Highlighting Congaree National Park on World Wetlands Day

February 2 is World Wetlands Day, and it’s a great occasion to learn about South Carolina’s beautiful wetlands and their importance.

Wetlands are vegetated aquatic ecosystems that include areas such as Carolina bays, marshes and swamps. There are approximately 4.1 million acres of wetlands in South Carolina, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  

Wetlands support the state’s economy by providing outdoor recreation opportunities and habitat for wildlife. Wetlands also help provide safety and health benefits to communities in the state by reducing flooding, acting as natural water quality filters and replenishing water supplies.  

Continue reading

DHEC Celebrates Pharmacists on National Pharmacist Day

Pharmacists are among the most trusted members of our health care system. They not only check and dispense medications that their patients need, but they also offer advice on medicine dosages side effects, and the effectiveness of drug therapies. Patients often see their pharmacist more often than their primary care physician.  

Every year on January 12 we take a moment to thank pharmacists for providing medications to keep us healthy and offering advice on over-the-counter drugs.    

DHEC’s Bureau of Drug Control and the Office of Pharmacy provide care, education and oversight in our state.  

Continue reading

DHEC Recognizes Officers for National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day

January 9, 2023, is National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, and we’re taking the opportunity to recognize our law enforcement agents that work to stop the diversion and abuse of controlled substances and protect our state’s environment. DHEC thanks these men and women for the dedication, service and commitment to the rule of law they display every day. 

The agency has two law enforcement units: 

  • Healthcare Quality, Bureau of Drug Control 
  • Environmental Affairs, Office of Law Enforcement 
Continue reading

National Handwashing Awareness Week: Prevent the spread of germs

National Handwashing Awareness Week is Dec. 5 – 11. Handwashing is one of the best and simplest ways to protect yourself, keep your family healthy and prevent the spread of germs.  

Germs can spread from person to person or from surfaces to people when you: 

  • Touch your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands 
  • Prepare or eat food and drinks with unwashed hands 
  • Touch surfaces or objects that have germs on them 
  • Blow your nose, cough or sneeze into hands and then touch other people’s hands or common objects 

Frequently Asked Questions about Hand Hygiene 

What are the key times to wash hands? 
These are CDC’s key times you should wash your hands: 

  • Before, during and after preparing food 
  • Before eating 
  • Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea 
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound 
  • After using the toilet 
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet 
  • After touching an animal, animal feed or animal waste 
  • After handling pet food or pet treats 
  • After touching garbage 
  • If your hands are visibly dirty or greasy 
  • After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, you should immediately clean your hands by either washing them with soap and water or using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. 

Do I really need to wash my hands for 20 seconds? 
Many scientific studies have shown that scrubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds removes most of the harmful germs or chemicals from your hands. Making sure to scrub all areas of your hands, including your palms, backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your fingernails will help ensure you reach the 20 second mark.  

How does handwashing with soap and water remove germs and chemicals? 
Soap and water, worked into a lather, trap and remove germs and chemicals from hands. Lather forms pockets called micelles that trap and remove germs, harmful chemicals and dirt from your hands. That’s why it’s unnecessary to use antibacterial soaps.  

How do hand sanitizers work differently than handwashing? 
Alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol works by killing germs on your hands, while washing your hands with soap and water removes the germs from your hands. Handwashing removes germs that hand sanitizers may not be able to kill.