From Other Blogs: Celebrating America’s health centers, dealing with extreme heat, caring for a sinus infection

A collection of health and environmental posts from other governmental blogs.

Celebrating America’s Health Centers: Our Healthcare Heroes

I wouldn’t be here today if not for this health center. I didn’t realize all the help they offer and how many people use them until I became a patient … The staff has always treated me with the utmost respect. I can never thank them enough. I’ll have a place in my heart for these folks for the rest of my life.” -Phillip, a patient at a health center in Virginia

For Phillip and more than 27 million other adults and children across the country, health centers provide affordable, high-quality and patient-centered primary healthcare that would otherwise be out of their reach.

Health centers use a holistic approach to patient care, treating the entire person by integrating mental health, oral health, substance use disorder and primary medical care services. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) funds nearly 1,400 health centers operating more than 11,000 service delivery sites in communities across the country.  — From the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) blog

CDC’s Tracking Network in Action: Extreme Heat

Extremely hot weather can make you sick. Stay cool and hydrated to protect yourself. The Tracking Network provides data and tools that you can use to see how extreme heat may affect your health. — From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Your Health – Your Environment blog

When to seek care for a sinus infection

Most adults have experienced a sinus infection and know how annoying and painful they can be.

Acute sinus infections generally stem from the common cold. The pressure felt in the face, forehead and behind the eyes is caused by the inflammation of the sinus cavities and nasal passageway. — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

Collaborating to Make Stronger Emergency Managers

Building a “Culture of Preparedness” and readying a nation for disaster isn’t limited to the United States.

A three-day summit at the Emergency Management Institute that focused on emergency management training and education continues the collaboration between FEMA and Mexico’s National Center for Disaster Prevention.

Supported by the U.S. Northern Command’s Humanitarian Assistance Branch, the two agencies agreed to a six to 10 year project that will strengthen emergency management training and education in both countries. They committed to sharing knowledge in emergency management training, exercises, and education to support and enhance the capacities of the each nation. — From the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) blog

A pain in the neck

Do you ever wake up with a stiffness in your neck? What about pain in your neck that gets worse after holding your head in one place for a long time? These are typical signs of neck pain. Other symptoms of neck pain include muscle tightness and spasms, headaches, decreased ability to move your head, and difficulty sleeping.

Approximately 10 to 25 percent of people complain about having a severe neck pain episode at least once in their lives. Aging and everyday damage contribute to the commonness of neck pain, and while these causes of neck pain cannot be avoided, there are many that can. — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

From Other Blogs: National Immunization Awareness Month, convenience foods, disaster recovery & more

A collection of health and environmental posts from other governmental blogs.

Honor National Immunization Awareness Month by Taking Your Best Shot

Last month, news broke that an infant in San Bernardino County, California, died from whooping cough.

As a pediatrician, public health advocate, father, and grandfather of a young infant, it is one of my greatest sorrows to know that even one child died from a disease that is preventable.

Thanks to vaccines, we can protect young infants against whooping cough by making sure everyone is up to date with their vaccines.  — From the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) blog

What Drives Consumers to Purchase Convenience Foods?

Many Americans lead busy lives and don’t have a lot of time to prepare food for their families. Faced with greater time constraints from work, childcare, and commuting, they often turn to convenience foods. Convenience foods are defined as types of foods that save time in food acquisition, preparation, and cleanup. Convenience foods are restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food from grocery stores. The ready-to-eat food encompasses many types of food ranging from bananas to frozen pizza that require little or no preparation. Although these convenience foods save time, they tend to have lower nutritional values and can be more expensive than food that takes more time to prepare. — From the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) blog

#IAmHHS: Helping U.S. Communities Recover after a Disaster

Over my career at HHS, I’ve assisted communities across America in recovering from more than 30 different disasters. So I’m often asked, which was the worst disaster you worked on?

I can’t answer that.  If you’re the person whose home, business or school was destroyed, it’s the worst hurricane, earthquake, tornado, flood, or incident ever. You simply cannot compare disasters.  Every disaster is different; every community is different.  Instead, what matters is to peel back the layers of the onion and see how a community has been affected by the disaster. Whether that is a Hurricane Harvey or the creek that floods out one house, all are devastatingly difficult for the people affected. — From the HHS blog

FDA Announces Two Initiatives to Modernize Drug Quality Programs

Patients expect and deserve high-quality drugs – this means consistently safe and effective medicines, free of defects and contamination. To satisfy these important expectations, the FDA strives to make sure that FDA-approved drugs are manufactured to meet quality standards to ensure that every dose is safe, effective, and capable of providing its intended benefit. — From the US Food & Drug Administration’s blog

5 Common Flood Insurance Myths

The National Flood Insurance Program has worked to protect the life you’ve built for the past 50 years and will continue to do so into the future.  Don’t let rumors and myths drive your decisions.

Here are the five most common myths about flood insurance. — From the Federal Emergency Management Agency blog

DHEC in the News: Measles, protecting children against contagious diseases, improving health for mothers and newborns

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

DHEC: Measles Confirmed in Georgetown County Resident

Columbia, SC (WLTX) The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) received a report of a confirmed case of measles in a resident who lives in Georgetown County on Friday, August 10, from a local healthcare provider.

DHEC has begun a contact investigation and is notifying people who may have been exposed in specific settings.

School starts soon in York Co. Is your child protected against contagious diseases?

