Category Archives: Environment

DHEC in the News: Opioids, drug take back day, flu & more

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

Opioid crisis continues to hit Greenville County

Charles Cureton describes himself as a lifelong heroin addict.

The 69-year-old has overdosed on the drug several times throughout the years. Each time, including last month, he survived.

“It just ain’t my time,” the Greenville resident said.

Each year, hundreds of people in South Carolina die from opioid-related overdoses. The crisis has reached the point that the deaths may surpass traffic fatalities when the statistics are released this year.

Conway Police helps host drug take back event

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Conway Police partnered with Shoreline Behavioral Health Services and Horry County CAST Coalition for a prescription drug tack back day, Saturday.

General Interest

Flu season is not over yet, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautions

The number of people sick with flu has continued to decrease across the nation, but experts warn that the season is not over yet. New York City and 21 states continued to experience high activity of flu-like illness during the week ending March 3, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday in its weekly surveillance report.

Looking at the data for recent weeks, CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said, “we’re still continuing to see a decline in influenza-like activity. Even though It looks like all signs point to decreasing influenza activity, we’re still in what we normally think of as flu season.”

Controlled burns benefit our forests

The weather in South Carolina in March can be characterized as crisp, cool and perfect for a controlled burn. That’s why it’s fitting that Gov. Henry McMaster has proclaimed March 2018 Prescribed Fire Awareness Month.

Prescribed burning is a very important management tool here in the Southeastern U.S. It is a necessary tool for both managers of forests and crop fields.

DHEC in the News: Flu, opioids, coastal floods

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

Has the flu loosened its grip in SC? Here’s what the numbers say

It seems the worst has finally passed in regard to flu activity in South Carolina.

Widespread in the Palmetto State for the past 10 weeks, S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control officials now believe the illness is present only on a regional basis.

Opioid prescribing limits to be imposed in South Carolina

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) – The South Carolina Medicaid Agency and BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina will limit how many opioids doctors can prescribe to patients in some cases.

This comes after Gov. Henry McMaster issued an executive order in December establishing an emergency response team to battle the opioid crisis in South Carolina.

General Interest

Coastal floods to be nearly as common as high tides in South Carolina within 80 years, NOAA says

Tidal flooding is accelerating along the South Carolina coast, including at Charleston, federal researchers say. The coast might flood nearly every day by the turn of the century almost 80 years from now.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report is the latest in a series of alerts which forecast worsening conditions for South Carolina and the East Coast as seas and storm-surge rise.

DHEC in the News: Oysters recalled, Alzheimer’s, pollen

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

DHEC recalling Charleston County oysters harvested during sewage leak

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Health officials in South Carolina have ordered a recall of oysters harvested where a sewage spill occurred last month.

Black Americans are twice as likely to get Alzheimer’s. Vernon Williams was one of the unlucky ones

Vernon Williams had begun to forget little things. He would begin driving, only to realize he couldn’t remember how to get to where he was going. Trips to the refrigerator ended in frustration. After church, people he had known for years greeted him. But he couldn’t recall their names.

“I just couldn’t remember exactly,” he said.

He wasn’t even thinking about Alzheimer’s disease then. Now, it’s his reality. Williams, 84, began to notice the early signs of the disease about two years ago.

General Interest
With pollen out in full force, Charleston allergy experts offer tips to mitigate your symptoms

That yellow film covering every conceivable outdoor surface signals two truths: Spring is right around the corner and pollen allergy sufferers are miserable.

It’s not just your imagination, there’s a lot of pollen out there. In fact, “the current pollen count is between the ‘high’ and ‘very high’ range,” according to a statement published Tuesday by Charleston Allergy and Asthma.

Three local allergists offer answers about the best allergy medicines, how genetics play a role in seasonal allergies and, perhaps most importantly, when we can expect all this pollen to disappear.

DHEC in the News: Flu, sewage discharge, American Heart Month & more

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

DHEC: Week 8 of high-activity flu season brings second child death to South Carolina

Horry County, S.C. (WPDE) — The eighth week of flu season brought the second flu-related child death of this year, according to a report by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).

In its weekly flu watch report, DHEC said the week of Feb. 18 to Feb. 24 was the 11th consecutive week of widespread flu activity.

2 million gallons of sewage discharged into the Stono River

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The Department of Health and Environmental control says an estimated 2.4 million gallons of sewage discharged into the headwaters of the Stono River over the course of 8 days.

According to DHEC, the Town of Hollywood noticed disruption of flow in a wastewater line on February 19, 2018. The disruption indicated a problem with the collection system.

Take care of your heart during Heart Health Month

Heart disease is a leading cause of early death and disability in South Carolina. The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control encourages residents to adopt habits to keep their hearts healthy.

In 2016, heart disease was the second leading cause of death in the Palmetto State. But small changes can make a big difference.

General Interest

1 in 14 women still smokes while pregnant, CDC says

(CNN)About one in 14 pregnant women who gave birth in the United States in 2016 smoked cigarettes during her pregnancy, according to a report released Wednesday.

The findings, gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, revealed that 7.2% of all expectant mothers smoked — but that the percentage of pregnant smokers varied widely from state to state.

From Other Blogs: Heart-healthy recipes, World Hearing Day, lowering your cancer risk & more

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

Five tips towards a delicious heart healthy recipe

You don’t have to purchase new cookbooks to create delicious, heart healthy recipes your whole family will love. There are plenty of low-fat, low-calorie options for making your comforting family favorites more heart healthy right now. Just one or more changes can make a huge difference. — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

Five important numbers to know for heart health

Learning these five heart health numbers can help you improve and maintain your heart health. Once you know your numbers, you can talk with your doctor about how to best manage and lower your risks for heart disease. — From Flourish

World Hearing Day: March 3rd. “Hear the future … and prepare for it.”

Repeated exposure to loud noise over the years can cause hearing loss. There is no cure for hearing loss! Protect your hearing by avoiding loud noise such as concerts and sporting events. Use earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones to protect your ears. If you already have hearing loss, take steps to keep it from getting worse. — From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Your Health — Your Environment blog

Lowering Your Cancer Risk: A Matter of Ups and Downs

Think of listening to your favorite song. No matter what kind of music it is, someone was behind the scenes making it sound great: bringing out certain parts or instruments, balancing it, getting rid of background noise.

Cutting your cancer risk is a little bit like making great music. — From the CDC’s The Topic Is Cancer blog

Soil Health Practices for Mitigating Natural Disasters

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reports that more than 25 million Americans – almost 8 percent of the population – were affected by major disasters in 2017. From severe flooding in Puerto Rico and Texas to mudslides and wildfires in California, major natural disasters in 2017 cost over $306 billion nationally. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information, this is a new annual record. — From the US Department of Agriculture blog