Monthly Archives: September 2019

September is National Sickle Cell Awareness Month

National Sickle Cell Awareness Month brings attention to this crippling illness, a genetic disease that many people around the world struggle with and must manage daily.  Recognizing Sickle Cell Awareness Month helps to dismiss stereotypes and stigmas associated with persons who have sickle cell disease.  Not only does this month shine light on sickle cell disease (SCD) but also sickle cell trait (SCT).  Here is some -information about SCD and SCT.

Quick Facts About SCD:

  • SCD is a blood disorder that causes sickling of the red blood cells.
  • Sickle-shaped red blood cells become stuck in blood vessels and cause disruption of blood flow – this results in crises.
  • SCD affects 100,000 people in the United States.
  • SCD is an inherited blood disorder from the person’s parent, like any other genetic trait, such, as hair color and texture, and eye color.

Quick Facts About SCT:

  • SCT is where a person inherits one sickle cell gene and one normal gene.
  • SCT is not a disease and is generally asymptomatic.
  • SCT affects 1 million to 3 million Americans and 8 to 10 percent of African Americans.
  • Persons with SCT can pass the trait on to their children.

 

What is the Likelihood a person will inherit SCD or SCT?

Sickle Cell DHEC Infographic

DHEC’s Sickle Cell Program

DHEC’s Division of Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN) provides assistance to persons with sickle cell disease by covering services, such as:

  • medical expenses
  • physician visits
  • durable medical equipment
  • medical supplies
  • prescription drugs

Assistance is offered to both children and adults who meet eligibility requirements.  Additionally, CYSHCN partners with the Newborn Screening Follow-Up program to ensure infants who are newly diagnosed with sickle cell disease have a medical home to address treatment and care for their disease.

Through partnerships with four sickle cell community-based organizations — the James R. Clark Memorial Sickle Cell Foundation, – Louvenia D. Barksdale Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation, – Orangeburg Area Sickle Cell Foundation and – COBRA Human Services Agency Sickle Cell Program — more persons with sickle cell disease are able to obtain services and support.

South Carolina’s Efforts to Address Services for Sickle Cell Patients & Families

As a part of the agency’s commitment to educate the community and public about the availability of resources and services for individuals and families living with sickle cell disease, DHEC collaborated with the South Carolina Sickle Cell Disease Advocacy Team to develop “A Call to Action: South Carolina Sickle Cell Disease State Plan.”  This three-year plan provides a framework for addressing gaps in sickle cell disease care as well as highlights strategies and resources to support patients with SCD.

The full plan be viewed at Sickle Cell Plan_CR-012241_Final.

sickle cell plan

If you have questions about the DHEC sickle cell program, contact the CYSHCN office at 803-898-0784.  For general information about sickle cell disease, visit cdc.gov/sicklecell or http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sca.

#Bethe1To Stop Suicide for Suicide Prevention Month

Every September the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) recognizes National Suicide Prevention Month. This month was created to highlight ways everyone can prevent suicide in their families, friendships, and other relationships.

Suicide is defined as a death resulting from the use of force against oneself when evidence indicates that the use of force was intentional. Suicide is a serious public health issue that can have lasting harmful effects on individuals, families, and communities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

2019-06 SCVDRS Suicide Factsheet[78]_Page_2

Know the Facts About Suicide in South Carolina

According to the 2018 South Carolina State Health Assessment:

  • The suicide rate has increased from 11.7 per 100,000 in 2007 to 15.7 per 100,000 in 2016.
  • Suicide was the fourth leading cause of premature death in South Carolina in 2016.
  • In adults aged 55-64 years, suicide was the main cause of injury death in 2016.
  • The suicide rate during 2016 was higher in men (24.6 per 100,000) than women (7.6 per 100,000).

Suicide_SC Health Assessment

What is DHEC Doing to Stop Suicide?

