Monthly Archives: October 2017

Be Careful To Ensure A Fun Halloween

While Halloween – dressing up, going to parties and, of course, eating yummy treats — is an exciting time for kids and adults, it can also come with danger. This Halloween, don’t forget to choose safety first.

According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention blog post, on average, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year. “Children are at greater risk of injury than adults because they are small, have trouble judging distances and speeds, and have little to no experience with traffic rules,” the CDC notes.

For Those Going Out for Trick-or-Treat

In its “Halloween Rules of the Road” blog post, the CDC provides the following safety tips to help keep trick-or-treaters safe:

  • Carry glow sticks or a flashlight with extra batteries so your trick-or-treater can see —and be seen — in the dark.
  • Put reflective tape on clothes, costumes, and trick-or-treat bags so motorists can see your child.
  • Cross the street at a crosswalk or intersection. Never cross from between parked cars.
  • Stay on the sidewalk if one is available. Otherwise walk on the shoulder facing traffic.
  • Pay attention and watch where you are going. Distracted walking can be as hazardous as distracted driving.
  • Review basic traffic laws with your trick-or-treater before leaving the house.

For Motorists on Halloween

It’s critical for drivers to exercise caution. The CDC recommends these tips:

  • Remove distractions. Put your phone in the glovebox or the back seat.
  • Be cautious and stay alert to reduce your risk of getting into a crash. Enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully.
  • Pay attention to the speed limit and drive slower when you are around pedestrians.
  • Be prepared to stop at a moment’s notice. Trick-or-treaters might ignore crosswalks and traffic signals.
  • Do not drive under the influence.
  • Make sure children are properly buckled no matter how short the trip.

A Few More Tips

  • Hand out some healthier items for trick-or-treaters such as low-calorie treats and drinks.
  • For party guests, offer a variety of fruits and vegetables.
  • Examine all treats your child collects for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats your child (and you) eat.

Have a safe and healthy Halloween.

The Flu Vaccine Is The Best Way To Prevent The Flu

It’s flu season. DHEC and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourage South Carolinians to protect themselves with the flu shot.

Why is it important to get vaccinated?

The flu vaccine is the best way to prevent the flu; it prevents flu illnesses, doctor’s visits, missed work and school due to flu, and flu-related hospitalizations and deaths.

The flu is not like the common cold; it is more dangerous for children, especially for very young children or those with chronic health problems like asthma or diabetes. It is important for children 6 months and older to be vaccinated with the flu shot. Visit the CDC website for tips on how to make shots less stressful for you and your child.

Likewise, older children, adolescents and adults are recommended to get the flu vaccine each year.  Some people are more likely to get serious complications from the flu that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes death.  This includes adults 50 years and older, pregnant women and anyone with chronic medical conditions like asthma, heart or lung disease and diabetes.  Vaccination is also important for health care workers and other people who live with or care for high risk people to keep from spreading flu to them.

Find a provider near you

DHEC once again will be providing school-located vaccine clinics for flu vaccine this year; the flu shot will be the only type of flu vaccine available in school clinics. School-located vaccine clinics remain a convenient way for parents to ensure their child gets the flu vaccine.

Flu vaccines are also available from health care providers, local DHEC health departments, and local pharmacies.  Those age 12 and older can receive the flu vaccine without a prescription at a pharmacy that offers flu vaccine.

Flu vaccines offered at DHEC Health Department clinics are available by appointment. Call 1-800-868-0404 to make an appointment or go to http://www.dhec.sc.gov/Health/Vaccinations/FluVaccines/FindSeasonalFluClinics/ to find the location closest to you. To find a non-DHEC flu vaccine provider, go to http://flushot.healthmap.org/ to search for the location closest to you.

DHEC in the News: Fighting disease with data, Prescription Drug Take Back Day, 911 Center of the Year

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

Fighting disease with data

South Carolina has one of the highest rates of new HIV infections in the country, and national estimates show that up to half of HIV-positive individuals don’t continue regular medical care after diagnosis.

