The Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners (BAMP) recognizes that many people may be saying respiratory illnesses such as COVID-19, RSV and influenza plus dengue fever are circulating, so what?

Not only do these illnesses cause people who are medically vulnerable, young children and the elderly to be very unwell, but they may also cause significant impact on our healthcare systems. Our healthcare institutions were already under strain from non-communicable diseases such as heart failure, stroke, heart attacks, diabetes and cancers. Our hospitals are now faced with admissions due to a spectrum of viral respiratory illnesses and dengue fever, a mosquito borne viral illness.

So, what should we be doing collectively? There are no mandates, but it is good common sense to prevent the elderly and the medically vulnerable from getting sick by wearing a mask and hand-sanitizing when dealing with them and encouraging them to wear a mask when in public. If you are sick, have fever or just feel congested, do not go to visit a nursing home or a health institution. If you work in a closed environment and you are ill, coughing or have congestion or fever do not go to work and do not send children to school who are sick.

With respect to dengue fever, it is important to remember that a person may get dengue fever more than once as there are different strains. There are also no proven natural supplements that will prevent dengue fever or cause the disease to have less impact. To prevent dengue fever, one must prevent mosquito breeding by getting rid of water-containing receptacles in our immediate environment and prevent indiscriminate dumping of rubbish. We must also work hard to prevent mosquito bites in the early morning and evening.

Whether due to respiratory illness or dengue fever, any cause of fever and poor appetite can lead to dehydration. Reduce fever by using paracetamol and wearing loose clothing. Encourage regular water and fluid intake. Just by preventing significant dehydration, we can prevent many of the complications of viral infections.
Prevention is always better than cure!