The holiday season is firmly upon us. This a time during which health care professionals are often swamped with work for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to, an influx of trauma cases, skeletal staffing during the holidays and an increase among medical cases. I will take this opportunity as we wrap up this year to reflect on certain health topics we covered and as well as give reminders for healthy living during the festive season.
One thing that is common during the holidays is that people on chronic medications tend to default their medications. Some of the reasons include frequent travelling, forgetting medications at usual residence and the excitement associated with the festivities.
It is important for patients on chronic medications to continue with their usual routines of taking medications or set new reminders in line with activities of the holidays to comply with treatment. I also advice that before travelling one need to make sure they have adequate supply of their medication to cover them throughout the festive seasons. Some medications may be difficult to source particularly for those travelling to rural areas with no pharmacies.
During the festivities there is often plenty to eat and drink and often compliance with diet becomes a problem. Often patients tend to eat everything they want under the premise of “tla ke ipolaye fela,” loosely translated to “let me just kill myself”. Despite how difficult it is I urge people with diabetes and hypertension particularly to take heed of what they eat as this will have long term implications on the control of their diseases. They can still indulge but in moderation.
Other risky behaviors as well that have an impact on the general health are on the rise. I urge individuals to drink alcohol in moderation and desist from usage of illicit drugs at all. They should avoid drinking and driving.
For those that go out to places of entertainment it is important to allocate a designated driver who has not consumed alcohol. It is also important to adhere to the speed limit and obey road signs. As already mentioned, during this time, road traffic accidents are on the rise and are a significant cause of death.
Finally, I advise against engaging in risky sexual behaviour. HIV is still of high prevalence in Botswana, and it is known that chances of infection go high when the is substance use. It is crucial to always condomise and avoid multiple sexual partners. Individuals who are at high risk can also contact the local clinic or doctor to be assessed for initiation of PREP.
With those few words, I wish everyone a merry Christmas and a happy new year. Let’s all enjoy the holidays with caution and take good care of ourselves.