Category Archives: Health Regulation

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.

Food Recall Alert: P.F. Chang’s Home Menu Meals Due to Potential Presence of Foreign Material

More than 2 million pounds of P.F. Chang’s frozen meals have been recalled.  ConAgra Foods has expanded a voluntary recall of P.F. Chang’s Home Menu Brand products due to the potential presence of small metal fragments (2-9mm) in the sugar used in the sauce. This voluntary action has been taken because of impacted sugar from a supplier.

Foodborne foreign objects that are not hard and sharp and less than or equal to 7mm in length may cause minor injuries such as temporary reflexive choking and irritation of the gastrointestinal system.

There have been no reports of adverse reactions or injuries due to consumption of these products to date.

An initial recall was issued on July 7, 2016 after a ConAgra employee observed metal fragments while dispensing sugar from a supplier for a P.F. Chang’s Home Menu Brand sauce ingredient. On July 14, 2016, ConAgra Foods was notified that the initial recall needed to be expanded to include additional P.F. Chang’s Home Menu Brand meals.

Products covered by this recall were distributed in the U.S.  No other ConAgra Foods are impacted by this recall and these products are not served in P.F. Chang’s restaurants. Meals in P.F. Chang’s restaurants are made fresh every day and in every restaurant.

Visit the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website for specific product names and information.

Consumers who have purchased these items are advised not to consume them and return them to the store where originally purchased. ConAgra Foods is cooperating with both the FDA and USDA on this recall and is working with customers to ensure the packages are removed from store shelves and are no longer distributed. Consumers with questions should call our Consumer Affairs hotline at 1-800-252-0634, open 9 am through 7 pm CDT, Monday through Friday.

Be Sun Safe: May is Skin Cancer Prevention Month

(GIF Credit:  https://giphy.com/gifs/qutisuYBaGfFC)

Sundress and shorts season has officially begun.  Are you protected?  According to the 2018 South Carolina Health Assessment, melanoma of skin (skin cancer) is the 5th leading cause of new cancer cases in the state (see below).

Skin Cancer Table

Did you know that skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States with nearly 5 million people treated each year?  Skin cancer is caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun and other sources such as tanning beds.  Anyone can get skin cancer, but it can be cured if found and treated early.  Talk to your doctor if you notice any unusual moles or changes to your skin.

Whether you are taking a trip to the beach or doing some much-needed gardening, it is important to protect your skin from the sun.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Stay in the shade, especially during midday hours
  • Wear clothing that covers your arms and legs
  • Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade your face, head, ears, and neck
  • Wear sunglasses that wrap around and block UVA and UVB rays
  • Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) or 15 or higher, and both UVA and UV protection
  • Avoid indoor tanning

Being in the sun does not have to be worrisome.  Just make sure you protect yourself. Visit the CDC for more fun safety tips and  follow their  hashtag #SunSafeSelfie for pictures of people all over the world who are taking action to protect themselves from the sun – and having fun while doing it!

Don’t Forget to Thank A Nurse This Week: National Nurses Week is May 6-12

Officially recognized in 1993, National Nurses Week was founded to celebrate nurses and their contributions to society as well as encourage more people to join the nursing profession.

Whenever there is someone in need of care, you can count on a nurse to show compassion in tending to their needs.  Nurses are critical in safeguarding individual and public health.

“We celebrate our DHEC nurses for protecting our communities one individual at a time,” said Rebecca Morrison, APRN, MSN, FNP-BC, director, Public Health Nursing.  “Nurses Week is a time to celebrate their dedication and commitment to Public Health nursing.”

CDC Nurse Photo JPG

DHEC nurses provide care for clients in several programs, including:  immunizations, sexually transmitted disease (STD) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) testing, tuberculosis, family planning, children’s health and more.  They are also in local schools and childcare centers.  For a full list of services we provide statewide, visit:   https://www.scdhec.gov/health/health-public-health-clinics/services-we-provide.

The nursing profession was founded to protect, promote, and improve health for all ages.  Take time this week to thank a nurse for all they do.