Tandem Health of Sumter Chosen as the 2019 HPV Vaccine is Cancer Prevention Champion for Preventing HPV Cancers in South Carolina

HPV is Cancer Prevention Champion, an award created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI), and the American Cancer Society (ACS), recognizes clinicians, clinics, practices, groups and health systems that offer exceptional HPV vaccination among adolescents in their community. This award honors one Champion in each state as well as Champions from the eight United States territories and District of Columbia. Tandem Health of Sumter is South Carolina’s winner for 2019.

Tandem Health is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) and accredited patient-centered medical home (PCMH) that provides comprehensive, personalized healthcare services regardless of the patient’s ability to pay. In January 2019, Tandem Health joined the South Carolina Primary Health Care Association and American Cancer Society as a member system of the South Carolina HPV Cancer Free Learning Collaborative. Tandem has served as a peer mentor for the additional seven FQHC member systems, sharing examples of the implemented evidence-based strategies and quality improvement processes. Because of these efforts, Tandem Health has gone from a 39% HPV vaccine series completion rate among adolescent patients at January 1, 2019 to a 78% completion rate by the end of August 2019.

Tandem Health is dedicated to improving the health of our boys and girls in South Carolina. DHEC is proud and honored to congratulate Tandem Health on this well-deserved award.

Receiving the HPV vaccine is important because it protects against cancers caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. HPV is a very common virus; nearly 79 million people are currently infected in the United States. Every year in the United States, nearly 35,000 women and men are estimated to be diagnosed with a cancer caused by HPV infection. HPV vaccination could prevent more than 90% of these cancers—more than 32,000 cases every year—from ever developing. Both boys and girls should get two doses of the HPV vaccine series when they are 11 or 12 years old. The HPV vaccine series can be started as early as age 9. HPV vaccine is one of 4 vaccines teens should get when they are age 11 or 12.  All teens also need a Tdap (whooping cough) booster, meningitis vaccine, and a yearly flu vaccine.

To read Tandem Health’s profile on the CDC’s website, and to learn more about HPV Vaccine is Cancer Prevention Champion Award program, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/hpv/champions/2019-winners.html#sc .

Get Your Flu Shot During National Influenza Vaccination Week

This week is National Influenza Vaccination Week, and we are entering the peak of flu season. Receiving a flu vaccination can reduce flu illness, doctor’s visits, and missed work or school, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.

Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it can cause mild to severe illness and at times can lead to death.

Everyone in your family who is six months and older should get a flu vaccine every year. Protect yourself and your loved ones by getting your shot today.

Flu symptoms may include:

  • fever,
  • cough,
  • sore throat,
  • runny or stuffy nose,
  • muscle or body aches,
  • headaches, and

Flu germs are spread by tiny droplets when people with flu cough, sneeze, or talk. Those droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby.

Flu shots_SC Health Assessment

According to the 2018 South Carolina State Health Assessment, many South Carolinians are receiving their flu shots, even above the national average. During the 2016-17 flu season, South Carolina had the second highest percent of adults 18 years and older who received the flu vaccine among the southern states (45.2%). Be in that number and get your shot today. Pregnant women should especially speak to their doctor about flu vaccination, as they are at an increased risk for a severe case of the flu due to changes in their immune system, heart, and lungs during pregnancy. Flu can cause severe reactions to the mother as well present adverse outcomes for the infant.

DHEC offers the flu vaccine at all public health clinics. Find a clinic near you by visiting https://www.scdhec.gov/health/health-public-health-clinics.

A Look at Diabetes in South Carolina for American Diabetes Month

November is American Diabetes Month. Let’s use this month to understand one of South Carolina’s most prevalent chronic diseases. There are three types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body does not produce insulin. Type 2, the most common form of diabetes, occurs when the body does not use insulin properly. Gestational diabetes occurs in some pregnant women when hormones may block the mother’s insulin, causing insulin resistance.