Internally, DHEC has a workgroup comprised of 16 central office and regional staff from different bureaus, divisions and professions. With technical assistance from the SC Department of Mental Health’s Office of Suicide Prevention, this group is working to implement the Zero Suicide framework at the agency. The Zero Suicide work group focuses on the development of suicide safe care pathways within the agency, which includes the creation of agency wide policy and procedures to identify and refer individuals struggling with suicide, training standards, and quality improvement measures. Adoption of this evidence-based framework aligns with the recommendations from the South Carolina Strategy for Suicide Prevention 2018-2025, created by the South Carolina Suicide Prevention Coalition.

DHEC uses the SC Violent Death Reporting System to support state and national partners with their prevention efforts by collecting and analyzing violent death information to determine circumstances that contribute to suicide, homicide, and accidental firearm deaths within the state.

To learn more about suicide prevention and how you can make a difference, visit #BeThere to Help.

Protecting Your Pet During an Emergency

Pets are considered family members too and should be included when preparing for an emergency. September is National Preparedness Month. Now is the time to learn some tips for keeping your pet safe.  According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA):

  • Stock at least a 1-week supply of food and fresh water for your pet, as well as a 1-week supply of medication, if your pet takes medication.
  • Include copies of your pet’s vaccination records and other medical records in your pet preparedness kit. Include information about your pet’s insurance policy, if you have one.
  • Include photos of your pet to help others identify them in case you and your pet become separated.

For more information on keeping your pets safe before, during, and after an emergency, visit Protecting Your Pets in an Emergency on DHEC’s website.

 

Celebrate World Water Monitoring Day: Become a Certified Stream Quality Specialist

World Water Monitoring Day was established to create awareness about the importance of protecting water resources around the world by engaging people to monitor their local water bodies. Water monitoring kits can be ordered any time for purchase.

Do you like the outdoors and getting your feet wet in streams?

Would you like to learn first-hand about the water quality where you live?

Are you interested in citizen science?

If you answered ‘yes’ to these questions, join the citizens of South Carolina who have been certified to monitor stream quality though the South Carolina Adopt-a-Stream program. Established in 2017, SC Adopt-a-Stream is an EPA-approved freshwater monitoring program that teaches volunteers how to collect bacteria, biological parameters, and chemical and physical data (including temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, and conductivity).

SC Adopt-a-Stream has awarded 1,400 certifications to contribute to the program. Over 200 sites statewide have been identified within the program’s database. Volunteers can become certified to collect data by attending one of the free workshops offered around the state.

Pic 1

Upcoming workshops:

Date Time Location
September 28, 2019 9:30AM USC Upstate Campus
October 5, 2019 9:30AM USC Upstate Campus
October 11, 2019 9:00AM 506 South Pleasantburg Drive, Greenville, SC
October 16, 2019 NOON Center for Watershed Excellence

 

For more details about upcoming workshops and registration, visit: https://www.clemson.edu/public/water/watershed/scaas/aas-events.html. Follow SC Adopt-a-Stream on Facebook. This program is led in partnership with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and Clemson University’s Center for Watershed Excellence.

Celebrate National Estuaries Week

Founded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 1988, National Estuaries Week is recognized every third week of September as an opportunity to learn more about the benefits of our estuaries and coasts.

Estuaries are important to our environment, because they house many species of fish, reptiles, mammals and other aquatic life. They provide nesting and feeding habitats for plants and animals. Estuaries also act as a pollutant shield by filtering sediments from rivers and streams before they flow into the oceans.  According to the National Safety Council’s Environmental Center, estuaries provide habitat for more than 75 percent of the U.S. commercial fish catch, and even greater percentage of recreational fish catch. The total fish catch in estuaries contributes $4.3 billion a year to the U.S. economy.

DHEC manages development, alterations, and shoreline stabilization activities in coastal and estuarine “tidelands” (land at or below high tide including coastal wetlands, mudflats and similar areas adjacent to coastal waters and integral to estuarine systems).

Group Of Volunteers Tidying Up Rubbish On Beach

Here are some ways to celebrate National Estuaries Week:

  • Organize a community restoration event at a local bay, riverfront, ocean, or waterway.
  • Find a reserve that offers tours of estuaries to learn more.
  • Participate in canoe trip around an estuary.

Learn more ways to be involved with National Estuaries Week at https://estuaries.org/get-involved/new/.