Without consistent medical supervision, HIV patients remain infectious and often have dire health outcomes. But two Arnold School of Public Health professors and an interdisciplinary team from the University of South Carolina have a plan to help turn the tide in the ongoing campaign to reduce HIV infections in South Carolina and make medical care more responsive for those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.

Proper drug disposal more vital than ever

Leaders have declared the abuse of opioid drugs as emergencies from the national to state levels. No community is immune.

Prescription opioid overdoses were involved in the deaths of 550 South Carolinians in 2016, underscoring the dangers of prescription drug abuse. …

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control is encouraging people to drop off unused, expired or unwanted prescription drugs at locations around the state participating in the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Oct. 28.

Florence County 911/Central Dispatch named SC Center of the Year

FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WPDE) —  Florence County 911/Central Dispatch was named the 911 Center of the Year at the annual SC APCO/NENA Conference on Friday, October 20.

“This award really means a lot to us this year,” Mitch Fulmore, Florence County Central Dispatch Manager said in a news release.

DHEC in the News: Flu, Zero Harm Awards, mumps

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

DHEC urges you to get flu vaccine

“Anyone can get the flu even if they are healthy,” said Dr. Teresa Foo, an S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control immunization medical consultant.

That’s why DHEC in a recent news release has urged South Carolinians to protect themselves and their loved ones from the flu by being vaccinated.

Hospitals receive Zero Harm Awards

Hilton Head Regional Healthcare hospitals Coastal Carolina Hospital and Hilton Head Hospital each received four Certified Zero Harm Awards at the 37th annual South Carolina Medical Association/South Carolina Hospital Association Trustee, Administrator and Physician Conference.

The awards recognize hospitals that achieve 12 consecutive months or more without certain preventable hospital-acquired infections. All hospital data used for the awards is independently verified by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

General Interest

Mumps outbreak at Syracuse as CDC weighs new vaccine recommendation

(CNN)An outbreak of mumps has spurred Syracuse University to offer students a third “booster” shot of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.

As of Monday, there have been 27 confirmed and 48 probable cases of mumps on campus, according to Syracuse University Health Services. Mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus spread through saliva and mucus.

From Other Blogs: Breast cancer, your medicine cabinet, Farm to School Month and more

A collection of health and environmental posts from other governmental blogs.

Tackling Breast Cancer: The Right Treatment for the Right Woman at the Right Time

“As I talked to a patient of mine about how breast cancer took her sister’s life at the age of 42, I was reminded of how challenging it is to explain how breast cancer is a different disease in every woman. The key is getting the right treatment for the right woman at the right time.” —  From the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) “The Topic Is Cancer Blog”

Preparing Your Medicine Cabinet for an Emergency: A Checklist

If you read our blog on a regular basis you can probably recite the mantra “Make a kit. Have a plan. Be informed.” in your sleep. You are probably familiar with the important items you should keep in your emergency kit – water, food, a flashlight, and a battery-powered radio. — From CDC’s “Public Health Matters Blog”

Protecting Kids from Environmental Exposure

Children’s rapid development from before they are born through early childhood makes them more vulnerable to environmental exposures. Contact the nearest Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU) to learn how to protect your child from exposure to health hazards in the environment. — From CDC’s “Your Health – Your Environment Blog”

Five Reasons Why You Should Celebrate Farm to School Month

October is a busy month for both our nation’s farms and our nation’s schools. Farmers are harvesting everything from apples to pumpkins, while schools are celebrating Farm to School Month by raising awareness of the connection with fresh, healthy food and local food producers. — From the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Blog

Don’t Let Food Poisoning Sideline Your Tailgating Party

Fall is a great time to get outdoors — the weather is mild, and there are so many great activities to choose from: picnics in the park, hiking, apple picking and every sports fan’s favorite — tailgating. But even the most devoted fan could be sidelined with foodborne illness if they’re not careful with food preparation and storage. When planning your tailgate or other outdoor activity this fall, follow these food safety tips…  —  From the USDA Blog