Ensuring a safe and enjoyable Vincymas
Physician's Weekly
June 11, 2024

Ensuring a safe and enjoyable Vincymas

The jump-up days for Vincymas this year are July 8th and 9th. Vincymas has been metaphorically dubbed, “The Hottest Carnival In The Caribbean”. Many pundits anticipate that our 2024 carnival is likely to be the biggest ever with thousands of local, regional, and extra-regional revellers expected to participate.

By adopting a few simple, implementable, inexpensive, and pragmatic measures, those participating in Vincymas 2024 can minimize their chances of encountering health and safety issues on the penultimate and final days, respectively, of the 2024 carnival season, while still having nuff fun.

Preparing for Vincymas

Exercise: It is highly recommended that you get in some exercise in the four weeks ahead of the jump-up days. A brisk walk for a minimum of 30 minutes a day, five days a week, should go a long way toward getting you road-ready. Stretching exercises are also highly recommended.

Healthy Eating: Leading up to:
• Reduce alcohol intake
• Eat lots of vegetables – especially green leafy.
• Consume primarily complex. carbohydrates – yam, tannia, eddoes, sweet potato, cassava.
• Eat healthy animal proteins – fish, chicken (with skin and fat removed).
• Avoid fast foods.
• Up your intake of peas, lentils, nuts, fruits, and grains.
• Try to remain well-hydrated in the weeks leading up to Vincymas.
• Avoid energy, and caffeinated drinks (coffee, tea, colas, etc.).

Smoking: To optimize lung health stop smoking.

Doctor’s check-up: Highly recommended if you are over 40 or you have an NCD (e.g. asthma, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, etc)

Get a good night’s sleep the Sunday night before J’ouvert.

Foot care:
Keep toenails short. Don’t wear new shoes for the jump-ups. Your shoes should correspond to your foot size. Do not wear shoes with heels.

On jump-up days drink lots of fluids, especially water and sports drinks. Avoid excessive consumption of alcohol. If consuming such, consume the equivalent volume of water for each alcoholic beverage consumed.
Avoid energy drinks, for the high concentrations of caffeine within can lead to heart arrhythmias.

A water-based sunscreen should be worn. For dark skin, wear one with a sun-protection factor (SPF) of 30 or more. Light skin should wear one with a SPF of 50 or above. Cover your head with a cap.

Personal hygiene:
If possible carry along a small bottle of hand sanitizer. Sanitize your hands often. Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, and mouth. Ladies should walk with a few non-perfumed flushable sanitary wipes for bathroom occasions.

Ears and eyes:
Protect your ears by steering clear of speakers that are blasting loud music.
Wear goggles to protect your eyes from flying objects, hands in the air, and waving rags.

Eat before you go on the road. When on the road eat small snacks every 3-4 hours to provide your body with its energy needs. Be very cautious when purchasing food on the road. Only purchase food from vendors whose hands are clean, nails are short, clothes are tidy, and hair is covered. Avoid overeating.

Personal safety:
Only carry the absolute essentials. Do not wear jewellery. Keep cash concealed in a cross-body bag. Share your plans for the day with close family and friends.

Avoid poorly lit or isolated areas. There should be a designated driver in your group. Arrange a time and place to meet up in case you get separated from your friends. Periodically check in on each other to ensure that everyone is secure and safe. If dependent on a taxi for transit, make arrangements before going on the road with a specific taxi for your transportation. Never drink and drive.

Many partaking in carnival become uninhibited and do things that they are unlikely to do at other times. Alcohol plays a major role in fostering such risky behaviour. Do not have sex with anyone not known to you. Every time you have sex, use a condom. If you do have unprotected sex, see a doctor at the earliest opportunity to receive post-exposure prophylaxis against HIV, and other STDs/ STIs. Females who have had unprotected sex, once there is no medical contraindication, should consider using the morning-after pill. Avoid kissing anyone on their lips other than your regular partner.

Bands responsibility:
2024 is turning out to be another blisteringly hot year. Against this backdrop, bands are morally obligated to do their best to keep the revellers within their respective bands as cool as possible. In this regard, it is highly recommended that bands consider having a mist machine or mist-generating water bottles that mist their members every 30-40 minutes. This will help to keep revellers cool and significantly reduce their chances of life-threatening heat-related illnesses arising. Ideally, all bands should have someone who is trained in and equipped to administer CPR and first aid.

  •  Author: Dr. C. Malcolm Grant – Family Physician, Family Care Clinic, Arnos Vale. Former tutor in the Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados. For appointments: clinic@familycaresvg.com, 1(784)570-9300 (Office), 1(784)455-0376
    Disclaimer: The information provided in the above article is for educational purposes only and does not substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if you are seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. Dr. C. Malcolm Grant, Family Care Clinic or The Searchlight Newspaper or their associates, respectively, are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information provided above.