Senior Medical Officer at the Savanna-la-Mar Public General Hospital, Dr. Suman Vemu, is advising citizens to visit a health facility at the first symptom of dengue and not to wait until the condition has reached a critical stage.
“You should not wait at home for somebody to say, ‘go and see a doctor’. When you delay by staying at home and you reach us very late, there are limited things that we can do,” Dr. Vemu said.
He said that persons who do not live close to a hospital, should visit their health centre, and implored all patients to follow the instructions given by the doctor.
Dr. Vemu was addressing the dengue town hall meeting hosted by the Westmoreland Public Health Services (WPHS) at the Bethel Town Baptist Church in the parish on last Thursday (January 30).
Symptoms of dengue include sudden onset of high fever with severe headache; fatigue; pain behind the eyes; muscle, bone or joint pain; skin rash; and vomiting or feeling nauseous.
Dr. Vemu noted that children, the elderly and persons with diabetes and other illness are especially prone to contracting dengue fever.
He highlighted the importance of the blood platelet count in dengue fever, as a low platelet count puts the patient at risk of bleeding and haemorrhage.
“In the public hospital you will be able to get proper testing in a timely manner. So, we will see the platelet count and we can advise you whether you can go home and come back to see us or not,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Vemu noted that the public health department is undertaking public education as well as fogging and other mosquito eradication activities.
He noted, however, that the responsibility lies with citizens to ensure that their surroundings do not become breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
For her part, Medical Officer of Health for Westmoreland, Dr. Marcia Graham, revealed that the number of suspected dengue cases has been trending down in the parish since November of last year.
She credited the improvements to the various measures being employed by WPHS to tackle the disease.
“We have seen where we have worked along with persons in the community and we have seen the positive impact of the various interventions, which have been taking place,” Dr. Graham said.
The town hall was held to educate residents of Bethel Town and surrounding areas about the dangers of dengue fever.
Several key personnel from the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA) made presentations and answered questions from residents during the event.