Monthly Archives: July 2017

NEVER leave a child in a parked car

Some things should never, ever happen. Leaving a child in a parked car, even if the windows are open, is one of those things.

And don’t leave pets in that dangerous situation either.

Despite the many warnings and, tragically, the child deaths reported due to being left in a hot car, there are still those who take the chance. Again, don’t.

Here’s what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about infants and children and heat:

Keep children cool and hydrated

  • Dress infants and children in loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Make sure they drink plenty of fluids. Avoid really cold drinks or drinks with too much sugar.
  • Follow additional tips on how to prevent heat-related illness.

Never leave children in a parked car

  • Even when it feels cool outside, cars can heat up to dangerous temperatures very quickly.
  • Leaving a window open is not enough: Temperatures inside the car can rise almost 20 degrees Fahrenheit within the first 10 minutes.
  • Children who are left unattended in parked cars are at greatest risk for heat stroke, and possibly death.

Tips for traveling with children

  • Never leave infants or children in a parked car, even if the windows are cracked open.
  • When leaving your car, check to be sure everyone is out of the car. Do not overlook any children who have fallen asleep in the car.

Visit the CDC’s website for information on symptoms of heat-related illness.

DHEC in the News: HIV treatment, swim advisories, WIC in Orangeburg

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

Stigma preventing thousands with HIV from seeking treatment in SC

(Greenwood, SC – Index Journal) With modern treatment, HIV is no longer a death sentence, but McLendon said the shame surrounding the virus is more deadly than the disease itself. As of 2015, 18,340 people in South Carolina had been diagnosed with HIV, but about 6,235 of them had not received any form of treatment, according to the state Department of Health and Environmental Control. [Elizabeth] McLendon said because many people live with the virus without knowing it or are never formally diagnosed, the number of people not receiving treatment is likely higher. Particularly in rural areas, such as Greenwood County — where there were about 82 people diagnosed with HIV as of 2014, according to AIDS VU — McLendon said the actual number of infected people is likely much larger.

Swim advisory issued for Saluda River because of sewage discharge

(Lexington County, SC – The State) An official swim advisory was issued Sunday, after water quality tests from portions of the Saluda River, near Saluda Shoals Park, showed high levels of bacteria, the Congaree Riverkeeper said Sunday.

The state standard for bacteria is 349, and the sample taken from the river Saturday registered 980.4, Congaree Riverkeeper Bill Stangler said. Such levels could make swimmers ill.

A wastewater discharge from the Friarsgate Wastewater Treatment facility late last week resulted in the increased bacteria level in the water, the riverkeeper said. State health officials had issued a caution to swimmers earlier in the weekend before a formal advisory was issued Sunday with results of water quality tests.

Sewage spill doesn’t stop summer fun at Catawba River

(Rock Hill, SC – The Herald) As of Saturday, Landsford Canal State Park, a popular recreational area in South Carolina about 45 miles south of Charlotte, had posted advisories against boating, wade fishing and swimming in the water, the Charlotte Observer reported. The advisories are posted at the entrance to the park as well as bathrooms and fence posts.

A notice was also posted at the Catawba Indian Nation landing, according to DHEC.

The department states: “DHEC has performed modeling which indicates that the spill should pass downstream of the Landsford Canal and Catawba Indian Reservation landings by Monday evening. Based on this information, we will be able to recommend removal of the notices Wednesday morning.”

An update on the Habersham boil water advisory

An advisory for Habersham residents to boil their water was lifted on Friday.

The precautionary advisory was issued on Thursday by the Beaufort Jasper Water and Sewer Authority and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, according to a BJWSA news release sent out late Friday afternoon. The groups announced on Friday that the latest water sample analyses showed the water in the area was free from bacteria and is safe to consume.

Head Start making impact; OCAB director seeking to enroll more children

(Orangeburg, SC – Times & Democrat) Head Start…participates in USDA’s “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” initiative, which provides increased access to foods grown from local farmers.

“We applied for those funds to actually purchase fresh fruits and vegetables (from local farmers) to feed the kids. And it’s more to it than that. Children will learn that corn doesn’t come in a can, but they actually learn how food is grown. It helps the local economy, too,” Wright said, noting that children actually participate in food preparation by planting seeds and watching fruits and vegetables grow in their classrooms.

Stroman said the state Department of Health and Environmental Control has implemented a nutrition initiative within the Head Start program. Children are given nutrition lessons and activities, some of which are sent home to parents.

“We also have a certified dietician and nutritionist that approves all of our menus so that they are aligned with the USDA requirements and good healthy eating patterns,” she said.

Stroman said the Head Start program is also partnering with the state DHEC’s WIC (Women, Infants and Children) office to have mobile units come out to its sites to make sure parents’ WIC certifications stay up to date.

DHEC in the News: Mount Pleasant Water, Prescription Fraud, Rising Seas

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

A cancer cluster caused by pesticides in South Carolina would be hard to prove. Here’s why.

Cancer clusters are rare and difficult to prove, and pesticides are unlikely to be the cause of several recent cases of brain tumors in Mount Pleasant, a national water quality expert said.

Erik Olson, director of the National Resources Defense Council’s health program, said the system Mount Pleasant Waterworks uses — reverse osmosis — is an excellent technology that will “remove basically anything, including pesticides.”

“If they’ve had reverse osmosis for a long time, that would suggest it’s probably not pesticides,” Olson said.

Mount Pleasant has used the technology since 1991.

Warrants: Former Wellford police chief charged in prescription fraud

WELLFORD, SC (FOX Carolina) – The former police chief of Wellford is facing 10 charges connected to the filling of unauthorized prescriptions.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control confirmed 48-year-old Timothy Alexander was arrested on five counts of MDP other in Schedule I, II or III controlled substance and five counts of violation of drug distribution laws.

