Monthly Archives: May 2017

Take action now to control mosquitoes and avoid illnesses they might spread

Mosquito season isn’t in full swing, but we don’t have to wait until the pesky insects that can spread diseases such as Zika have us surrounded before taking action.

Now is the time to take precautions to limit the mosquito population and the possible spread of mosquito-borne diseases. It begins by cleaning up around your own home and yard. It’s especially important to get rid of and prevent standing water. Here are some suggestions:

  • Get rid of places where adult mosquitoes can find cool, dark and damp areas to rest by mowing the lawn, trimming shrubbery and cutting down weeds and vines, such as ivy, in the yard and next to the house.
  • Clear out weeds, leaves, dirt and other debris from pipes, especially those under a driveway. Make sure water does not stand inside or near the ends of the pipe.
  • Clean out rain gutters and downspouts regularly.
  • Empty and turn over containers that hold water such as cans, jars, drums, bottles, flower pots, buckets, children’s toys, wheel barrows, old appliances, plastic sheeting or tarps used to cover objects like grills or swimming pools, etc.
  • Drain or fill any low places, such as potholes, on your property where water collects and stands for more than five to seven days.
  • Make sure that all permanent water containers such as wells, septic tanks, cisterns, water tanks and cesspools are tightly covered and insect-proof.
  • Repair leaky pipes and outdoor faucets.
  • Cover trash containers/garbage cans to keep rainwater from accumulating.
  • Keep boats and canoes drained and covered/overturned. Make sure tarps or other covers do not hold water.
  • Drain or get rid of old tires by recycling them.
  • Pack tree holes and hollow stumps with sand or cement.

There are a number of other steps you can take to defend yourselves against mosquitoes. To learn about treating standing water that can’t be drained and preventing mosquito bites, visit scdhec.gov/mosquitoes/eliminatebreedingareas.

DHEC Celebrates S.C. Palmetto Gold Recipients During National Nurses Week

During this National Nurses Week, it is only fitting that we highlight the eight DHEC public health nurses who were recognized Saturday, April 22, as being in the elite group of 100 called Palmetto Gold. Palmetto Gold, a program that began 16 years ago, recognizes registered nurses in our state who exemplify excellence in nursing practice and commitment to the profession.

The recipients were selected through a formal nomination process. Each year, nurses from across the state and from different practice settings are nominated for this honor. One hundred nurses are selected annually for this prestigious award and honored at the Palmetto Gold Gala.PalmettGoldRecipients (2)

DHEC’s eight Palmetto Gold recipients are:

Lowcountry: 

Gemma Grady, RN, BSN-Preventive Health Program Manager

Pee Dee:

Dara Johnson, RN, BSN-Tuberculosis RN

Darla Lee, RN, BSN-Preventive Health RN

Jeannie Smith, APRN, BSN, MSN, FNP-BC-Lead Advanced Practice Registered Nurse

Ashley Tallon RN, BSN, MPH-Immunization Program Manager

Mikki Cooper Williams, RN BSN, MSN-Maternal Child Health Program Manager

Upstate:

Shenicka McCray, RN, BSN, MSN-Epidemiology Program Manager

Roslyn McReynolds, RN, BSN-Tuberculosis RN

Congratulations to these outstanding DHEC public health nurses!

In honor of National Nurses Week, we salute these eight dedicated nurses along with all of our public health nurses who work diligently every day to improve the health of South Carol​inians.

Check out our Flickr al​bums to meet more of our hard-working nurses.  ​

DHEC wants you to give mom the gift of good health

By Adrianna Bradley

Mother’s Day is right around the corner and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) encourages you to give your mom the gift of good health.

Most moms will appreciate a Mother’s Day gift that will make her happy, and help keep her in your life for a long time.  Start a new “healthy Mother’s Day” tradition this year.

Try dark chocolate this year

Giving sweet treats is a traditional way to show your mom how much you care.  Consider giving your mother dark chocolate this year. Dark chocolate, in moderation, has many health benefits.  It is good for your heart and brain to name a few.  Eating small amounts of dark chocolate, about 1 ounce two to three times a week, can help lower blood pressure and improve cognitive function.  It may help reduce the risk of stroke as well. Remember, that chocolate is also high in fat.  Serve it along with other treats like fresh strawberries, grapes or bananas.

Help mom improve her heart health

Give the gift of heart health.  Fill her gift basket with items that will help her become more physically active.  Add a pedometer, arm weights, a yoga DVD, fitness club membership, or a cute workout outfit.

