HEALTH MINISTRY OFFERS TIPS POST TROPICAL STORM ELSA

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The Ministry of Health & Wellness wishes to advise the public that following the passage of Tropical Storm Elisa, the following actions should be taken regarding food and water safety, controlling the spread of infections and mosquito and rodent control:

WATER SAFETY
 Store your water in a clean covered container
 Do not use containers which have stored harmful chemicals
 Use a clean container, with a handle, to “dip up” water from storage
 The lid of the container should fit tightly to prevent mosquito breeding.
 Water must be treated before using for the any of the following:
o Drinking or making drinks
o Washing fruits and vegetables
o Making ice
o Preparing food
o Washing dishes and utensil
 Water may be treated by:
o Treat water by boiling for at least five minutes before removing from the fire OR
o Treating with bleach: add two drops of bleach per litre (or quart) of water. Make sure that you mix it well and               leave for at least thirty minutes before using it.
 Swimming or wading in water which has resulted from flooding or eating foods that might have been contaminated with animal urine may be dangerous.
o ensure that children do not play in these waters or eat such foods that may be affected, as they can easily be             infected with diseases such as Leptospirosis.
 Persons who are exposed to contaminated water or soil because of the nature of their job, to wear protective clothing and footwear.

 Do not store food items with chemicals such as kerosene, bleach, detergents and insect sprays
 Do not use food from tins which have signs of dents, bulges or other damage
 Keep food items in a dry, cool place.
 Store packages of sugar, flour, rice and crackers in their original package or in tightly closed containers.
 Keep a bag with emergency food supply in the event that you have to evacuate your home. This should include only canned and dry food items.

CONTROLLING THE SPREAD OF INFECTION
Viruses are transmitted through droplets that are circulated primarily when a person sneezes and coughs. To reduce the spread of infection:
 Cover nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing to reduce the spread of droplets and therefore infection.
 Observe good hand cleansing practices.
 Hands should be washed regularly with soap and water or an alcohol based hand sanitizer can be used.
 It is important that the hand sanitizer is not used to replace hand washing. The recommendation is that after three uses of the hand sanitizer, the hands should be washed with soap and water.

MOSQUITO & RODENT CONTROL
Conditions immediately after a disaster are likely to cause a rapid increase in the population of insects and rodents. This is due to collections of large water bodies and debris in the environment.

Some tips to minimize this are:
 All garbage should be properly bagged, tied and stored until collected.
 Punch holes in the bottom of tins to avoid water collection, and dispose of containers as soon as possible.
 Cover tightly all drums, barrels, tanks, and buckets that are storing water for use. If container cannot be covered, pour cooking oil to cover the surface of the water.
 Get rid of all old tyres, tins, bottles, plastic containers, coconut shells and anything in which rain water can settle.