Monthly Archives: December 2017

DHEC introduces Public Health Data App

DHEC has introduced a new, innovative web portal to help answer public health questions. DHEC’s County Health Profiles allows users to access state and county health data and compare data sets.

The user-friendly application combines the most recent data available from a variety of sources within and outside of DHEC. Data is displayed in maps, tables, snapshots, and graphs. Some additional features of the web application are:

  • Ability to compare multiple counties
  • County rankings for most indicators
  • Ability to compare county estimates to the state
  • Printable PDF tables for each county
  • Clear definitions and explanatory notes

Along with its unique features, users can find data from various categories like births, infant mortality, chronic diseases, health care access, mortality, and so much more.

Learn more about DHEC’s County Health Profiles at https://gis.dhec.sc.gov/chp/.

From Other Blogs: Avoiding foodborne illnesses, norovirus, protecting the Earth’s ‘Thin Skin’ & more

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

Don’t Get Roasted by Foodborne Illnesses this Winter

The holidays are all about sharing, having fun and, of course…food!!! I bet you will agree that a good holiday get-together always includes delicious traditional dishes or special recipes.

If you are hosting a holiday party this winter, you have probably already started thinking about treating your guests to a delectable menu. There are endless recipes and traditional holiday dishes that will reappear or make a debut at your dinner table; however, foodborne illnesses should not be part of the feast. While food is something to look forward to this season, foodborne illnesses is not. — From the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) blog

Norovirus Illness is Messy – Clean Up Right Away

When norovirus strikes in your own home, you can be prepared by having the supplies you need to immediately clean up after a loved one vomits or has diarrhea.

Norovirus is a tiny germ that spreads quickly and easily. It causes vomiting and diarrhea that come on suddenly. A very small amount of norovirus can make you sick. The number of virus particles that fit on the head of a pin is enough to infect over 1,000 people. — From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Public Health Matters blog

Protecting the Earth’s ‘Thin Skin’

Though remarkably thin, soil makes up a layer of the Earth’s crust that’s vital to human survival. The soil is a living, breathing thing that, like the body’s skin, requires care and attention lest we lose its many benefits. — From the USDA blog

Farmers Keeping Nutrients on the Field, Out of Streams

Clean water is a priority for all of us. When farmers manage nutrients, they are also helping to minimize the runoff of nutrients into local streams and rivers.

Farmers rely on two major nutrients in fertilizer — nitrogen and phosphorus — to help crops grow. When excess fertilizer leaves the field and enters local waterways in surface water runoff, those nutrients cause algae in the water to bloom much faster than it would under normal conditions. The algae eventually breaks down, and the bacteria involved in decomposition deplete oxygen in the water to unhealthily low levels. Ultimately, fish and other aquatic organisms often die as a result of this oxygen depletion. This process is called eutrophication. — From the USDA blog

DHEC in the News: Hypertension coaching program, norovirus, avoiding food poisoning

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

Family Health Centers participating in Hypertension Coaching Program with pharmacists

One of the state’s largest community health centers is participating in a coaching program designed to help its adult patients better manage hypertension.

Family Health Centers Inc. works to serve the medically underserved and uninsured in Orangeburg, Bamberg, Calhoun and upper Dorchester counties through seven comprehensive primary care sites.

As part of its mission, the FHC has been participating in a Hypertension Coaching Program in partnership with the South Carolina Pharmacy Association. The program is funded as part of a four-year grant from the state Department of Health and Environmental Control that ends in September 2018.

General Interest

Norovirus outbreak spreads across Carolinas

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Norovirus — more commonly referred to as the stomach bug — is sweeping the Carolinas.

Just this week, more than 60 students on the campus of North Carolina State University tested positive for the illness.

In Charlotte, dozens of moms took to the popular Facebook group M2M to share their own horror stories with the contagious bug, which causes your stomach, intestines, or both to become inflamed, which leads to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and in some cases fever and abdominal pain.

Spread joy, not food poisoning, this holiday season

One of the most rewarding parts of throwing a holiday bash is hearing the next day from guests reminiscing about how delicious and fun the prior evening was for all. What you don’t want to receive are messages about an impromptu afterparty thrown at the local emergency room. Food poisoning is a horrific holiday present to give folks as it’s a gift that could keep giving . . . for days.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 48 million people get sick from food poisoning each year, with 128,000 of them having to be hospitalized. Bouts of nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhea are not only unpleasant reminders that you ate some bad food, but this type of foodborne illness can accelerate to the point that is life-threatening. According to the CDC, 3,000 people die annually from food poisoning.

Charleston Water System and SCDHEC Unite For Community Water Fluoridation

Bet you didn’t know that the Charleston Water System (CWS) and the S. C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), Division of Oral Health, work together to provide public health benefits.

In what way you ask?

Recently the two organizations worked together to adopt a position statement supporting community water fluoridation. Fluoride is commonly found in water but most of the time, not enough to make a real impact.

Although oral health in the United States is much better today than it was many years ago, cavities are still one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), community water fluoridation is the most cost-effective way to deliver fluoride to people of all ages, education levels, and income levels who live in a community.

Fluoride has been proven to protect teeth from decay as well. Although fluoride-containing products, such as toothpaste, mouth rinses, and dietary supplements areFlouridation Graphic25percent available and contribute to the prevention and control of tooth decay, community water fluoridation has been identified as the most cost-effective method of delivering fluoride to all, reducing tooth decay by 25 percent in children and adults.

Following the recommendations of many other organizations such as the World Health Organization, American Medical Association, Canadian Medical Association, CDC, American Dental Association, Canadian Dental Association, South Carolina Dental Association and other professional organizations in the medical community, the CWS works to adjust the naturally occurring level of fluoride in our drinking water in a responsible, effective, and reliable manner that includes monitoring and controlling fluoride levels as mandated by state and/or federal laws, regulations and recommendations.

For more information on what DHEC does to support community water fluoridation in local communities, contact Wes Gravelle.

References: 1 Griffin SO, Regnier E, Griffin PM, Huntley VN. Effectiveness of fluoride in preventing caries in adults. J Dent Res. 2007;86(5):410–414.

Flouridation Large Infographic

DHEC in the News: DHEC Public Health Data App, King Tides, septic tanks

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

New DHEC site helps answer public health questions

COLUMBIA (WACH) – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is introducing a new, innovative web portal to help answer public health questions.

DHEC’s County Health Profiles allows users to access state and county health data and compare data sets.

Citizen scientists watch for ’king tides’

WASHINGTON — The tide watchers start patrolling whenever the celestial forces align. From coast to coast, hundreds of tide watchers come out with their cameras to record the latest “king tides,” brief episodes of tidal flooding that could become the norm, with expected sea level rise.

King tides are a colloquial term for the highest tides of the year. They occur when the moon is closest to the earth at moments when the sun, moon and Earth are in alignment, increasing the gravitational forces at play.

A decade ago, few had heard of “king tides,” much less waded through them in galoshes. Now, Miami regularly floods. So do Myrtle Beach and Charleston, South Carolina, and other U.S. cities. And more than ever, groups of citizens are out there photographing the results, uploading the photos and debating what the future will bring.

DHEC grant will fix septic systems for more than 100 in Loris, Longs

LORIS, SC (WBTW) – A new grant will help Horry County officials improve water quality in parts of the county.

The Horry Soil and Water Conservation District received the grant from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. The grant amounts to over $400,000 and, according to project manager Sam Ward, it will go towards fixing or replacing faulty septic systems.