Category Archives: Disease Control

5 Fast Facts About Sickle Cell Disease on World Sickle Cell Day

Today is World Sickle Cell Day.  Sickle cell disease affects millions of people worldwide and is particularly common among people originating from sub-Saharan Africa, Saudi Arabia, India, South America and Central America, and Mediterranean countries, such as Turkey, Greece, and Italy.

  1. Sickle cell disease is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders. The red blood cells become hard and sticky and look like a C-shaped farm tool called a “sickle” and the cells die early, which causes a constant storage of red blood cells. Healthy red blood cells are round and move through small blood vessels to carry oxygen to all parts of the body.
  2. SCD affects approximately 100,000 Americans and occurs in about 1 out of every 365 African-American births.
  3. To get SCD, the trait must be inherited from both parents who already have the SCD trait. People with the trait usually do not have any of the signs of the disease and live a normal life, but they can pass the trait to their children.
  4. SCD is diagnosed with a simple blood test. It is most often found at birth during routine newborn screening tests.  Early diagnosis and treatment are important.
  5. The only cure for SCD is a bone marrow or stem cell transplant. These transplants are very risky, and can have serious side effects, including death.  For the transplant to work, the bone marrow must be a close match (usually a brother or sister).

sickle-cell-checklist-rect

The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC)’s Sickle Cell Program helps people who have SCD pay for medical services, supplies, equipment and medications.  To learn more about the program visit:  https://www.scdhec.gov/health/child-teen-health/services-children-special-health-care-needs/18-and-older-sickle-cell.

DHEC In the News: Smoking Ban Expansion, HopeHealth Team Recognition, & Limiting the Spread of Hepatitis A

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

Columbia Bans Vaping in Bars and Restaurants, Expands Smoking Ban

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Free Times) – After months of discussion, Columbia City Council has approved an extensive update to its smoking ordinance, prohibiting the use of e-cigarettes in places — like bars and restaurants — where traditional smoking was already banned.

 

HopeHealth dietitians/lifestyle coaches earn state recognition

FLORENCE, S.C. (SC Now) – Three of HopeHealth’s Diabetes and Nutrition Institute team members were among a dozen individuals recently recognized by the South Carolina Public Health Association as recipients of the Voice of Public Health Award.

 

DHEC working to limit spread of hepatitis A

SUMTER, S.C. (The Sumter Item) – Although South Carolina is experiencing a hepatitis A outbreak, it is mild compared with the widespread outbreaks in other states, some of which have reported cases in the hundreds and even thousands.

Swim Safe During Healthy & Safe Swimming Week

Pool season is officially here!  Even though swimming is a great recreational activity, be cautious about the water where you swim.  This week marks the 11th annual Healthy and Safe Swimming Week, where this year’s theme is “Pool Chemistry for Healthy & Safe Swimming.”

Many people do not think about the chemistry of the water before they dive.  Certain contaminations can lead to illness, including Cryptosporidium (or “Crypto”), Legionella and other recreational water illnesses.  Pool chemicals are added to maintain water quality and kill germs.  Each year, however, mishandling pool chemicals when treating pools, hot tubs, spas, and water playgrounds leads to 3,000-5,000 visits to emergency departments.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2009 there were approximately 301 million swimming visits each year by persons over the age of six.  Please refrain from getting in deep water levels if you cannot swim.  Each day, two children younger than 14 years old die from drowning.  Drowning is a leading cause of death for children 1-4 years old.

Healthy Swimming CDC_gif

Follow these tips for safe swimming this summer:

  • Don’t swim or let your kids swim if sick with diarrhea.
  • Contact a DHEC representative to get an inspection for a specific facility
  • Before getting in the water, do your own mini-inspection.
    • Use a test strip from your local retailer or pool supply store to check if the water’s pH and free chlorine or bromine levels are correct:
      • Follow the manufacturer’s directions.
      • pH: 7.0-7.8
      • Free chlorine: between 1-8 ppm in all recreational water bodies
      • Bromine: between 2.3-17.6 ppm in all recreational bodies
    • Rinse off in the shower before you get in the water. Rinsing off for just 1 minute removes most of the dirt or anything else on your body that could contaminate the water.
    • Don’t pee or poop in the water.

For additional inspection steps, visit:  https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/materials/infographic-inspection.html  Healthy swimming is safe swimming.  Keep yourself and your loved ones safe this summer and stay informed.

DHEC in the News: Kershaw County rolls out e-WIC cards, Mass hurricane preparedness exercise, Low rankings for restaurant scorecards

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

E-WIC cards to replace WIC vouchers, now available in Kershaw County

ABC News 4 (Charleston)         WIS News (Midlands)

 

Restaurant Scorecards:  Low rankings in Myrtle Beach (WMBF) and the Midlands (The State)

Restaurants in Myrtle Beach and the Midlands receive significantly low inspection ratings.

 

Multi-agency exercise readies Midlands for worst-case scenario

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) – Nearly 200 personnel participated in a large-scale mock disaster drill Friday at the South Carolina Aeronautics Commission hangar at the Columbia Metropolitan Airport designed to challenge and improve their response capabilities.

#KnowYourStatusSC: Get Hep Tested on May 20

In recognition of National Hepatitis Testing Day, DHEC clinics statewide will offer FREE Hepatitis testing on Monday, May 20.  Here are 5 fast facts about hepatitis.

  • Viral Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. Your liver is the largest organ and helps your body digest food, store energy, and remove poisons.
  • There are three strains of hepatitis: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C.  Viruses cause most cases of hepatitis.  Drug and alcohol use can also cause hepatitis.
  • Symptoms include: loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, dark-colored urine and pale bowel movements, stomach pain, and jaundice (yellow skin and eyes).  Some people may not experience any symptoms.
  • Most people who are infected with Hepatitis develop a chronic, or long-term, infection.
  • In the United States, hepatitis C is responsible for more deaths than all other reportable infectious diseases.

Hepatitic C Stats_2018 SC Health Assessment

In South Carolina, approximately 75 males (per 100,000) were living with hepatitis C compared to approximately 44 women.  Are you at risk for getting Hepatitis?  Take the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Risk Assessment and find out.

Check your DHEC local public health clinic for more information about FREE Hepatitis Testing Day.