Dr. Vance Gilbert gives tips for a healthy and safe Christmas and Carnival

Dr. Vance Gilbert

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, DECEMBER 27TH 2012 (CUOPM) – With the traditional Christmas and Carnival celebrations in full swing, a Cuban-trained local medical practitioner is offering some gentle, but important, advice for the holidays to nationals and residents in ensuring a healthy and safe Christmas and Carnival season.

Tabernacle-born Dr. Vance Gilbert, the second to last child of Clement and Mary Gilbert of Tabernacle in a national statement noted that this time of the year of celebration, persons indulge and often overindulge in a number of festive activities.

“It seems like the year has only started and now we are here again. I imagine that we look forward to the traditional foods like ham and turkey and those delicious cakes. Not to forget the alcohol that is consumed, for some the only time a year and for the regulars just another reason or perhaps the perfect reason to drink even more, Christmas and carnival,” said Dr. Gilbert.

He added while all that is fine, persons should enjoy as we have all had a year of working hard and experienced many challenges.

“But we are still here and for this we must give thanks, be happy and celebrate. But in all our doings conventional wisdom states it should be done in moderation. So I wish to offer healthy tips that should guide us through a festive but healthy season so, on the other side of the New Year we can still be or even be feeling and looking as good asor better than before,” said Dr. Gilbert, who disclosed that he was lucky enough to be given a scholarship to study medicine in Cuba which he was a “wonderful opportunity that changed my life and helped me to understand so much more about the world. As much as I valued that experience, however, I was also eager to get back home. And ever since returning to St. Kitts, I’ve been working as a medical doctor.”

Dr. Gilbert in providing the healthy tips stated:

1. Nutrition: a balanced diet is always the way to go. So don’t get too carried away with the eating. Remember to eat your fruits and vegetables and don’t overdo the fast food and sugary foods. The diabetics, especially, must be careful with the cakes, even though the temptation is great, moderation must be the key. Limit your portion size. Don’t forget you don’t want to end up in the hospital January morning with your blood sugar out of control.

Dr. Vance Gilbert (in hat) gives medical assistance to a young man who was injured during Wednesday’s Jouvert when his leg was run over by a wheel from one of the bands on Fort Street.
Dr. Vance Gilbert (center) and Dr. Norgen Wilson (right) give medical assistance to a young man who was injured during Wednesday’s Jouvert when his leg was run over and pinned by a wheel from one of the bands on Fort Street. (photos by Erasmus Williams)

2. Exercise: Some of us will get plenty exercise in the revelry of the carnivals. We must remember to keep our exercise routines bearing in mind the excess eating and drinking we normally do this time of year. You do not want all the progress you have made over the past year to be dashed away in a few weeks. Keep up the habit, we know once that is broken it is often difficult to restart. And if you are not accustomed to exercise now is a good time to start as you will have a few days of holidays this season. Get a group of friends a start an exercise club, cycling is one that seems to be in the increase and is a very good form of exercise. If you plan to” live in the band for carnival” it’s still not too late to get in some exercise and try to get your fitness level up a bit. A good jam of course is certainly good exercise.

3. Water: Drink plenty water. Especially the party animals in the carnival time. As we revel in the troupes and the other parties that go until morning we must remember to keep hydrated. Alcohol also causes you to urinate more frequently so you will need to replenish by drinking even more water than normal. Remember to alternate every glass of alcoholic drink with a glass of water.

4. Sleep: I know that carnival is a time when we get very little rest as there is so much going on, I think there was a song a few years ago that said “from Jouvert to last lap we living on the road.” We still have to realize that the body needs rest to function and so we still need to try get in at least 6 hours during those party days and the usual 8 hours on the other days. And remember it won’t break or make you if you don’t go to every party or fete.

5. Relaxation: Take some me time and find a quiet area to relax and reflect on the year past and plan for the year to come. Many of us have lived a very busy life over the year and as the young people say take some time and “chillax”. Plan your activities and don’t stress yourself out this season, the things you cannot change don’t worry about them.

6. Alcohol: it’s a festive season and alcoholic beverages form part of the festivities. While I will not tell you not to drink, I will say do so in moderation and do so responsibly. Don’t drink and drive. Period. Get a designated driver. It makes no sense to drink to get drunk; you miss half the fun if you’re drunk. Avoid drinking with strangers. You do not want to wake up in a place you did not plan for or to have things happen to you that you did not intend.

7. Safe sex: parties, alcohol, good looking people and sex come hand in hand. Remember that STI’s (sexual transmitted infections) do not have a face so practice safe sex at all times. Many unwanted pregnancies occur at this period every year. It is much cheaper to protect yourselves than to struggle with the shame, pain, and complications of sexually transmitted diseases …….or to have to face the responsibilities of a child you did not expect and for which you really are not financially, emotionally, or in other ways ready. Remember, however, if your behavior does result in a child being born, you must, like a responsible man or woman, step forward and make certain that you really take care of that child both emotionally as well as financially. All of this should tell you, then, that the best way to keep your life simple, minimize your stress, and keep your troubles few and far between, is to USE A CONDOM.

“At the risk of sounding like a boring uptight professor I end here and just encourage you to enjoy and have fun but use wisdom and do all things in moderation,” said Dr. Gilbert , who began working as a Government physician in 2005, and is now a District Medical Officer.

” A few years ago I was able to meet what I thought was an important need, by opening my own medical clinic and business, the New Life Health Care Center, Doctors Office and Pharmacy in the Amory Mall, Basseterre. It is extremely satisfying being able to apply my training here at home because I know that, in the process, I am making life better for people from all walks of life,” said Dr. Gilbert.

He said that he got into medicine “because I’ve always felt that we should live not only for ourselves, but also to be of service to others, to, in some small way, make our communities – and even our country – better.”

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