If you’re still at a loss for things to give mom, give her gifts that will help her get a good night’s sleep.  Our moms stay busy.  Getting a good night’s sleep is just as important as eating health and staying active.  Lack of sleep has been linked to serious health problems like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Consider buying nice bedding, and encourage your mother to turn off the computer, smart phone, and lights, and go to bed an hour earlier each night.

Put on your chef’s hat

Lastly, pamper your mom on her special day.  Put on your apron and chef’s hat.  Prepare a brunch that she is sure to love.  Try one of the heart healthy recipes below for a new twist on pancakes and muffins below.  These foods are a healthy way to satisfy her sweet tooth without sacrificing her health.

Whole-grain Strawberry Pancakes

(Adapted from USDA)

Ingredients

Whole Grain Strawberry Pancakes

Attribution: USDA

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 container vanilla low-fat yogurt (6 oz)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 3/4 cups sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1 container strawberry low-fat yogurt (6 oz)

Preparation

  1. Heat griddle to 375°F or heat 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Grease with canola oil if necessary (or spray with cooking spray before heating).
  2. In large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  3. In medium bowl, beat eggs, vanilla yogurt, water and oil with egg beater or wire whisk until well blended.
  4. Pour egg mixture all at once into flour mixture; stir until moistened.
  5. For each pancake, pour slightly less than 1/4 cup batter from cup or pitcher onto hot griddle. Cook pancakes 1 to 2 minutes or until bubbly on top, puffed and dry around edges. Turn; cook other sides 1 to 2 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Top each serving (2 pancakes) with 1/4 cup sliced strawberries and 1 to 2 tablespoons strawberry yogurt.

Pineapple Carrot Muffins

(Adapted from Cooking Matters)

Ingredients 

Pineapple Carrot Muffins

Attribution: Cooking Matters

  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 cup canned crushed pineapple with juice
  • 5 Tablespoons canola oil
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • 1 Tablespoon white distilled vinegar
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch ground nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice
  • Non-stick cooking spray

Preparation

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
    Rinse and peel a carrot. Shred with a grater. Measure out ¾ cup shredded carrot.
    3. In a medium bowl, add pineapple with juice, oil, water, vinegar and shredded carrot. Mix with a fork to combine.
    4. In a large bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Blend well with a fork to break up any lumps.
    5. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
    6. If using walnuts or raisins, gently stir in now.
    7. Coat muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray. Fill each muffin cup about ¾ full with batter. Bake on middle rack of oven until muffin tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 20–25 minutes.

Fruit Smoothies

(Adapted from Cooking Matters)

Ingredients 

Fruit Smoothies

Attribution: Fruit smoothies

  • 1 medium banana (Use any fresh or frozen fruit. Use fruits in season when you can.)
  • ½ cup ice cubes
  • 1 cup low-fat plain yogurt
  • ½ cup 100% orange juice
  • 4 frozen strawberries

Preparation

  1. Peel banana. Place in blender.
    2. Add remaining ingredients to the blender. If using cinnamon, add now.
    3. Cover and blend until smooth.

World Hand Hygiene Day is May 5

Natasha Wright, RN, MSN
DHEC HAI Nurse Consultant

While there won’t be a cake with several tiers, beautiful gowns or champagne toasts, hand hygiene is definitely a subject worthy of its own day to “celebrate.”

In the pursuit of preventing all healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and the South Carolina Hospital Association (SCHA) urge all health care facilities and organizations to join us in highlighting the single most important practice supported by evidence in helping eliminate cross-contamination and reduce HAIs—proper and thorough hand hygiene2.

Up to 70 percent of HAIs that occur yearly could be prevented if health care workers follow recommended protocols, which include proper hand washing3. Even with all of the evidence of its effectiveness and emphasis placed on the importance of hand cleanliness, a 2010 study that examined research on global practices found that only roughly 40 percent of health care workers comply with recommended hand washing guidelines3.

A Few (Not-So-Fun) Facts:

  1. Studies show that some health care providers practice hand hygiene less than half of the times they should. Health care providers might need to clean their hands as many as 100 times per 12-hour shift, depending on the number of patients and intensity of care. Know what it could take to keep your patients safe1.
  2. On any given day, about 1 in 25 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection. Many germs that cause these infections are spread from patient to patient on the hands of health care providers1.
  3. There are three areas most often missed by health care providers when using alcohol-based hand sanitizer: thumbs, fingertips and between fingers1.
  4. A few barriers to completely following recommended guidelines are3:
  • Inconvenient placement of sinks and/or hand sanitizer dispensers, or empty soap or sanitizer dispensers;
  • Health care workers concerned about drying out their skin;
  • Overlooking hand cleanliness due to the workload of a health care worker and/or a chaotic environment;
  • The belief that wearing gloves when providing care is sufficient in preventing the spread of germs.

