Category Archives: Maternal & Child Health

Embrace All Aspects of Health During Women’s Health Week

How many times do we try to eat right, exercise, eliminate stress factors and get a good night’s sleep  with no success?  Well that stops this week!  May 12-18 is National Women’s Health Week.  Use this week to start a routine to keep your mind, body and spirit healthy.

CDC Women Exercise Class Photo

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), taking these steps can lead to better health:

 

By the Numbers

According to the 2018 South Carolina Health Assessment, here are some health findings about women in South Carolina.  Read the full assessment for more statistics.

  • The prevalence of South Carolina women delaying medical care due to cost was higher than South Carolina males.
  • Non-Hispanic Black women experienced a higher rate of new cases of late-stage breast cancer than non-Hispanic White women. South Carolina ranks 19th in the nation for new cases of breast cancer.  White women are diagnosed at a higher rate than Black women; however, Black women die at a higher rate (almost 50% higher).  In 2015, there was a total of 4,077 new cases of breast cancer, of these, 1,306 were diagnosed as late-stage.
  • In 2016, 75% of South Carolina women aged 50 to 74 years old received a mammogram within the last two years.
  • South Carolina ranks 19th in the nation for new cases of cervical cancer. Black women are diagnosed at a higher rate than White women and also die at a higher rate.  There were 216 new cases of invasive cervical cancer in 2015.
  • In 2016, approximately 90% of women aged 21 to 65 years old reported having a Pap smear within the past three years.
  • Every year, more than 195,000 women in South Carolina are victimized by sexual violence, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner.

If you are not as healthy as you would like to be at your current age, it is never too late to start!  View the Healthy Living by Age page to gauge your health from ages 20s-90s.  Think you’ve got your health covered?  Find out your health score.

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.

DHEC Helps S.C. Parents Brush Up on Good Oral Health Habits for Kids

Division of Oral Health Receives Over $500,000 in Federal Funding ​

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, and DHEC is helping parents brush up on the importance of their child’s oral hygiene and the positive habits that lead to healthy smiles. As part of this effort, DHEC’s Division of Oral Health received $570,000 in federal funding from the CDC to support the oral health of South Carolina’s youngest children.​

“We’re trying to expand the recognition of oral health as an essential part of total health and well-being from the earliest age,” said Dr. Ray Lala, director of the Division of Oral Health at DHEC. “We want receiving a toothbrush at a DHEC regional office or from a pediatrician to be a common experience. Prevention is key, and we can all be messengers.”

The Perinatal and Infant Oral Health Quality Improvement Expansion Grant funding helps expand the public’s access to preventive oral health information through their local health departments and medical and dental settings.

In addition to the Division of Oral Health’s ongoing efforts to expand federal funding opportunities, the division is also proud to recognize its leader, Dr. Lala. 

_MG_8774 Lala Sept 2013.jpgDr. Lala has spent his professional career in Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Maryland. He is an alumnus of the University of New Orleans and the Louisiana State University School of Dentistry. Upon completion of dental school, he entered private practice and maintains an active dental license from the State of Louisiana.​

After 15 years of private dental practice, he was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Public Health Service, assigned to the Indian Health Service in 1993. He was selected for a federal detail as the South Carolina State Oral Health Coordinator in 2000. Upon completion of this detail in 2004, Dr. Lala was reassigned to the Health Resources and Services Administration in Rockville, Md. Upon retirement from the Indian Health Service and the Public Health Service in 2014, Dr. Lala assumed his current position as Director of the Division of Oral Health at DHEC.

Dr. Lala’s and his team’s commitment to increasing access to preventive oral health information in South Carolina aligns with our agency’s core value of Embracing Service and strategy of Education and Engagement.

For more information about you can help prevent tooth decay, click here to read our recent news release.

DHEC in the News: Measles, protecting children against contagious diseases, improving health for mothers and newborns

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

DHEC: Measles Confirmed in Georgetown County Resident

Columbia, SC (WLTX) The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) received a report of a confirmed case of measles in a resident who lives in Georgetown County on Friday, August 10, from a local healthcare provider.

DHEC has begun a contact investigation and is notifying people who may have been exposed in specific settings.

School starts soon in York Co. Is your child protected against contagious diseases?

