Monthly Archives: December 2017

DHEC in the News: Toy safety tips, shigella disease, flu shot safe for people with egg allergies

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

On Your Side: Top 10 Toy Safety Tips

(WRDW/WAGT) — South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and News 12 NBC 26 want you to have a safe, great holiday.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were more than 174,100 toy-related ER-treated injuries associated with toys to children under the age of 15 in 2016 alone.

Parents warned about contagious shigella disease at one Midlands school

SWANSEA, SC (WIS) – Lexington School District 4 and the state’s Department of Health and Environment Control have issued a letter to parents of Lexington Early Childhood Center students warning them of a potential contact with the Shigella bacteria.

The letter is posted on the school’s website. The letter, dated Dec. 15, says that some people associated with the school may have the disease that causes gastroenteritis, diarrhea, high fever, stomach cramps, or tenderness. It can impact other body systems and the intestines as well.

General Interest

Flu shot safe for people with egg allergies, government panel says

People with egg allergies don’t have to worry about getting the flu shot, new government guidelines say.

Because the vaccine contains egg protein, doctors used to advise against the shot entirely or to get it only in the presence of an allergist if someone had a known allergy. But a national panel of experts said Tuesday that egg allergies shouldn’t prevent anyone from getting the shot and that reactions to the vaccine are no more likely among those with allergies than anyone else.

Don’t Waste Your Holiday Food

By Adrianna Bradley

The holiday season is upon us and many of us are spending time with friends and family at holiday parties enjoying tasty dishes that we only indulge in once a year.

It’s all too easy to waste food around this time of year when our eating routines are all over the place. This year, we challenge you not to toss your holiday leftovers!

Cut down on food waste

Food waste is the No. 1 item thrown away by Americans, accounting for 21.6 percent of the nation’s waste in 2014, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  South Carolina produced over 600, 000 tons of food waste in fiscal year (FY) 2016 (July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016).

This holiday we encourage you to join the fight to cut down on food waste in our state. Send your guests home with leftovers in a reusable container. This not only helps clean out your fridge but it also keeps you from being stuck with a fridge full of leftovers that could go bad before you can eat it all. But make sure that your guest does not waste their leftovers too! It’s also helpful to allow self-serving so each person fixes the right amount of food they can consume without throwing it out.

If you’ve tired yourself out from creating new recipes with your leftovers, try feeding people instead of our landfills. In case you didn’t know, one in eight Americans struggle with hunger — including nearly 800,000 South Carolinians — according to Feeding America. Food donation is a great way to provide surplus food to those who need it while recycling your leftovers. Besides, isn’t this time of year also the season for giving?

Give composting a try

If you cannot donate or reuse your leftover, try composting it. Sending food waste to a composting facility or composting at home can improve soil health and structure, increase water retention, support native plants and reduce the need for fertilizers and pesticides.

As you can see, there are several options to avoid sending things to our state’s landfills. It’s important that we Don’t Waste Food SC.

Watch Out For Lead Hazards In Children’s Toys And Toy Jewelry

In this season of gift giving, be careful when deciding to give children metal and plastic toys, especially imported toys, antique toys and toy jewelry.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that some of those toys and toy jewelry might contain lead hazards. Children may be exposed by simply handling toys normally. It is normal for toddlers and infants to put toys, fingers and other objects in their mouths.

Just wearing toy jewelry that contains lead will not cause children to have a high level of lead in their blood. However, chewing or sucking on the jewelry will. Toys imported into the United States and antique toys and collectibles often contain lead.

There is no safe level of lead in blood, the CDC says. Most children with high blood lead levels do not have any symptoms. As blood lead levels increase, a larger effect on children’s learning and behavior will occur. A blood lead test is the only way to know if your child has an elevated lead level.

If you think your child put jewelry containing lead in his or her mouth, remove the jewelry and see your health care provider.

Visit the CDC’s website for more information on lead hazards and toys. More information is also available on the CDC’s Lead web pages.

DHEC in the News: Flu, recycling e-waste, using oysters to protect the environment

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

Taking preventative actions vital to staying clear of the flu

Cover your mouths, because flu season in South Carolina is underway.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control has released data saying for the week of Dec. 3 to 9, there were 24 lab-confirmed cases of flu and 893 rapid detection cases reported by clinical labs in South Carolina.

Keep Aiken Green: Know how to recycle e-waste in Aiken

After the holidays, once new televisions, new PS4s, new Xbox Ones, new computers, new sound systems and more settle in, the old ones tend to be done away with.

But where those unwanted electronics actually go, according to the state health and environment department, is of utmost importance.

Old Oysters Put to New Use at SRS for cleanup innovation

A member of the mollusk family could be the key to controlling the level of zinc in storm water runoff at Savannah River Site.

Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, the management and operations contractor for SRS, is among a small number of U.S. companies and utilities experimenting with oyster shells. They’ve found the shells naturally absorb zinc and copper from water, often reducing concentrations to acceptable levels.

DHEC in the News: Flu activity, dangers of carbon monoxide, fruits and vegetables

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

South Carolina seeing a high level of flu activity, according to the CDC

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Cases of the flu are on the rise in the Palmetto State.

According to information from the Centers for Disease Control, South Carolina is one of three states seeing a high volume of influenza-like illnesses. The state is also seeing regional flu activity.

The data was for the week ending Dec. 2, the most recent information available from the CDC. The other two states seeing high influenza volumes are Mississippi and Louisiana.

Warming up cars in a garage could be fatal; Midlands family now using tragedy to teach

Columbia, SC (WACH)–During the Winter, some might warm up the car on the cold mornings and it’s possible you might leave it in the garage. That could potentially be a deadly decision. According to DHEC, just last year, there were 46 carbon monoxide-related deaths in South Carolina. A Midlands family experienced one of them. Now they’re using that tragedy to teach.

General Interest

Vast majority of Americans aren’t eating enough fruits and vegetables: CDC study

Washington — Nearly 9 out of 10 U.S. adults don’t consume the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers examined data from the 2015 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and estimated the percentage of daily fruit and vegetable consumption by state. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends adults eat at least 1-and-a-half to 2 cups of fruit and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables per day.