Author Archives: SC DHEC

How Recycling Impacts South Carolina

According to the 2018 South Carolina Health Assessment, South Carolinians generate approximately 4.2 million tons of household trash and garbage annually. The South Carolina Solid Waste Policy and Management Act outlines the regulatory framework for insuring proper location, design, construction, operation and closure of solid waste facilities and requires maintenance of a state solid waste management plan.  The act also sets waste reduction and recycling goals for the state.

Why should we recycle?

Recycling is not mandatory, so why should we care?  According to,

  • Recycling helps protect the environment. It conserves resources, prevents pollution by reducing the need to collect raw materials to make new products and lessens the need to build landfills.
  • Recycling helps our state’s economy. South Carolina has about 500 recycling businesses that provide more than 22,000 jobs.
  • Recycling saves energy. Manufacturing products from recycled materials use far less energy than creating the same product from raw material.

Check out the top 10 reasons why we should recycle.  Visit our website for places to recycle in your community.

Love on You Today for Chronic Disease Day

Did you know that six in ten adults in the United States have a chronic disease and four in ten adults have two or more?  Chronic diseases are defined as conditions that last one year or more and require ongoing medical attention or limit activities, daily living or both.  They include but are not limited to:

  • Heart Disease
  • Cancer
  • Lung Disease
  • Stroke
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney Disease

Heart disease, cancer and diabetes are the leading causes of death and disability in the United States.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), many chronic diseases are caused by a short list of risk behaviors:

Chronic Disease Day was created to raise awareness and increase adoption of self-care best practices to encourage prevention and reduce risk.  Use today to kickstart a healthier lifestyle.  Here are some tips for better self-care:

  • Reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Eat a balanced diet.
  • Get moving. Start slow and go at your own pace.
  • Schedule your routine checkups.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Build a positive support system.

Priority 2 of the South Carolina State Health Improvement Plan is detailed with ways community partners plan to promote healthy lifestyles and environments that prevent chronic conditions. A glance at our state’s current chronic disease statistics can be found in the 2018 South Carolina Health Assessment, where the assessment analyzes obesity, prediabetes, diabetes, hypertension, nutrition, physical activity, arthritis, heart disease, stroke, cancer and smoking from 2011 to 2016.  South Carolina adults have higher rates than the national average in nearly every category of chronic disease.

Learn more self-care tips to keep avoid or improve chronic disease at

5 Fast Facts About Hepatitis A

Recently, a series of hepatitis A exposures in South Carolina have brought attention to the dangers of hepatitis A.  As of May 13, 2019, DHEC declared a statewide hepatitis A outbreak.  Many are now wondering what exactly is hepatitis A, how is the disease spread and if it is curable.

While chances of becoming infected are low, here are five fast facts about hepatitis A you should know:

  1. Hepatitis A is a short-term viral infection causing inflammation of the liver.  In 2016, there were an estimated 4,000 Hepatitis A cases in the United States. Most people who get hepatitis A feel sick for several weeks, but they usually recover completely and do not have lasting liver damage.
  2. Hepatitis A is preventable by receiving a vaccine.  The vaccine consists of two shots administered six months apart.  If exposed to the hepatitis A virus, a vaccine can be given up to two weeks after exposure in order to prevent infection.  DHEC’s local health departments provide hepatitis A vaccines and are currently providing no-cost vaccinations to individuals in at-risk groups.
  3. Symptoms may not appear until the infection has advanced.  Symptoms start to develop two to six weeks after exposure, and include fever, stomach pain, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, dark urine, and yellow skin (Jaundice).
  4. Hepatitis A is spread from person-to-person contact with someone who has the infection or through eating or drinking food or water contaminated by an infected person.  It is also contracted through sex or close contact with an infected person, such as a household member.  Hepatitis A can be found in the blood and stool of a person infected with the virus and is “usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food, or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Food contamination can happen at any point, from growing and harvesting to transporting and cooking. Proper hand washing is vital to preventing the spread of the virus.
  5. If you had hepatitis A once, you cannot get it again.  Most people who contract hepatitis A usually recover without having long-lasting liver damage.  Once you recover, you develop antibodies that protect you from the virus for life.


For the latest list of possible hepatitis A exposures at restaurants in South Carolina visit:

To schedule an appointment for vaccination at your local health department, call 1-855-472-3432 or visit for locations and hours of operation.

DHEC In the News: Overdose deaths in Horry County, Stricter Fecal Bacteria Standards, Fireworks Safety

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

Overdose deaths on the rise in Horry County

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) Overdose deaths are on the rise in Horry County. Coroner Robert Edge said there have been around five so far in June.  “It’s not slowing up at all,” he said.  Despite an increase in the use of the drug Narcan, overdose deaths continue to spike along the Grand Strand.


Lowcountry group pushes for DHEC to give Shem Creek stricter fecal bacteria standards


MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) A Lowcountry advocacy group says current safety standards allow five-times more bacteria in Shem Creek than other waterways in the area.  Now they’re calling on the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control to establish higher water quality standards.

DHEC officials:  DIY fireworks can lead to devastating burns…and even death


COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) Fireworks have a become staple part of Fourth of July celebrations for many families, but first responders and emergency officials want you to remember to play it safe.  Assistant State Fire Marshall Nathan Ellis says, “Consumer fireworks are intended for the consumer to use but they are explosive devices. So, we have to keep safety in mind when we use fireworks.”


From Other Blogs: Nutrition Tips for Men, Summer Camp Food Safety, Cancer Prevention for Older Adults

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

Nutrition tips all men should know

For many men, nutrition is not a focus until much later in life. Because it’s best to start healthy habits as soon as possible, Lisa Money, registered dietitian nutritionist with Apex Athletic Performance, explains the importance of good nutrition throughout every stage of a man’s life.– From Flourish, Prisma Health’s blog

Keeping Hands Clean and Summer Camp Trip Foods Safe

Does your child’s summer camp itinerary include outdoorsy trips that require them to bring snacks? How will you fulfill their taste buds while keeping perishable snacks safe? How will you make sure kids will clean their hands before eating? These trips will probably be in hot, sunny weather, and that can come with food safety risks. Let’s keep calm and be food safe this summer! – From U.S. Department of Agriculture’s blog

The Value of Prevention Does Not End at 65

“Medical science deserves hearty congratulations for extending the lifespan of Americans to 80 years and beyond. This is truly an impressive feat, considering that most babies born in 1900 did not live past the age of 50.  I rejoice in my own longevity, as I’m sure you do. But I also wonder whether the same health care system that gave me these extra years is doing its best to help me make sure those years are healthy ones.  Frankly, I have my doubts.” Robyn Stone, DrPH

– From The Topic is Cancer, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Blog