DHEC in the News: Flu, diabetes prevention, opioids

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

Aiken County still above state baseline for flu

Aiken County had a decrease in flu cases at the beginning of February, but for the week of Feb. 4 to 10, there were 632 lab-confirmed and positive rapid cases per 100,000 people, according to South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

There were 18,372 cases state-wide for that week, which is a decrease of 3.3 percent from the previous week, according to data provided by DHEC. There have been 99,791 cases during the entire flu season.

No excuses: RMC HealthPlex Diabetes Prevention Program changing lives for the better

As the second month of 2018 winds down, many of us are aggravated with ourselves for not sticking to our New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier, exercise and lose weight.

One group of Orangeburg residents, however, were on track to reach those goals after attending their second week of the intensive 16-week Diabetes Prevention Class at the Regional Medical Center’s HealthPlex in Orangeburg. The program kicked off on Jan. 23.

General Interest

ER Reduces Opioid Use By More Than Half With Dry Needles, Laughing Gas

One of the places many people are first prescribed opioids is a hospital emergency room. But in one of the busiest ERs in the U.S., doctors are relying less than they used to on oxycodone, Percocet, Vicodin and other opioids to ease patients’ pain.

In an unusual program designed to help stem the opioid epidemic, the emergency department at St. Joseph’s University Medical Center in Paterson, N.J., has been exploring alternative painkillers and methods. That strategy has led to a 58 percent drop in the ER’s opioid prescriptions in the program’s first year, according to numbers provided by St. Joseph’s Healthcare System’s chair of emergency medicine, Dr. Mark Rosenberg.

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