Asthmatics and persons with respiratory conditions in the vicinity of the demolition of the Althea Scatliffe Primary School are being urged to take the necessary precautions including the wearing of masks.
Chief of Drugs and Pharmaceutical Services, Mrs. Gracia Wheatley-Smith said the demolition, which has started, is expected to be completed in an estimated two-week period and that she is encouraging asthmatics and persons with respiratory conditions living and working in the area to take precautions.
Mrs. Wheatley-Smith said vulnerable persons should wear a form-fitting mask to reduce inhalation of the dust that will be generated during the demolition and which will linger in the air even after the demolition period is over. Asthmatics should also ensure that they have their rescue inhaler on hand to administer in the event of an attack.
The Chief of Drugs said persons should also use alternative routes where possible to reduce exposure. “These air borne particles are small and may not be visible to the eyes but they can trigger an asthma attack, make it difficult to breathe and also irritate the eyes,” she said.
Persons are also advised to keep windows closed during the demolition period to reduce dust entering their homes, keep pets indoors, avoid hanging laundry outside and place floor mats inside all entryways. Shoes should not be worn beyond entry door and should be cleaned on a daily basis during this time.
“We also want to take this time to encourage persons to hose down any outside furniture and surfaces every day around the house to reduce the pile up of dust,” Mrs. Wheatley-Smith cautioned. She added, “If asthmatic, do not hesitate to go to the Emergency Room if experiencing prolonged difficulty in breathing especially after using the rescue inhaler(salbutamol).” She also alerted the community to look out for cockroaches and other rodents that will be looking for a place to live as a result of the demolition.
The Ministry of Health and Social Development is committed to improving the health of the people of the Virgin Islands.