According to the arrest warrants, Alexander is accused of conspiring with a woman to obtain unauthorized Percocet prescriptions from pharmacies in Woodruff and Spartanburg.

General Interest

New study pinpoints sea rise hot spots, with Edisto and Kiawah islands caught in the crosshairs

In just 18 years — less than the life of some mortgages — rising seas will cause disruptive flooding in about 170 coastal communities across the United States, including Edisto and Kiawah islands, a new analysis says.

Prepared by the Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit science advocacy group, the report is said to be the first nationwide attempt to identify tipping points — times and places where flooding is so frequent that residents abandon their land or pump big bucks into projects to hold back the ocean.

No stranger to high water, Charleston already sees regular “nuisance floods” at seasonal high tides, though the problem has grown worse in recent years. Charleston averaged four days of tidal flooding 50 years ago. Last year, the city had a record 50 flooding days, many when the sun shined.

Even so, the city has yet to reach a “chronic inundation” threshold — when 10 percent or more of its usable, non-wetland area floods at least 26 times per year, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists report.

That will change within a couple of generations.

DHEC in the News: West Nile Virus, Infant Sleep Safety, Mt. Pleasant Water, Assisted Living Facility

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

Hurricane Matthew continues to leave its mark on Beaufort County with West Nile cases

(Beaufort, SC – Island Packet) Just two human cases of the West Nile virus have ever been confirmed in Beaufort County — both within eight months of Hurricane Matthew.

Gregg Hunt, Beaufort County Mosquito Control director, said the timing of the events is no coincidence.

“Hurricane Matthew has played a major role in what we’re seeing,” Hunt said.

“After Hurricane Matthew, a lot of debris had fallen into standing water caused by the flooding and tidal waves,” he said. “And organic material decaying in the water produces an ideal breeding ground for that kind of mosquito (that carries West Nile) … That’s what set the tone after the hurricane.”

—-

According to the Department of Health and Environmental Control, about 1 in 5 people who are infected with the West Nile virus will develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. These people likely will have a full recovery, but fatigue and weakness could last for weeks or months.

Less than 1 percent of those infected will develop a serious neurological illness such as encephalitis or meningitis, according to the release.

Mom’s heartbreaking Facebook post raises awareness about safe sleeping conditions for babies

(Greenville, SC – FOX Carolina) According to DHEC, 194 babies died between 2009 and 2015 in South Carolina due of unsafe sleeping conditions, making this the third leading cause of infant deaths in the state.

“This cause of death is 100 percent preventable,” said Michelle Greco, manager of the Child Abuse Prevention Program at Greenville Health System.

Greco says babies under 1 year of age should sleep in a crib or bassinet with a fitted sheet and a firm mattress.

“Anytime that an infant under the first year of life is put down to sleep it needs to be treated the same,” said Greco, “They need to be alone with no other people, pets or objects.”

Mt. Pleasant residents ‘trying to have faith’ as they wait on results of DHEC water tests

(Mt. Pleasant, SC – ABC News4)  Several people living in Mount Pleasant want answers to concerns over water quality, and DHEC is now doing something about it.

Tuesday, workers were in Mount Pleasant testing water samples. It’s all part of an effort to find out if there is something in the water that could pose a health hazard.

DHEC samples were taken from three houses in the Mount Pleasant area. Officials with Mount Pleasant Waterworks said they chose those areas because of recent concerns.

Charleston assisted living facility where woman was killed by nearby alligator could face enforcement from DHEC

(Charleston, SC – Post and Courier) …Department of Health and Environmental Control investigators found [Brookdale Charleston] staff did not follow their own guidelines to conduct night checks on [Bonnie] Walker, a plan put in place when she had wandered off before. She had left the facility days prior “looking to go home,” and staff decided she needed to be housed in a memory care unit.

Now Brookdale Charleston could be facing enforcement action from DHEC. Representatives of the facility met with state officials June 13. A spokesman for DHEC said the two parties are “working on finalizing a consent order.” Brookdale declined to comment on the matter.

Such meetings are an opportunity for a facility to present any evidence of their own, said Pam Dukes, formerly a health regulator with DHEC. It would be “very unusual” for the negotiation not to end in enforcement, Dukes explained, which could mean a fine or a license suspension.

For more health and environmental news, check Live Healthy SC regularly.

DHEC in the News: Opioid Crisis, Narcan, Mt. Pleasant Water

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around the state.

Legislators to hold public hearing on opioid crisis

(Greenville, SC – Greenville News) – State legislators will hold a public hearing in Greenville this week to hear from those who have been personally impacted by opioid abuse and addiction.

Overdoses from opioids, which includes heroin, have quadrupled in the last decade, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Meanwhile, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control reported 594 opioid-related overdose deaths in South Carolina in 2015, up 12 percent from 2014.

Overdoses involving heroin increased by 57 percent from 2014 to 2015, according to DHEC.

The cost of a drug used to treat opioid overdoses is rising

DHEC to test Mount Pleasant water for pesticides Tuesday

(Mt. Pleasant, SC – ABCNews4) Officials with Mount Pleasant Waterworks want to put minds at ease about possible pesticides in the tap water. Joined by experts at Charleston Water System, they held a public forum Monday afternoon.

“We don’t believe there’s a problem,” said Clay Duffie, general manager of MPW. “We want you to believe there’s not a problem with your water.”

Duffie said DHEC testing will begin Tuesday, focusing on three neighborhoods, Dunes West, Park West and Rivertown. He said due to demand and concern, DHEC officials contributed extra money to expedite the results, which should take about five business days.

Check our blog regularly for more health and environmental news.