Two Of The Newest Members of SCEEP Doing Their Part To Protect The Environment

DHEC’s Office of Environmental Affairs visited with two of the newest members of the South Carolina Environmental Excellence Program recently to talk with managers and staff about the Bridgestone Americas Aiken Off Road Tire Plant and the PSR Plant in Aiken. Both facilities are very involved with their communities and are doing their part towards environmental sustainability.

Aiken Off Road Tire Plant

The Aiken Off Road Tire Plant is the newest Bridgestone Americas facility in Aiken and they are harvesting rain water. Since 2015, more than 16 million gallons of rainwater has been harvested. Total water usage continues to decrease due in part to the rainwater collection as well as using low flow water fixtures, waterless urinals and closed loop cooling. This facility is also recycling 100 percent of its production waste, upgrading LED fixtures and adding occupancy sensors to help reduce energy usage.

The Aiken Off Road Tire Plant also hosts a Community Outreach Event at the Gregg Park Civic Center in Graniteville that is open to children of the Graniteville, Vaucluse, and Warrenville communities.  This event helps promote conservation ad positive community relations with citizens.

PSR Plant

The PSR Plant is using solar energy throughout its facility and many outlying areas use solar exclusively.  Natural lighting in the warehouse is used during daytime hours to conserve energy consumption and in many places interior lighting has been converted to low-energy consuming LED lights.

The PSR Plant has maintained a 100 percent recycle rate for plant wastes and no manufacturing waste is shipped to landfills. This plant is also LEED Silver-certified since 2009 by the Green Building Council. An environmental learning center is on site and located outdoors, complete with a disc golf course, a horseshoe gaming area and walking trails. This center is used by PSR plant teams as well as civic groups, church groups and schools. A bluebird habitat is maintained on site in conjunction with the South Carolina Bluebird Society. A total of 31 bluebird boxes are on site and are monitored weekly by employee volunteers. Over the past 10 years, a total of 1,377 eggs have been in the boxes with 965 young fledge hatching so far.

Congratulations to both the Aiken Off Road Tire Plant and the PSR Plant of Bridgestone Americas for your work towards environmental sustainability. Both facilities will be members of the South Carolina Environmental Excellence Program through 2021.

Learn more

For more information on becoming a member of the SCEEP, please contact Rebecca Sproles at sprolemr@dhec.sc.gov or 803-898-3139.

Have A Healthy, Enjoyable Trip To The SC State Fair

scstatefair - fair gate 2

Photo courtesy of the SC State Fair.

The 149th annual S.C. State Fair will soon be open (October 10-21) and attendees of all ages will once again enjoy funnel cakes, live music, and amusement rides. To help ensure you enjoy your time at the fair, listed below are a few health tips to keep in mind while strolling beneath the neon lights of the Midway.

Always Wash Your Hands

When

  • Before eating and drinking
  • Before and after visiting animal exhibits
  • After using the restroom
  • After playing a carnival game
  • After going on a ride

How

  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and running water.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if running water is not available.

“Keeping hands clean is one of the most important things we can do to stop the spread of germs and stay healthy.” (CDC, 2017)

Things to Avoid

  • Don’t take food or drinks into animal exhibits.
  • Don’t eat, drink, or place anything in your mouth while visiting animal exhibits.
  • Don’t take toys, pacifiers, cups, baby bottles, or strollers into animal exhibits.
  • Don’t enter animal exhibits if you are experiencing any type of illness, particularly flu-like symptoms (e.g. fever, cough, sore throat).
  • Avoid close contact with any animals who appear ill.

Things to Remember

  • Eat ‘hot’ foods while they are still hot and eat ‘cold’ foods while they are still cold.
  • Take extra care to observe these health tips when visiting animal exhibits to prevent diarrheal illness and other infections that animals may carry. This is particularly important for certain groups, including:
  • Children younger than 5 years of age
  • Adults 65 years and older
  • Pregnant women
  • People with long-term health conditions such as, asthma, diabetes, heart disease, chronic respiratory disease, weakened immune systems, and neurological or neurodevelopmental conditions
  • Seek medical attention if you develop a fever accompanied with cough and/or sore throat, diarrhea, and/or vomiting within several days after visiting the fair.

Following these tips will help prevent infections.  Have fun!

 Resources

Center for Disease Control Food Safety at Fairs and Festivals

KNOW How to be Safe Around Animals

Take Action to Prevent the Spread of Flu Between Pigs and People

Wash Your Hands

From Other Blogs: Handwashing, mold after a flood, safer food choices & more

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

Protect yourself and wash your hands the right way

Hand washing is the number one way to help prevent the spread of germs and diarrhea-related illnesses. As flu season approaches, it is vital that we make a habit of washing our hands frequently throughout the day. — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

Tips on Cleaning Mold after a Flood

Returning to your home after a flood is a big part of getting your life back to normal. But you may be facing a new challenge: mold. What can you do to get rid of it?  How do you get the mold out of your home and stay safe at the same time? CDC has investigated floods, mold, and cleanup, and offers practical tips for homeowners and others on how to safely and efficiently remove mold from the home. — From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Your Health — Your Environment blog

Help Your Patients Make Safer Food Choices

Every year, an estimated 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases. Salmonella and Campylobacter, two of the many types of bacteria that are commonly transmitted through food, can cause antibiotic-resistant infections.

