Hurricane Preparedness Week is May 29 – June 4, and to help long-term care facilities prepare for an emergency, members of Public Health Preparedness and Healthcare Quality recently held the South Carolina Health Care Facility Hurricane Workshop. The workshop included several exercises and served as a time for nursing homes and community residential care facilities to learn, share, and discuss the best methods to properly prepare for the circumstances caused by hurricanes.Continue reading
Earth Day is celebrated every year on April 22. This year’s Earth Day theme is “invest in our planet”. We are on this planet together and together we can invest our time, energy, and effort, to protect and preserve this planet we call Earth for ourselves and future generations.
As citizens of the Earth and South Carolina, we can actively invest in our planet by:
Participating in Citizen Science projects/programs. These projects/programs are something you can do year-round. Citizen science is when people collect data through observation of the physical world and report it to the scientific community. They range from global efforts such as the Great Back Yard Bird Count to local programs such as SC Adopt a Beach and SC Adopt a Stream programs.
Learn more about South Carolina’s environment by participating in local state park programs and events. State Park programs and events cater to all ages and interest from the mountains to the sea, including interpretive nature walks, interactive exhibits, and other outdoor adventures.
Some things you can do to invest time, energy, and effort, around your community and in your own yard include:
- Start a neighborhood project to label storm drains; only rainwater should go down the drain.
- Compost at home and use the compost as a natural fertilizer for flower beds.
- Bag the grass when mowing in the Spring to stop the spread of weeds and reduce the need for harsh chemicals on the yard.
- Encourage local schools and businesses to enroll in the Breathe Better Anti-Idling program to reduce air pollution, the Champions of the Environment competitive grant program to promote student engagement, and the Take Action SC Environmental Education program that encourages and promotes environmental education across South Carolina
To learn more about what you can do to celebrate Earth Day, visit DHEC’s Make Every Day Earth Day webpage.
February 2 is World Wetlands Day, and it’s a great day to learn about South Carolina’s beautiful wetlands and their importance. The state’s marshes and swamps are not only a natural heritage attraction for visitors, but they also play a critical role in ensuring a healthy watershed and environment.Continue reading
Over time, it has become more and more clear that the health of people is connected to the health of animals and the environment. The acknowledgment of that relationship is known as One Health.
Each November 3, human, animal and environmental health experts, like those at DHEC and elsewhere, join communities around the world to bring awareness to this important concept. The idea is to promote the best health for all people, animals, and the environment.
It is critical to address shared health threats at the place where humans, animals, and the environment intersect. One Health involves health experts of all types and on all levels — local, regional, national, and global levels — working on the goal of achieving optimal health outcomes through the recognition of the interconnection between people, animals, plants, and their shared environment.
There are lots of examples of how the health of people is related to the health of animals and the environment. Here are just a couple:
- Zoonotic diseases: Zoonotic diseases are conditions that can be spread between people and animals. According to the Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC), more than half of all infections people can get are zoonotic diseases. These conditions include the likes of rabies, Salmonella, and West Nile virus.
- Food Safety: Food safety is important to prevent people (and animals) from becoming sick after eating food or drinks that contain harmful germs or environmental toxins. CDC estimates that each year 1 in 6 Americans get sick from contaminated food or drinks. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that foodborne illnesses cost the United States more than $15.6 billion each year.
These examples show that wide-ranging partnerships that include trained staff with backgrounds in human public health, agriculture, veterinary medicine, food safety, disease ecology, and more are needed to respond appropriately to One Health challenges. This includes the historic COVID-19 pandemic, which has placed a significant spotlight (and challenge) on One Health because it has demanded rapid, innovative, collaborative approaches to respond to and limit as much as possible its devastating impact.
The CDC’s One Health Office focuses on this relationship between people, animals, and the environment. Staff at DHEC are involved in One Health activities every day. The One Health approach encourages experts such as disease detectives, laboratorians, physicians, and veterinarians to work together to improve the health of all — from people to pets to livestock to wildlife.
After several weeks of a joint investigation by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources Beaufort Unit and the DHEC Shellfish Division, two individuals who were illegally harvesting and selling oysters in the Bluffton/Hilton Head area were apprehended.
On March 17, 10 bushels of adulterated oysters were seized from the scene, and 10 summons and 2 warnings were issued to the two individuals. This illegal trade puts the citizens at risk due to the health standards not being involved in the process.Continue reading