Adults with diabetes in SC

Common Symptoms of Diabetes

  • Frequent urination
  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Weight loss (type 1)
  • Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet (type 2)
  • Feeling very hungry even though you have eaten

Diabetes can be very expensive to manage. Use these tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to find ways to save on medicine. By successfully managing your diabetes, you could prevent other onset chronic diseases and health issues, such as kidney disease, heart disease, or vision impairment, and amputation.

Diabetes in South Carolina

According to the 2018 South Carolina Health Assessment:

  • The prevalence of adults in South Carolina diagnosed with prediabetes increased from 6.7% in 2011 to 9.4% in 2016 (Figure 6.3).
  • Although there was not a steady pattern in the percentage of adults with diabetes in South Carolina from 2011 to 2016, South Carolina’s diabetes rates were consistently higher than the United States (Figure 6.4).
  • Adults aged 65 or older experienced diabetes at the highest rate of other age demographics with 26.1%.
  • In 2016, the prevalence of diabetes was higher in non-Hispanic Blacks (16.9%) than in non-Hispanic Whites (11.7%), and higher in those with an annual household income of less than $25,000 than those with an annual household income of $50,000 or more (9.4%).

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What is Prediabetes?

Prediabetes in SC

Prediabetes, sometimes called “borderline diabetes,” is a condition that can lead to type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It occurs when your blood sugar (glucose) level is elevated, but not in the diabetes range yet. People with prediabetes are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, heart disease, or experience a stroke. Your chances of having prediabetes increase if you:

  • Are 45 or older
  • Are Black, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian-American, or Pacific Islander
  • Have a parent, brother or sister with diabetes
  • Are overweight
  • Are physically inactive
  • Have high blood pressure or take medicine for high blood pressure
  • Have low HDL cholesterol and/or high triglycerides
  • Had diabetes during pregnancy
  • Have been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

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Do you think you could have prediabetes? Take the risk test and find out. It only takes a few minutes and you can find the test online at https://www.cdc.gov/prediabetes/takethetest/.

There are ways to combat diabetes with lifestyle changes. By increasing physical activity, eating a balanced diet and quitting tobacco use, you may prevent your chances of getting diabetes. If your physician has diagnosed you with prediabetes, you can also enroll in a National Diabetes Prevention Program, which has shown to reduce your chances of developing diabetes by 58%. For more information and links to resources, visit https://www.scdhec.gov/health-professionals/clinical-guidance-resources/diabetes-data-and-reports.

Plan a Tobacco-Free Lifestyle during the Great American Smokeout

Let today be the day to stop smoking or using tobacco products of any kind. Today is the Great American Smokeout, an opportunity for people who use tobacco to commit to a healthy tobacco-free life. Nicotine is one of the most addictive drugs. Whether it is in cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, or Electronic Nicotine Delivery System (ENDS) products such as electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and vapes, the effects of nicotine are detrimental to your health.

Tobacco use is linked to the leading causes of death and hospitalization in South Carolina, which are cancer, heart disease, circulatory system disease and births/pregnancy complications, respectively.  Nearly 90% of all trachea, lung, and bronchus cancer deaths in South Carolina are smoking related.  According to the 2018 South Carolina Health Assessment, cigarette has been shown to increase South Carolina annual health care spending by $1.9 billion per year.

Cigarette Smoking in Adults_SC Health assessment

While South Carolina is making progress toward the CDC Healthy People 2020 goal of a 12% adult smoking rate – the current rate is 20.6% (2016).  Data from the most recent Adult Tobacco Survey (2014) shows that 6.2% of adults in South Carolina use e-cigarettes and 4.6% report using both combustible tobacco products like cigars and cigarettes, as well as using e-cigarettes or vapes.  ENDS products make tobacco prevention and cessation efforts more difficult due to the high concentration of nicotine found in the products (increasing nicotine addiction) and since many smoke-free policies have not been updated to include these products.

Cigarette Smoking in Teens_SC Health Assessment

While South Carolina has achieved the Healthy People 2020 goal of 16% or fewer high school students who are current smokers, the popularity of ENDS products again complicates this achievement. The 2017 Youth Tobacco Survey data show that the use of e-cigarettes or vapes (13%) surpassed the use of cigarettes (12%) for the first time. This new threat is expected to increase with the findings from the 2019 Youth Tobacco Survey slated to be available later this year. Nicotine in any form increases the risk of heart disease and addiction and is not safe for any age, especially adolescents.

