Category Archives: Community Health

From Other Blogs: National Watermelon Month, Pet Preparedness During Hurricane Season, Cancer Statistics

A collection of health and environmental posts from other governmental blogs

The Science Behind a Favorite Summertime Treat

Many people consider watermelon a delicious summer treat — whether in granitas, salads or simply freshly sliced. It’s not surprising that July is National Watermelon Month.  Watermelons, which originated in Africa, have been grown in the North America since the 1600s and are an important U.S. crop. According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, the United States produced 4,494,000 pounds of watermelon in 2016. – From The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Blog

 

Pet Preparedness:  10 Items You’ll Need for Your Pet’s Hurricane Emergency Kit

Amid rushed evacuations, strong winds, and approaching floodwaters of a disaster, chaos often ensues, forcing families to make impossible decisions about the animals that are part of their families.  It’s never easy to leave a pet behind but often, there is no choice. These situations may not always be preventable but having a plan in place can give your pets their best chance.  Keep that plan, and the tools needed to implement it, within an emergency kit tailored specifically to your pet. – From the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)’s Blog

 

Four Reasons Why You Should Use the US Cancer Statistics Tools

US Cancer Statistics, the official federal cancer statistics covering the entire US population, has been updated with new data and new ways to analyze the data by demographics and risk factors. Learn more about how you can explore and use the latest US cancer data. – From The Topic is Cancer, A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Blog

South Carolina Health at a Glance: Access to Healthcare

Our next installment of the 2018 Live Healthy State Health Assessment summaries covers access to healthcare.  Because the document is 346 pages, we will summarize each section.  Check out our previous posts:  overview of the report, South Carolina demographics, leading causes of death and hospitalization, and cross-cutting.  Data is analyzed from 2010-2016.

Access to health care refers to the ability of residents in a community to find a consistent medical provider for their primary and specialty care needs and ability to receive that care without encountering significant barriers.  Special populations who may face unique barriers include those who are experiencing homelessness or mental illness, lacking adequate health insurance, or non-English speakers such as some immigrants and refugees.

Primary Care Physicians

Primary care physicians specialize in family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, and pediatrics.  They provide preventative care, identify and treat common conditions, and make referrals to specialists as needed.  Typically people with familiar primary care physicians have better chronic disease management, lower overall health care costs, and a higher level of satisfaction with their care.

According to America’s Health Rankings, in 2017, South Carolina ranked 36th in the nation for the number of primary care physicians per 10,000 residents.  The counties with the highest rates of primary care physicians in 2015 were Charleston, Greenwood, and Greenville.

Physician Assistants

Physician assistants are certified medical professionals who can give medical and surgical care in teams with physicians.  They can practice under the direction of a physician to diagnose, treat, and prescribe medicine.  The ratio of physician assistants increased from 1.5 physician assistants per 10,000 residents in 2009 to 2.5 physician assistants per 10,000 residents in 2015.

Nurse Practitioners

Nurse practitioners have clinical knowledge and skills to provide direct patient care.  They have the authority to prescribe medications and can also be utilized in rural communities, which often lack primary care providers.  South Carolina saw a 50% increase in the ratio of nurse practitioners from 2009 to 2015.

Health Insurance Coverage Among Adults

The Kaiser Family Foundation estimated 550,000 South Carolinians were without health insurance in 2016.  Although the number of insured adults in South Carolina increased from 2008 to 2015, the rate was below the United States, as well as the Healthy People 2020 target.  In 2015, 85.7% of South Carolina women were insured compared to 81.6% of men.

Health Care Insurance_Health Assessment

Delayed Medical Care

Worse health outcomes and higher medical expenditures are often results of delayed medical care.  Late diagnosis and advanced disease may require more extensive services.  Being insured and having access to affordable medical care could increase utilization of preventive health care services.

Delayed medical care_Health assessment

In South Carolina in 2016, 21.2% of Hispanic/Latinos delayed healthcare due to cost, compared to 18.8% of non-Hispanic Blacks and 13.7% of non-Hispanic Whites.  More women delayed medical care due to cost than men.

For more information about avoidable hospitalizations and emergency department visits, the leading causes of hospitalizations among children, and oral health, read the full chapter about Access to Health Care.

 

DHEC In the News: School Immunization Requirements, Serious Food Safety Violations, Routine Checkups

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

DHEC reminds parents of 2019 SC school immunization requirements

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is reminding parents about school immunization requirements headed into the 2019-2020 school year for kids in grades K-12.

 

What is a serious food safety violation?  Here’s how restaurant inspections work in SC

GREENVILLE, S.C. (GreenvilleOnline.com) Want to know a little more about how restaurants are inspected in South Carolina? Here’s a little guide.

 

How Often Should My Child Get A Routine Checkup?

(Moms.com)  Nothing is more important than a child’s health, but it can be tricky to know when to take them to the doctor. Some people take their children for routine check-ups on a regular basis, while others wait until their little ones come down with something.

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 https://chronicdiseaseday.org/.

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:  https://www.scdhec.gov/health/infectious-diseases/hepatitis-overview/hepatitis-possible-restaurant-exposure.

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