Hand Sanitizer or Soap and Water1?

  1. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer is the preferred method for cleaning your hands when they are not visibly dirty because it:
  • Is more effective at killing potentially deadly germs on hands than soap;
  • Requires less time;
  • Is more accessible than hand washing sinks;
  • Reduces bacterial counts on hands;
  • Improves skin condition with less irritation and dryness than soap and water.
  1. Use soap and water when hands are visibly soiled and/or when working with a patient or an environment in which you may come into contact with contaminants.
  2. Although the amount of time for proper hand washing with soap and water varies from 15 seconds to 30 seconds (depending on the study), hands should be vigorously scrubbed for a minimum of 15 seconds.
  3. Remember “My 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene”4:
  • Before touching a patient;
  • Before clean/aseptic procedures;
  • After body fluid exposure/risk;
  • After touching a patient;
  • After touching a patient’s surroundings.

Still Room for Improvement

In a world where health care is continuously changing, one thing has remained constant—routine and thorough hand washing is essential for preventing the spread of germs (including the increasing threat of those resistant to antibiotics) and the development of HAIs in patients. While the health care field is far from the days when gloves were barely worn and hand hygiene was an afterthought, we are not at 100 percent compliance in our facilities. Whether it is through the use of the traditional soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizers, proper handwashing must continue to be highlighted and emphasized by all champions of infection prevention because it is one practice that will remain constant for years to come.

Useful Resources for World Hand Hygiene Day

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Clean Hands Count Campaign

cdc.gov/handhygiene/index.html

World Health Organization (WHO) Save Lives: Clean Your Hands Campaign

Theme for 2017–Fight antibiotic resistance – it’s in your hands

who.int/gpsc/5may/en/

 References:

  1. CDC. (2016). Show Me the Science. cdc.gov/handhygiene/science/index.html
  2. Infection Control Today. (2017). infectioncontroltoday.com/topics/hand-hygiene.aspx
  3. Saint, S. (2016). Hand washing stops infections, so why do health care workers skip it? theconversation.com/hand-washing-stops-infections-so-why-do-health-care-workers-skip-it-58763
  4. WHO. (2017). My 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene. who.int/gpsc/5may/background/5moments/en/

Pledge to keep your body, heart and brain healthy

DHEC is partnering with the Alzheimer’s Association South Carolina Chapter, The American Heart Association and Eat Smart Move More South Carolina to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and brain health.

Protect your body, heart and brain

DHEC and its partners will collaborate on a campaign that encourages people to Take Brain Health to Heart. A key element of the effort is a pledge — which can be found at www.scdhec.gov/brainhealthpledge — that encourages residents to keep their body, heart and brain healthy.

The campaign is designed to educate and mobilize South Carolinians to protect their brain health by being more active, eating better and taking other steps. Research has shown that smoking, obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes may contribute to cognitive decline. It has also found that unhealthy eating, lack of physical activity and brain injury may affect the health of the brain.

Message key for S.C.’s aging population

This is an important message in South Carolina, whose population is getting older. While Alzheimer’s and dementia are not a normal part of aging, getting older is the greatest risk factor for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association’s 2016 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report, 84,000 people over the age of 65 are reported to be living with Alzheimer’s disease in South Carolina.  By 2025, that number is expected to grow to 120,000, according to the SC Alzheimer’s disease registry report. South Carolina has one of the fastest-aging adult populations in the country, ranking in the top 10. That population is expected to increase to 1.1 million by 2029, resulting in one in five South Carolinians being over age 65.

South Carolina is one of seven states to receive funding to reduce stigma, promote early diagnosis and address risk reduction factors associated with cognitive decline, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The effort is funded by a collaborative that includes the Alzheimer’s Association, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Take the pledge

Over the next few months, DHEC, the Alzheimer’s Association, the American Heart Association and Eat Smart Move More will jointly focus on messaging regarding heart and brain health and cognitive decline.

The campaign will feature a centralized DHEC Brain Health webpage. Each partner organization will have a link to the page, which will include health education materials, social media messages and a call to action in the form of a pledge about healthy lifestyle changes. People who visit the page and take the pledge will be entered into a monthly drawing for a Fitbit, beginning this month and ending June 30. Please visit the webpage at www.scdhec.gov/brainhealth and take the pledge.