ROCK HILL – Cases of hand, foot and mouth disease have been popping up in York County. But that’s just one of several contagious diseases parents should watch for as school starts Aug. 20.

Parents also should also be mindful of pink eye, respiratory infections and other illnesses that are easily transmitted in a school setting, said Dr. Arash Poursina, infectious disease specialist for Piedmont Medical Center.

“As school starts, we do usually see a spike in the number of upper respiratory infections,” he said.

General Interest

Opinion: South Carolina is focused on improving health for new mothers and newborns

A recent USA Today story called attention to the fact that the United States is falling behind other developed nations with an increase in maternal mortality.

For South Carolina’s hospitals, our top priority is to implement a “Zero Harm” culture at our facilities, focused on providing the highest quality care to the patients we serve. That’s why we are committed to working with stakeholders to improve maternal health in our state.

World Breastfeeding Week 2018: Mother’s love, Mother’s Milk

World Breastfeeding Week offers a perfect time to highlight the benefits of breastfeeding.

The annual observance, coordinated by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), is August 1-7, 2018. This year’s theme, “Breastfeeding: Foundation of Life,” focuses on educating everyone on how breastfeeding is the foundation of lifelong health for babies and mothers. In a world filled with health disparities, it is critical that all babies have a strong foundation for a healthy life. According to WABA, breastfeeding prevents hunger and malnutrition in all its forms and ensures food security for babies, even in times of crises.

“Breastfeeding is one of the best gifts a mother can give her child,” said Ellen Babb, DHEC’s Breastfeeding Coordinator. “No formula can equal the unique combination of easily digestible nutrients and immune factors found in human milk. In addition to numerous physical benefits for mother and baby, breastfeeding promotes a special, lasting bond between them.”

Tackling the myths

Unfortunately, there are many myths about breastfeeding that have made many mothers indecisive on whether to breastfeed their babies or not. Take a look at a few of them below.

Myth: I won’t be able to make enough milk.

Moms almost always make enough milk to feed their babies. Your baby is likely getting more than you think at each feeding. A newborn’s stomach is only the size of an almond. If you eat in a healthy way, drink water, and nurse often, your milk supply should be plentiful. If you have any concerns about your milk supply or your child’s weight, check in with your baby’s doctor or nurse.

Myth: Breastfeeding hurts.

The truth is that breastfeeding is not supposed to be a painful experience. In fact, pain is usually a red flag that something is wrong. While a baby’s latch can be strong, it’s not actually biting, not even when the baby is cutting teeth. As with any new skill, there is an adjustment period. WIC provides breastfeeding peer counselors, lactation consultants, and educational materials to help you get a good start and proper latch – a key to preventing pain. There’s a number of organizations in South Carolina (such as hospitals, lactation centers, and the WIC Program) that offers assistance with breastfeeding through lactation counselors, lactation consultants, peer counselors, and educational materials to help you get a good start and proper latch – a key to preventing pain.

Myth: If I breastfeed, the baby will want only me, or be spoiled.

Just because you breastfeed does not mean that your baby will only want you or be spoiled. While there is a joyful closeness and bonding that occurs during breastfeeding there are also many things others can do, especially dad. He can do things such as playing with the baby, holding baby skin to skin, changing diapers, and more. When dad holds baby skin-to-skin, he can also develop a special bond with the baby. For those worried about spoiling their babies, research shows that breastfed children grow up to be confident and self-sufficient when parents work to meet their other emotional needs.

Challenges of Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding can be challenging, especially in the early days but you are not alone. Lactation consultants can help you find ways to make breastfeeding work for you and your baby. Some women face challenges while breastfeeding, while others do not. Additionally, some women may have certain problems with one baby that they may not have with others. Click here to learn more tackling breastfeeding challenges.

Human milk is the best milk

It is important for moms to know that any amount of breastmilk you give to your baby will be of great benefit because every ounce counts! Human breast milk has been the normal, natural milk to nourish babies since the very beginning of our existence. Breastfeeding promotes a joyful closeness with your baby and a special lifelong bond. It’s a gift only you can give your baby!

For more general information about breastfeeding, click here. For information about how WIC can help with breastfeeding, please click here.