Water Related Emergency In St. Lucia: Health Risks, Impacts, and Safety Tips

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St. Lucia – The Ministry of Health, Wellness, and Elderly Affairs provides guidance in relation to the water-related emergency declared by the Water and Sewerage Company Inc. on Tuesday 14th May, 2024 to reduce the possible associated health risks, potential impacts, and provide essential safety measures to mitigate adverse effects.

The current water-related emergency and shortage presents several health hazards that citizens must be vigilant about. Among the primary concerns are:

  • Waterborne Diseases: Contaminated water sources can lead to the spread of waterborne diseases such as gastroenteritis. These illnesses pose severe risks to public health and require immediate attention and preventative measures.
  • Dehydration and Heat-Related Illnesses: Water scarcity may result in dehydration and increase susceptibility to heat-related illnesses, especially among vulnerable populations such as the elderly and children. Prolonged exposure to high temperatures without access to clean water can lead to heat exhaustion and heatstroke.
  • Sanitation Issues: Insufficient access to clean water compromises basic hygiene practices, increasing the likelihood of sanitation-related health issues such as skin infections, respiratory infections, and vector-borne diseases.

 

 

 

To mitigate the health risks associated with the water-related emergency, the Ministry of Health, Wellness, and Elderly Affairs recommends the following safety tips and precautionary measures:

  • Boil Water Before Consumption: When boiling ensure that all drinking water comes to a rolling boil to eliminate potential pathogens and contaminants. Alternatively, utilize bottled water from trusted sources.
  • Practice Proper Hygiene: Maintain good hygiene practices by washing hands thoroughly with soap and clean water, especially before eating or preparing food, and after using the bathroom.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration, particularly during hot weather conditions. Opt for bottled water or properly treated water sources.
  • Monitor Symptoms: Be vigilant for symptoms of waterborne diseases, heat-related illnesses, or any other health concerns. Seek medical attention promptly if symptoms arise.
  • Conserve Water: Implement water conservation measures to reduce strain on existing water resources. Use water sparingly and avoid wastage wherever possible.
  • Seek Assistance if Needed: Vulnerable individuals, such as the elderly, children, and individuals with pre-existing health conditions, should receive special attention and support during this time. Community support systems and healthcare facilities are available to provide assistance if needed.

The Ministry of Health, Wellness, and Elderly Affairs emphasizes the importance of proactive measures in addressing the current water-related emergency. By staying informed, practicing precautionary measures, and adhering to recommended safety guidelines, citizens can safeguard their health and well- being during this challenging period.

For further information, contact the Environmental Health Department at telephone numbers 468 3700 or 468-3704/3719.

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