Monthly Archives: March 2014

Did you see our Public Health staff at Dillon County Day?

by Jamie Shuster

Over the weekend, members of our Pee Dee team provided Tdap vaccines and other helpful resources to the public during Dillon County Day celebrations on Saturday. Above is a photograph of our team with Governor Nikki Haley that was taken during the successful community outreach event.

Special thank you to the following Pee Dee staff members who helped nearly 200 Dillon County residents access free vaccines to protect them from tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough:

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Addressing hospital-associated infections in South Carolina

By Jamie Shuster

Hospital-associated infections continue to be a serious public health concern. A new study released by the CDC this week reveals that 4 percent of patients develop a new infection while hospitalized, 11 percent of which turn deadly.

Here at DHEC Public Health, we provide data surveillance and reports on healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) to help health care organizations identify problems and track trends. Our healthcare-associated infections epidemiologist Kate Habicht does a great job overseeing this data collection and reporting to the 78 hospitals in South Carolina that are required to report this information under the Hospital Infections Disclosure Act (HIDA). Kate also provides support to the S.C. Hospital Association, which is the organization in our state that leads healthcare-associated infection prevention initiatives.

Each year, DHEC produces two reports on facility-specific HAIs that are distributed to hospitals and legislators, and is available to the general public on our website. These reports provide consumers and public health officials with a way to measure and compare South Carolina’s progress in preventing HAIs. They also help to promote better infection control practices across the state.

Special thanks to Kate for her hard work in monitoring and reporting HAIs. Her work is helping South Carolina health care providers identify ways to prevent these infections in the future.

More Good News for Our Tobacco Control Program

By Jennifer Read

An op-ed that ran in newspapers across South Carolina today highlights the success of our recent smoking cessation media campaign. From The State:

In the first two months of 2014, thanks to a Department of Health and Environmental Control media campaign outlining the dangers of smoking, the Quitline took more than 7,700 calls, or almost as many as in all of 2013. That shows what a little promotion can do.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reached out to DHEC to learn how the agency achieved such success. It praised our state for utilizing effective ways to help tobacco users quit.

Our New Year’s Resolution media campaign broke monthly S.C. Tobacco Quitline call volume records for January and February 2014. Thanks to our promotional efforts, more than 7,700 South Carolinians called our Quitline to take the first steps in making 2014 a healthier, tobacco-free year.

Thank you to all of our staff members and community partners who continue to spread the word about this free resource that helps South Carolinians access the support services they need to successfully kick the habit.

Are you at risk for diabetes?

By Katie Philpott

Today is National Diabetes Alert Day, a day on which the American Diabetes Association (ADA) stresses the importance of learning your risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

Here in the Palmetto State, 1 out of every 5 hospital patients has diabetes.  In 2012 alone, diabetes hospitalizations in South Carolina cost more than $280 million.

One of the most notable risk factors for diabetes is your weight. Being overweight or obese can significantly increase your chance of developing diabetes. That’s why here at DHEC we’re focusing on promoting programs that address both diabetes and obesity, like the CDC-led national Diabetes Prevention Program.

Take a moment to take the ADA’s quick, online risk assessment tool that asks simple questions to help identify your risk for developing diabetes, and visit our website for tips on how to prevent diabetes.

World TB Day

By Jamie Shuster

CDC World TB Day

Today is World TB Day, which provides the CDC and health departments across the country with an opportunity to raise awareness about tuberculosis–related challenges and solutions we’re implementing to prevent and control TB.

Worldwide, the CDC estimates that 1 in 3 people have been infected by the germ that causes TB. About 10% of people infected with the TB germ will develop the disease at some point in their lives.

Here in South Carolina, we’re fortunate that TB disease is rare. Over the last decade, we’ve seen a dramatic drop in TB cases reported to DHEC. In 2013, there were 112 TB disease cases reported in South Carolina, which marks a sharp decline from the 233 cases reported in 2004.

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