of guidelines for mass gatherings.

A mass gathering refers to an assembly or grouping of people in one place, either indoors or outdoors, such as fetes, summer camps, churches, limes and other social events.

According to the Guidelines for Mass Gatherings During an Influenza Pandemic, measures that should be put in place to ensure that an environment is conducive to the needs of patrons include the availability of proper hand washing facilities, complete with soap; paper towels; and pedal bins, in both indoor and outdoor settings.

Health education material on flu prevention should be distributed at points of entry and exit, with accompanying posters and audiovisual displays in prominent positions to further heighten public awareness.

In addition, verbal announcements advocating the practice of proper hygiene could be effectively used to remind individuals to take heed of all preventative measures, in an effort to reduce the spread of influenza.

Persons who do not have flu-like symptoms may feel free to participate in all social gatherings. However, individuals who have been in close contact with persons confirmed with Influenza A (H1N1) should refrain from participating in such events, for a minimum of seven days after exposure.

The Ministry of Health also advises individuals who experience flu-like symptoms while attending social events, to return home immediately and seek medical advice.

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