Federation’s Top Health Official On Swine Flu

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Dr. Patrick  Martin – “There is no need to panic.”

Charlestown, Nevis
April 27, 2009

The Federation’s top Health official, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Patrick Martin, announced that while there were no Swine Flu cases reported in Nevis or St. Kitts factual information, simple personal hygiene measures and attention to health and wellness should be used to guard against the influenza virus.

He told the Media on Monday at a press briefing at the Nevis Disaster Preparedness Office at Long Point, that though the virus was of major concern to health authorities, transmission of the virus could be prevented and there should be no need for panic.

“Transmission of the virus can be prevented. There is no need to panic. Prevention occurs via simple personal hygiene measures that we all know from the way in which we were raised.

Cover your mouth and nose when you are sneezing; this is nothing new. Cover your mouth and your nose with an absorbent tissue then throw it away in the trash, then wash your hand with soap and water. Wash your face with soap and water than dry your face and your hands with a dry towel. A very, very simple hygiene measure not rocket science at all,” he said.

Dr. Martin also echoed sentiments of the Ministry of Agriculture on Nevis, of the importance of utilising local produce to boost the immune system to prevent Swine Flu.

“We also have to boost our immune system by eating well and the people of Nevis know how to eat local food well. The local foods have the vitamins and minerals that protect our immune systems and helps us to fight off Swine Flu and any other flu.

“A well hydrated body works better, drink your water and your coconut water and your local drinks made from tamarind and lime”¦these local drinks are filled with vittamin C and water. The other drinks with fizz and pop are not recommended they have no vitamins and minerals in them,” he said.

Dr. Martin also recommended rest and exercise and pointed to the benefits from sea bathing which provided all round exercise, was a stress reducer, which killed germs and was free of charge.

“Attend to spiritual health and maintain a positive mental attitude. Panic leads to the outpouring of certain hormones which depress your immune system,” he said.

He also urged persons to avoid diverting the resources of the Alexandra Hospital for the treatment of an ordinary flu. Instead they should consult with their private physicians or the health care professionals at the island’s six health centres.

Dr. Martin used the opportunity to explain that St. Kitts and Nevis was part of a global response to the Swine Flu and have been in contact with the World Health Organisation, the Pan American Health Organisation and the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre.

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