ROCK HILL – Cases of hand, foot and mouth disease have been popping up in York County. But that’s just one of several contagious diseases parents should watch for as school starts Aug. 20.

Parents also should also be mindful of pink eye, respiratory infections and other illnesses that are easily transmitted in a school setting, said Dr. Arash Poursina, infectious disease specialist for Piedmont Medical Center.

“As school starts, we do usually see a spike in the number of upper respiratory infections,” he said.

General Interest

Opinion: South Carolina is focused on improving health for new mothers and newborns

A recent USA Today story called attention to the fact that the United States is falling behind other developed nations with an increase in maternal mortality.

For South Carolina’s hospitals, our top priority is to implement a “Zero Harm” culture at our facilities, focused on providing the highest quality care to the patients we serve. That’s why we are committed to working with stakeholders to improve maternal health in our state.

Protect Yourself Against Mosquito-borne Illnesses Such As West Nile Virus

With DHEC announcing on August 1 that an individual in South Carolina was reported to be sick from West Nile virus — the first such occurrence in the 2018 mosquito season  — it is important to protect yourself and your family against mosquito bites.

Be sure to pay attention to the most effective ways to prevent mosquito-borne illnesses:

  • Repellents help keep mosquitoes from biting. Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR 3535 according to label instructions.
  • Make sure that your doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep out mosquitoes.
  • Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property, including flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, birdbaths, old car tires, rain gutters and pet bowls.
  • Wearing light-colored clothing to cover the skin reduces the risk of bites.

“If you develop fever or other symptoms after being bitten by a mosquito, you should contact your health care provider,” said Dr. Linda Bell, SC State Epidemiologist.

What are the symptoms of West Nile virus disease?

  • Febrile illness in some people. About 1 in 5 people who are infected will develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Most people with this type of West Nile virus disease recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months.
  • Severe symptoms in a few people. Less than 1% of people who are infected will develop a serious neurologic illness such as encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues). The symptoms of neurologic illness can include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures, or paralysis.

For more information about preventing mosquito bites and the spread of West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses, go to www.scdhec.gov/mosquitoes. Learn more about West Nile virus at www.scdhec.gov/westnile.

World Breastfeeding Week 2018: Mother’s love, Mother’s Milk

World Breastfeeding Week offers a perfect time to highlight the benefits of breastfeeding.

The annual observance, coordinated by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), is August 1-7, 2018. This year’s theme, “Breastfeeding: Foundation of Life,” focuses on educating everyone on how breastfeeding is the foundation of lifelong health for babies and mothers. In a world filled with health disparities, it is critical that all babies have a strong foundation for a healthy life. According to WABA, breastfeeding prevents hunger and malnutrition in all its forms and ensures food security for babies, even in times of crises.

“Breastfeeding is one of the best gifts a mother can give her child,” said Ellen Babb, DHEC’s Breastfeeding Coordinator. “No formula can equal the unique combination of easily digestible nutrients and immune factors found in human milk. In addition to numerous physical benefits for mother and baby, breastfeeding promotes a special, lasting bond between them.”

Tackling the myths

Unfortunately, there are many myths about breastfeeding that have made many mothers indecisive on whether to breastfeed their babies or not. Take a look at a few of them below.

Myth: I won’t be able to make enough milk.

Moms almost always make enough milk to feed their babies. Your baby is likely getting more than you think at each feeding. A newborn’s stomach is only the size of an almond. If you eat in a healthy way, drink water, and nurse often, your milk supply should be plentiful. If you have any concerns about your milk supply or your child’s weight, check in with your baby’s doctor or nurse.

Myth: Breastfeeding hurts.

The truth is that breastfeeding is not supposed to be a painful experience. In fact, pain is usually a red flag that something is wrong. While a baby’s latch can be strong, it’s not actually biting, not even when the baby is cutting teeth. As with any new skill, there is an adjustment period. WIC provides breastfeeding peer counselors, lactation consultants, and educational materials to help you get a good start and proper latch – a key to preventing pain. There’s a number of organizations in South Carolina (such as hospitals, lactation centers, and the WIC Program) that offers assistance with breastfeeding through lactation counselors, lactation consultants, peer counselors, and educational materials to help you get a good start and proper latch – a key to preventing pain.

Myth: If I breastfeed, the baby will want only me, or be spoiled.

Just because you breastfeed does not mean that your baby will only want you or be spoiled. While there is a joyful closeness and bonding that occurs during breastfeeding there are also many things others can do, especially dad. He can do things such as playing with the baby, holding baby skin to skin, changing diapers, and more. When dad holds baby skin-to-skin, he can also develop a special bond with the baby. For those worried about spoiling their babies, research shows that breastfed children grow up to be confident and self-sufficient when parents work to meet their other emotional needs.

Challenges of Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding can be challenging, especially in the early days but you are not alone. Lactation consultants can help you find ways to make breastfeeding work for you and your baby. Some women face challenges while breastfeeding, while others do not. Additionally, some women may have certain problems with one baby that they may not have with others. Click here to learn more tackling breastfeeding challenges.

Human milk is the best milk

It is important for moms to know that any amount of breastmilk you give to your baby will be of great benefit because every ounce counts! Human breast milk has been the normal, natural milk to nourish babies since the very beginning of our existence. Breastfeeding promotes a joyful closeness with your baby and a special lifelong bond. It’s a gift only you can give your baby!

For more general information about breastfeeding, click here. For information about how WIC can help with breastfeeding, please click here.