Monthly Archives: August 2015

DHEC Coastal Photography Contest Accepting Entries

By Dan Burger, Director, DHEC Coastal Services Division


Photographers of all ages and levels of expertise are invited to participate in the annual photography contest sponsored by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

The winning photo will appear on DHEC’s 2016 annual tide table poster, of which over 12,000 copies are produced and distributed.

DHEC is looking for coastal South Carolina scenes including marshes, beaches or wildlife. Click here to see the winning photo from last year’s Coastal Photography Contest.

•       Horizontal orientation is required
•       Color photographs and digital photos are accepted with a limit of 5 pictures per entry
•       Digital photos should not exceed a total combined file size of four megabytes
•       Printed photographs should not exceed 8.5″ x 11″
•       All entries must be submitted between August 17 and September 17, 2015

The preferred method for entries is via email –

Entries may also be mailed to:

Coastal Photo Contest
1362 McMillan Avenue, Suite 400
Charleston, SC 29405

Mailed submissions will not be returned without a self-addressed stamped envelope provided by the contestant. The winner will be announced in November. For questions about the contest, please call (843) 953-9237.

Wash Your Hands!

By Betsy Crick


It’s back to school time!  Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs.

Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands. Make sure your children know the proper way to wash their hands.

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Washing hands is best, but if soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs.  Hand sanitizers are not as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.

No child under the age of three years old should be permitted to use hand sanitizer, and no child of any age should be permitted to use hand sanitizer without supervision.

For more information, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website.

Highest Predicted King Tides – Coming This Fall

By Dan Burger (Coastal Services Division Director) and Liz Hartje (Coastal Projects Manager)


The highest predicted King Tides of 2015 are quickly approaching! At Charleston Harbor, water levels are expected to reach 7 feet and higher above Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW) at the end of September and October. These extreme high tides are predicted to occur during the peak of the Atlantic Hurricane Season. NOAA’s tide predictions are based on the astronomical tide calendar, which takes into account the gravitational pull of the moon and sun on Earth’s oceans. Keep in mind that water levels can exceed predicted heights under various meteorological conditions like onshore winds, low atmospheric pressure, and precipitation. In 2014, observed King Tide water levels often surpassed astronomical predictions at Charleston Harbor. For instance, there were over 3.5 times more King Tide days than predicted. Cumulatively, water levels were 6.6 feet MLLW or higher for tCaptureotal of 201 hours, over 5 times longer than predicted. On average, observed King Tides were 0.6 feet higher than astronomical predictions, with a maximum observed difference of nearly 2 feet above predicted levels. King Tides peaked just below 7 feet, on average, and the highest observed water level reached 7.6 feet (August 9).


MyCoast: South Carolina 

SCKTThe MyCoast: South Carolina King Tides Reporting Tool is revealing what King Tides look like on the South Carolina coast and how these events affect infrastructure, mobility, and our shared natural resources. Over 180 photos were submitted by MyCoast members last year, see photos from select reports below. MyCoast_Icon_CaptureVisit or download the MyCoast app and start photo-documenting these extreme tide events using your smartphone!

Here’s a list of dates, times, and predicted tidal heights for this coming September and October:


Date Predicted Height*  (Time)
September 28 7.0 (8:29 a.m.)
September 29 7.1 (9:22 a.m.)
September 30 7.0 (10:16 a.m.)
October 26 7.0 (7:16 a.m.)
October 27 7.2 (8:10 a.m.)
October 28 7.2 (9:03 a.m.)
October 29 7.1 (9:55 a.m.)
* Feet above MLLW at Charleston Harbor Tide Station

Understanding Legionnaires’ Disease

By Jim Beasley


With recent reports of Legionnaires’ disease in the national news, we thought a short primer on the topic might help you better understand the illness and how it spreads.

Legionellosis, which is its actual name, is a bacterial infection that affects the lungs, but it is not spread like other, more common lung diseases like pneumonia or the flu. The illness has never been documented as passing from one person to another. Interestingly, outbreaks typically occur in the summer and early fall, but individual cases can occur anytime.

Legionellosis has two distinct types: the highly publicized Legionnaires’ disease, which is the more severe form; and Pontiac fever, which is milder.

Legionnaires’ disease can produce fever, chills and a cough that can be either dry or productive. The patient could suffer from muscle aches, headache, tiredness and loss of appetite. X-rays would likely show pneumonia and lab tests could show that kidneys are not functioning properly. Legionnaires’ disease most often affects middle-aged and older people, while Pontiac fever most commonly occurs in people who are otherwise healthy.

Legionellosis outbreaks usually occur after patients have breathed mists that come from water sources such as air conditioner cooling towers, whirlpool spas, and the bacterial film that can accumulate inside pipes leading to faucets and showers,

It is possible to treat Legionellosis using antibiotics; no treatment is needed for Pontiac fever. Efforts to improve the design of cooling towers and other plumbing systems are helping to reduce the growth of the problem bacteria.

To learn more about this illness, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website.

Preventing Concussions This Sports Season

By Betsy Crick


A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury – or TBI – caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. This fast movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging the brain cells.

A concussion is the most common type of brain injury sustained in sports. When appropriate for the sport or activity, teach your children or teens that they must wear a helmet to lower the chances of the most serious types of brain or head injury. However, there is no “concussion-proof” helmet. So, even with a helmet, it is important for children and teens to avoid hits to the head.

How Can I Spot a Possible Concussion? 

An athlete does not have to lose consciousness to sustain a concussion. Children and teens who show or report one or more of the signs and symptoms listed below – or simply say they just “don’t feel right” after a blow to the head or body – may have a concussion or other serious brain injury. Signs observed by parents or coaches:

  • ​Appears dazed or stunned
  • Forgets an instruction, is confused about an assignment or position, or is unsure of the game, score or opponent
  • Moves clumsily
  • Answers questions slowly
  • Loses consciousness (even briefly)
  • Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes
  • Can’t recall events prior to or after a hit or fall

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers a free, online course available to coaches, parents, and others helping to keep athletes safe from concussion. It features interviews with leading experts, dynamic graphics and interactive exercises, and compelling storytelling to help you recognize a concussion and know how to respond if you think that your athlete might have a concussion.  Once you complete the training and quiz, you can print out a certificate, making it easy to show your league or school you are ready for the season.

For more information on concussions and traumatic brain injury, please visit DHEC’s website.