Category Archives: Emergency Preparedness

From Other Blogs: Handwashing, mold after a flood, safer food choices & more

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

Protect yourself and wash your hands the right way

Hand washing is the number one way to help prevent the spread of germs and diarrhea-related illnesses. As flu season approaches, it is vital that we make a habit of washing our hands frequently throughout the day. — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

Tips on Cleaning Mold after a Flood

Returning to your home after a flood is a big part of getting your life back to normal. But you may be facing a new challenge: mold. What can you do to get rid of it?  How do you get the mold out of your home and stay safe at the same time? CDC has investigated floods, mold, and cleanup, and offers practical tips for homeowners and others on how to safely and efficiently remove mold from the home. — From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Your Health — Your Environment blog

Help Your Patients Make Safer Food Choices

Every year, an estimated 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases. Salmonella and Campylobacter, two of the many types of bacteria that are commonly transmitted through food, can cause antibiotic-resistant infections.

As physicians, we can help patients protect themselves against foodborne illness by talking with them about their risk. — From the CDC’s Safe Healthcare blog

Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning Prevention

Every year, at least 430 people die in the U. S. from accidental CO poisoning. Approximately 50,000 people in the U.S. visit the emergency department each year due to accidental CO poisoning. There are steps you can take to help protect yourself and your household from CO poisoning. Change the batteries in your CO detector every six months. If you don’t have a battery-powered or battery back-up CO detector, buy one soon. — From the CDC’s Your Health — Your Environment blog

DHEC in the News: DHEC mobile care unit, flu, opioids and meth

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

DHEC’s mobile care unit deploying to counties facing severe flooding

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WPDE) — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control will use its WIC Mobile Clinic to help those who can’t get to local health departments due to recent flooding from Hurricane Florence.

Later this week the mobile care van will travel to the Cheraw and Marion areas to provide adult immunizations and nutrition services for eligible women and children.

DHEC to deploy mobile care unit to SC flood stricken areas

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) – The South Carolina Department of Health says it will roll out its WIC mobile clinic to help residents in areas recovering from the flood.

General Interest

80,000 deaths caused by flu last season, CDC says

(CNN)An estimated 80,000 Americans died of flu and its complications last winter, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This means it was the deadliest season in more than four decades — since 1976, the date of the first published paper reporting total seasonal flu deaths, said CDC Spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund.

In previous seasons, flu-related deaths have ranged from a low of about 12,000 during the 2011-2012 season to a high of about 56,000 during the 2012-2013.

While America wages war on opioids, meth makes its comeback

(CNN)For Capt. Mark Wollmershauser Jr. and the Tulsa Police Department, the late-2000s and early 2010s were an extremely dangerous time.

In Oklahoma, a state that is no stranger to the scourge of methamphetamine addiction, those years were the heyday of the “shake and bake” method — a rudimentary way of making meth using just cold medicine, some toxic chemicals and an empty two-liter bottle.

The technique is simple enough that many addicts can cook their own meth, but with one tiny misstep, the chemical reaction that occurs inside can cause deadly explosions.

A Few Tips On Boiling Water

Natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods can affect water systems and lead to boil water advisories being issued. Here are some tips to keep your water safe if that happens.

Boiling Water for Drinking

  • Fill a pot with water.
  • Heat the water until bubbles come from the bottom of the pot to the top.
  • Once the water reaches a rolling boil, let it boil for 1 minute.
  • Turn off the heat source and let the water cool.
  • Pour the water into a clean container with a cover for storage.

Visit the DHEC website for more information on boil water emergencies as well as emergency guidelines for businesses. You can also find information on food and water safety on the agency website.

Avoiding Mosquitoes After Rain, Flooding

Rain and flooding of the sort South Carolina has endured recently can saturate areas and leave standing water, which has the potential to become breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes can carry viruses such as West Nile. That is why it is important that we all do our part to reduce mosquito populations and protect our families from exposure to these pesky, and potentially harmful, insects.

Reduce mosquito breeding habitats.

It only takes as few as five days for water in containers as small as a bottle cap to become active breeding sites for mosquitoes.

  • Routinely empty any containers on your property that are holding water:
    • Pool covers
    • Flower pots
    • Tires
    • Pet bowls
    • Toys
    • Tarpsclean-gutters-istock_000006269745medium
  • Remove debris from gutters.
  • Trim back thick shrubbery and overgrown grass on your property.
  • Fix leaky outdoor faucets.

Protect you and your family from mosquitoes and possible exposure to mosquito-borne illnesses.

  • Repair damaged or broken doors and screens.
  • Wear light-colored clothes with long sleeves and long pants.
  • Close garage doors at night.SprayHands-Zika2

If you must be outside when mosquitoes are active, applying a mosquito repellent can help protect you from bites.

Visit the DHEC website for more information about protecting yourself against mosquitoes. You can also visit the site to find contact information for the local mosquito control program in your area.

Beware of the hazards caused by flood waters and standing water

Although Florence has exited South Carolina, the storm dumped a large amount of rain that now has some areas of the state facing a high risk of flooding.

Flood waters are nothing to play with or to take for granted. Exercise caution.

Turn Around, Don’t Drown!

No matter how harmless it might appear, avoid driving, wading or walking in flood waters. Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.

Beware of hazards below

All too often, danger lurks within and beneath flood waters and standing water.

DHEC urges everyone not to use area streams, rivers or the ocean for drinking, bathing or swimming due to the possibility of bacteria, waste water or other contaminants. Avoid wading through standing water due to the possibility of sharp objects, power lines or other hazardous debris that might be under the surface.

Follow these steps if you come into contact with flood waters or standing waters:

  • Avoid or limit direct contact.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap, especially before drinking and eating.
  • Do not allow children to play in flood water, or play with toys contaminated with flood water.
  • Report cuts or open wounds, and report all symptoms of illness. (Keep vaccinations current.)

For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s webpage on risks associated with flood waters and standing water. You can also visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s website for more information on avoiding contact with flood waters.