Citizens warned not to take non-paracetamol-based medication for dengue

Medical Officer of Health for Westmoreland, Dr. Marcia Graham, addresses the monthly meeting of the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation, in Savanna-la-Mar, on Thursday (January 9). Listening keenly is Mayor of Savanna-la-Mar, Bertel Moore. (Photo: Serena Grant, JIS)

Medical Officer of Health for Westmoreland Dr. Marcia Graham is imploring citizens not to take non-paracetamol-based medication if they suspect they may have dengue fever, as this may cause bleeding.

Addressing the monthly meeting of the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation, in Savanna-la-Mar, on Thursday (January 9), Dr. Graham advised that if a person has a fever, he or she should use paracetamol-based medication until it is confirmed that it is not dengue fever.

“Using non-steroidal and other pain and fever medication can set you up for bleeding complications,” she warned, adding that if the fever does not go away within three days, the person needs to seek medical care.

Meanwhile, the medical officer implored persons to protect themselves from mosquitoes by spraying inside their homes with indoor aerosol sprays.

“Whatever spray you use to kill insects around your houses, we are asking you to, on a regular basis, spray either early morning or in the evening when the mosquitoes are more active,” Dr. Graham said.

She advised that if persons have respiratory issues, they may spray their homes when they are leaving.

“However, if you have to stay home, you may use a damp handkerchief or rag to cover your nose, so you do not suffer adverse health effects from the indoor aerosol spray while reducing the mosquito population in your house,” she added.

She further urged residents to be vigilant in finding and destroying mosquito breeding sites, not only on their premises but in schools and other areas.

For his part, Chief Public Health Inspector for Westmoreland, Steve Morris, said the Health Department inspected more than 30,000 premises in the parish for mosquito breeding sites in December of last year.

Chief Public Health Inspector of Westmoreland, Steve Morris, speaks at the monthly meeting of the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation, in Savanna-la-Mar, on Thursday. (Photo: Serena Grant, JIS)

He noted that of that number, 1,135 properties were found to have breeding sites, adding that notices were served, of which 717 were obeyed.

He added that the parish’s Aedes index has seen a significant reduction, and for the month of December it was under four per cent.

“Research has shown that an Aedes index below five per cent is able to reduce transmission of [mosquito borne] diseases, and so we are within that band,” Morris highlighted.

Morris credited the department’s vector-control staff complement of eight permanent workers and 90 Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment (HOPE) Programme workers, for the reduction of breeding sites in the parish.

The HOPE programme workers were added to the department in June of last year as part of the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ enhanced vector-control programme, and will complete their tenure in April.

Meanwhile, Morris also encouraged residents to check their premises for mosquito breeding sites at least once per week.

The enhanced vector-control programme, which was launched in August of last year, has engaged 1,000 temporary workers, who joined more than 200 permanent staff in undertaking vector control and public education activities in communities across the island.