Monthly Archives: August 2014

Leading by example: DHEC employees invited to annual health screening

By Jamie Shuster

CR-011083_millsjarrettA healthy workforce is a happy workforce. Starting September 9, DHEC Central Office employees, their spouses, and retirees are invited to participate in our annual Prevention Partners health screenings.

Done in office, this annual screening offers a quick, convenient and affordable way for employees to take a proactive role in maintaining good health. Normally priced at $350, the Prevention Partners health assessment is just $15 for individuals covered by the state’s health insurance plans and $55 for those with alternative insurance coverage, including Medicare and Tricare.

The screenings, which are offered to DHEC employees across the state at different times of the year, provide a confidential Health Risk Appraisal including family history, lifestyle information, medical history, BMI, blood pressure and weight and comprehensive lab tests. In addition, men over 40 can receive a free prostate screening blood test.

The health screenings will take place from 8 a.m. to noon at: Continue reading

Concussions: More than a game changer

By Stephen Hudson

If it’s August, then it must be football season in the Palmetto State. As players take to the gridiron with football practice and games this fall, it remains important to take precaution when it comes to reducing the risk of concussions.

A common injury in athletes, a concussion is a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) with serious, sometimes lethal, repercussions.  A study recently released by the Colorado School of Public Health and the University of Colorado at Denver found that five to six concussions occur among high school football players per 10,000 games or practices each year.

And it’s not just football players. Many of our young athletes in other sports are also susceptible to head traumas. For instance, soccer players can get concussions when hitting the ball with their head. In addition, research shows that female athletes often suffer from sports-related concussions more often than males, and recover slower.

Concussions need to be taken seriously, both on and off the field. Here in South Carolina TBI leads to 11,500 emergency room visits each year, mostly due to falls and motor vehicle accidents. Teachers, coaches, parents and athletes should all know the warning signs of a concussion. Some key signs to be aware of include difficulty remembering, headaches, sensitivity to light and irritability.

If you suspect someone is suffering from a TBI, please get them medical attention quickly.

Text4Baby Challenge Update

By Jamie Shuster

text4baby-imageLast month we announced that our four regional Public Health teams were launching a twelve-week challenge to enroll our clients in Text4Baby, which is a free cell phone text messaging service for pregnant women and new moms. Moms and dads can sign up by texting “BABY” to 511411. They then receive text messages three times a week on how to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. The messages are timed to the pregnant woman’s due date or the baby’s date of birth.

Our public health teams across the state have been hard at work to help our clients sign up for this innovative health education service since the challenge started on August 1. They’ve done such a great job that during the first two weeks of the challenge, South Carolina led the nation among medium sized states in the number of signups for Text4Baby.

So far, our Midlands team is leading the way, signing up 103 new moms for the service between August 1 and 9. Upstate came in second with 44 new signups, followed by Lowcountry with 35 signups and Pee Dee with 33.

Thank you to all of our Public Health staff members who are helping connect new moms to this free health education service and keep up the great work.

Back-to-School and Immunizations

back-to-school-immunizationsBy Stephen Hudson

It’s hard to believe school starts next week. Regardless if your child is heading to kindergarten this year, or is a returning student, they are well prepared with books, paper, pencils and most importantly their immunizations. Yes, immunizations for students are an important part of their success this school year.

To attend school students need updated vaccinations, and DHEC is reminding parents and guardians now is the time to get your children vaccinated before the new school year starts to ensure they stay healthy and ready to learn. With a new school year brings new adventures and new friends. Let it also mean our state’s children and properly vaccinated and ready for the new year.

Check with your child’s pediatrician or visit the CDC for a listing of vaccines needed for school. We have a complete listing of immunizations your child will need for enrollment in a South Carolina school on our website.

Hurricane Hugo 25th Anniversary Serves as a Reminder to Stay Prepared

By Cassandra Harris


This September 21 will mark 25 years since Hurricane Hugo made landfall in South Carolina, causing devastation and billions of dollars in damages.

A Category 4 storm, Hugo at the time was the costliest hurricane to hit the United States. The South Carolina Emergency Management Division estimates that a storm of similar intensity on the same path would today cause more than $16.6 billion in damages and destroy more than 21,000 homes statewide.

Hugo’s anniversary is a reminder of the importance of staying prepared for disasters and emergencies of all kinds. With hurricane season well underway, the Department of Health and Environmental Control encourages all South Carolina visitors and residents to build an emergency kit and have a family disaster plan in place. Also, in the case of evacuation don’t forget to “Know Your Zone.” The actions you take today can help protect you and your loved ones tomorrow. Stay informed, stay prepared!