KINGSTON, Jamaica. Monday, November 27, 2023: The Ministry of Health & Wellness is reminding the public that as we come to the end of the year, where many countries go into the winter season and where in Jamaica it becomes cooler, that there is an expected increase in the circulation of respiratory viruses and an increase in persons seeking medical care.
Already, the country is experiencing overcrowding in hospital emergency departments as the health system also manages the Dengue outbreak and the rise in cases due to trauma and uncontrolled chronic diseases, including mental illnesses associated with the holiday season.
The public is therefore asked to take all the necessary precautions to keep themselves and their families safe. These include:
- Practicing healthy lifestyle habits such as a balanced diet, exercise, and adequate rest.
- Taking medications regularly and keeping appointments for regular checkups and necessary investigations.
- Paying attention to situations that can lead to interpersonal violence and to avoid or deescalate conflicts.
- Taking precautions on the roads to avoid accidents or injuries such as not drinking or using any substance that will affect mental status while driving, wearing seat belts, and adhering to the rules of the road; and
- Taking precautions to prevent respiratory illnesses such as getting the flu vaccine, wearing masks where appropriate included in crowded situations or when having any respiratory symptoms, staying home if ill, seeking medical care early if symptoms are severe or persistent and wash and sanitize hands frequently.
Persons who visit our healthcare facilities are reminded that there still is a mask policy for healthcare facilities. It is critical at this time that everyone plays a part in reducing illness, as persons with chronic diseases are especially at risk for poor outcomes from respiratory infections.