Research shows that people who use tobacco are most successful in their efforts to quit when they have support. In fact, tobacco users are three times more likely to quit successfully with individualized counseling in combination with nicotine replacement therapies (over the counter or prescription) – all of which are available free of charge 24/7 through the DHEC administered SC Tobacco Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW).  The SC Tobacco Quitline has resources to help you quit and stay quit. Information includes: Nicotine Anonymous meetings, self-help books and materials, and smoking counselors or coaches. The Quitline also has a Youth Support Program for teen tobacco users and a Spanish language Quitline available by calling 1-855-DEJELO-YA.

Here are some additional cessation resources:

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For more tobacco information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Office on Smoking and Health.  For more information about electronic cigarettes, visit DHEC’s e-cigarettes and vapes webpage.  You can quit for keeps. Start today.

DHEC Partners with LiveWell Greenville to Help Create Healthier Communities

DHEC collaborates with Trident United Way to embrace service, leadership and collaboration with Stronger Together Campaign

In our next installment of the DHEC Stronger Together video campaign, we take a look at our partnership with LiveWell Greenville. Stronger Together is a video series of testimonials from statewide partners of DHEC. In these inspirational testimonials, we intend to share stories to raise awareness about DHEC’s work in the community and illustrate our strategic plan. In addition, these spotlights will show out core values – Embracing Service, Inspiring Innovation, Promoting Teamwork and Pursing Excellence – in action.

We kicked off the campaign with our partnership with the South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association. We then met with Trident United Way in North Charleston. Now we head to the Upstate with LiveWell Greenville.

LiveWell Greenville is a network of more than 100 community organizations that work together to ensure access to healthy eating and active living. DHEC has been a member of this coalition since its inception.

In 2008, Piedmont Health Care Foundation, a non-profit foundation in partnership with the Health and Wellness Taskforce of Greenville Forward, commissioned a youth obesity study and employed Furman University’s Department of Health and Exercise Science to serve as the research base.

“The results of the study were informative,” said Lillie Hall, DHEC Upstate Public Health Region Community Systems Director and founding member of the original coalition. “The study found about 41 percent of the roughly 1,600 Greenville County School students measured were overweight or obese.”

So, the Foundation convened a coalition to develop policy, systems and environmental approaches to address childhood obesity in the county. Originally called the Childhood Obesity or CHO Taskforce, the group included: Piedmont Health Care Foundation, DHEC, Greenville Forward’s Health and Wellness Taskforce, Furman University, PRISMA Health (formerly Greenville Health System), local physicians and pediatricians, and the YMCA of Greenville. In 2011, the name became known as LiveWell Greenville.

Since then, LiveWell Greenville has improved the overall health and wellness in schools, communities, faith organizations and worksites. Jervelle Fort, DHEC Community Health Educator, is on LiveWell Greenville’s “At Worship” and “At Work” subcommittees.

As part of her role on the subcommittees, Fort provides support through the region’s community work plan to create and maintain a community that supports HEAL (healthy eating and active living) strategies and promotes PSE (policy, systems and environmental) change. She also supports the promotion of school and community gardens, updating and maintaining access to DHEC’s fruit and veggie outlet inventory, assisting community partners to implement HEAL and PSE strategies like developing breastfeeding promotion policies in local churches, coordinating resources for creating physical activity resources and creating healthier environments at worksites.

Executive Director of LiveWell Greenville Sally Wills said that partnering with DHEC allows the coalition to have a greater impact, and Fort agrees.

“Partnerships like this help to make the community and state stronger because it groups us together and makes us whole,” Fort said. “It makes us one.”

DHEC embraces service with the LiveWell Coalition and allows us to be part of “healthy people living in healthy communities.” Partnerships like these showcase the agency strategy of leadership and collaboration.

For previous Stronger Together videos