As physicians, we can help patients protect themselves against foodborne illness by talking with them about their risk. — From the CDC’s Safe Healthcare blog

Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning Prevention

Every year, at least 430 people die in the U. S. from accidental CO poisoning. Approximately 50,000 people in the U.S. visit the emergency department each year due to accidental CO poisoning. There are steps you can take to help protect yourself and your household from CO poisoning. Change the batteries in your CO detector every six months. If you don’t have a battery-powered or battery back-up CO detector, buy one soon. — From the CDC’s Your Health — Your Environment blog

DHEC in the News: DHEC mobile care unit, flu, opioids and meth

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

DHEC’s mobile care unit deploying to counties facing severe flooding

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WPDE) — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control will use its WIC Mobile Clinic to help those who can’t get to local health departments due to recent flooding from Hurricane Florence.

Later this week the mobile care van will travel to the Cheraw and Marion areas to provide adult immunizations and nutrition services for eligible women and children.

DHEC to deploy mobile care unit to SC flood stricken areas

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) – The South Carolina Department of Health says it will roll out its WIC mobile clinic to help residents in areas recovering from the flood.

General Interest

80,000 deaths caused by flu last season, CDC says

(CNN)An estimated 80,000 Americans died of flu and its complications last winter, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This means it was the deadliest season in more than four decades — since 1976, the date of the first published paper reporting total seasonal flu deaths, said CDC Spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund.

In previous seasons, flu-related deaths have ranged from a low of about 12,000 during the 2011-2012 season to a high of about 56,000 during the 2012-2013.

While America wages war on opioids, meth makes its comeback

(CNN)For Capt. Mark Wollmershauser Jr. and the Tulsa Police Department, the late-2000s and early 2010s were an extremely dangerous time.

In Oklahoma, a state that is no stranger to the scourge of methamphetamine addiction, those years were the heyday of the “shake and bake” method — a rudimentary way of making meth using just cold medicine, some toxic chemicals and an empty two-liter bottle.

The technique is simple enough that many addicts can cook their own meth, but with one tiny misstep, the chemical reaction that occurs inside can cause deadly explosions.

You Can Help #EndRabies: Share the Message. Save a Life

By Travis Shealy
SC DHEC Rabies Prevention Program Manager

Share the message. Save a life. World Rabies Day, Sept. 28, is an international event that seeks to raise awareness about rabies in order to enhance prevention and control efforts. Rabies is a deadly virus that kills humans, pets, and wildlife across the globe. Education and regular vaccinations are the key to #EndRabies. This year, SC DHEC is asking South Carolinians to submit photos of their vaccinated pets and livestock to be included in our World Rabies Day 2018 Photo Album. For more information on submission details, please visit our website.

What is Rabies?

Rabies is a virus (Lyssavirus) that can be transmitted when saliva or neural tissue of an infected animal is introduced into the body of a healthy person or animal. It infects cells in the central nervous system, causing disease in the brain and, ultimately, death. Any animal with rabies has the ability to transmit the disease to humans or pets. In South Carolina, rabies is most often found in wildlife such as raccoons, skunks, foxes, and bats. Keep in mind, pets are just as susceptible to the virus as wild animals.

Rabies in S.C.

Since 2013, South Carolina has averaged approximately 110 confirmed cases of rabies in animals a year. The SC Rabies by the Numbers Map provides statistics of rabies cases by county, species, and year. View rabies statistics from across the state here

Rabies Prevention

Join us in the fight to #EndRabies by keeping your pets up-to-date on their rabies vaccination. This not only protects your pet, it protects you and your family from this deadly virus.

Another great way to safeguard against rabies is to avoid wild animals, particularly wild animals acting tame and tame animals acting wild, and to educate your children on the dangers of handling unknown animals. If you see an animal that appears sick, contact your local animal control office, wildlife control operatorrehabilitation group, or veterinarian for help. Never handle strays or wildlife, and make sure to keep them away from your family pets. You can learn more about rabies symptoms here.

Bats: Rabid bats have been known to transmit the rabies virus to humans and pets. People don’t always realize they’ve been bitten since bat teeth are tiny and bites are easy to overlook. Because of this, you should always assume a person has potentially been bitten when:

  • They wake up to find a bat in the room or tent;
  • A bat is found where children, pets, or persons with impaired mental capacity (intoxicated or mentally disabled) have been left unattended;
  • A person or pet has been in direct contact with a bat.

Any bat that could have had potential contact with people, pets, or livestock should be safely trapped in a sealed container and not touched. Contact your local DHEC Environmental Health Services’ office to report the incident. Never release a bat that has potentially exposed a person or pet. Once a bat is released, it cannot be tested for rabies. Similarly, never handle a bat or any wild or stray animal, alive or dead, with your bare hands.

Reporting Possible Rabies Exposure

If you’re bitten or scratched by a wild, stray, or unvaccinated animal care for the wound properly and contact your health care provider immediately. The health care provider is required by the Rabies Control Act to report the incident to DHEC.

If you or your child is bitten, scratched, or otherwise exposed and you do not seek medical treatment for the wound, you are required by the Rabies Control Act to report the bite to DHEC by the end of the following business day.

Contact information for the Environmental Health Services’ office in your area can be found on our website at www.scdhec.gov/ea-regional-offices.

For more information on rabies, visit www.scdhec.gov/rabies.

World Rabies Day is co-sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC).