Category Archives: Prevention

From Other Blogs: Drought, infectious disease prevention and the opioid response, broccoli & more

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

Tracking Network Data Spotlight: Drought

You don’t have to live in a desert to experience drought. Did you know that 48 states experienced drought in 2016? Dry periods of below-average rainfall are experienced throughout the United States: they can be relatively short or last years, and can cover both large and small areas.

Extended dry periods have become more frequent in parts of the United States during the past several decades. This can affect people’s health in a number of ways.  CDC’s Environmental Public Health Tracking Network (Tracking Network) allows users to track the duration and severity of drought over time throughout the country. This information can inform a wide variety of environmental and public health efforts related to drought. — From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Your Health — Your Environment blog

Integrating Infectious Disease Prevention and Treatment into the Opioid Response

The opioid crisis in the United States is devastating the lives of millions of Americans. Perhaps overshadowed by the alarming rise in overdoses and deaths is the accompanying numbers of injection-related infectious diseases. Opioid overdose deaths increased fivefold from 1999 to 2016, and new hepatitis C infections more than tripled from 2010 to 2016.

Some communities that have been hardest hit by the opioid crisis have also seen associated increases in hepatitis B and C and other infections, such as endocarditis, septic arthritis and abscesses, driven by increases in the numbers of people who inject opioids. — From the US Department of Health & Human Services blog

Always in Season: Frozen Broccoli 5-Ways

Summer is in full swing with warm, long days to enjoy with friends and family. The season offers a perfect time to stock your freezer with vegetables to have on-hand. Frozen vegetables are simple to store and an easy way to make half your plate fruits and vegetables year round. One popular freezer favorite for every season is frozen broccoli.

Broccoli mixes well with a variety of flavors and sauces and can be used in a many recipes. The convenience of frozen broccoli makes it easy to add to soups, casseroles, egg dishes and more. Part of the MyPlate Dark Green Vegetable subgroup, broccoli adds lively color to meals and provides nutrients such as dietary fiber, folate (folic acid) and vitamin C. — From the US Department of Agriculture blog

NIFA-Funded Research Aims to Keep Bees on the Job

Bee populations in North America have been in decline since the 1940s. This is of great concern to the agriculture industry because about 75 percent of specialty crops depend on the services of pollinators – of which bees are the most economically important.

In the United States, honey bees and native bees are the most economically important species contributing approximately $15 billion in crop value. USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) invests in research to investigate the reasons for the declining populations, promote pollinator health, reduce honey bee colony losses, and restore pollinator habitats. — From the USDA blog

From Other Blogs: Keeping cool in hot weather, avoiding uninvited guests at summer outings, using trauma-informed care to inform emergency preparedness and response

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

Keep Your Cool in Hot Weather

Now is the time to prepare for the high temperatures that kill hundreds of people every year. Extreme heat causes more than 600 deaths each year. Heat-related deaths and illness are preventable, yet many people still die from extreme heat every year.

Take measures to stay cool, remain hydrated, and keep informed. Getting too hot can make you sick. You can become ill from the heat if your body can’t compensate for it and properly cool you off.  The main things affecting your body’s ability to cool itself during extremely hot weather are … — From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Your Health – Your Environment blog

How to Avoid Uninvited Guests at Your Summer Outing

In the summertime, as the weather begins to heat up, our microscopic friends, called bacteria, begin to make uninvited appearances at our cookouts, picnics and even camping trips. Sometimes these little friends can be helpful, but other times, they just make you sick.

Bacteria will grow anywhere they have access to nutrients and water. Microorganisms that cause disease are called pathogens. When certain pathogens enter the food supply, they can cause foodborne illness. – From the US Department of Agriculture blog

Using trauma-informed care to guide emergency preparedness and response

Exposure to a traumatic event or set of circumstances can negatively affect a person’s mental, physical, social, emotional or spiritual well-being for a long time after the initial incident. We know that not all individuals respond to trauma in the same way and we know that individuals with a history of trauma, especially childhood trauma, are more likely to experience psychological distress and are at increased risk for the development of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with future exposure to trauma. – From the CDC’s Public Health Matters blog

Don’t let the bed bugs bite!

Causing property damage, skin irritation, and increased expenses, bed bugs are a nuisance worldwide. The good news is that these creepy crawlers are not considered carriers of disease and are, therefore, not a public health threat! Commonly treated by insecticide spraying, there are several steps you can take to help protect your family from bed bugs:

  1. Know how to identify a bed bug and understand where they’re found.
  2. Conduct regular inspections for signs of an infestation.
  3. If you believe you have an infestation, contact your landlord or professional pest control company to have your home or business properly treated.

DHEC does not have regulatory authority to intervene or respond to bed bug-related issues at hotels, homes, apartments, thrift stores, etc. Bed bugs at state-licensed healthcare facilities, however, should be reported to us via our online complaint form. For more information about filing a complaint about bed bugs at a regulated healthcare facility, please click here.

Even though we do not inspect, treat or conduct site visits in response to bed bug complaints in homes or hotels, we want to make sure that everyone has access to the information they need to help prevent a bed bug infestation in their home.

Like mosquito bites, bed bug bites typically result in a minor skin irritation. Some people might experience a more severe allergic reaction. If you believe that you are experiencing an adverse reaction to a bed bug bite, please seek medical attention from your healthcare provider.

For more information about bed bugs, click on the following: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

DHEC in the News: Air quality alert tips, opioids, invisible public health crisis in rural South

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

Safety tips when under an air quality alert

COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) — Fighting off the heat is typical at this time of year but the battle can be extra hard for some people.

Wednesday, DHEC issued an air quality alert between 10 a-m and 8 p-m. Those most at risk for getting sick were small children, older adults and people with respiratory problems. And because it’s likely there will be more alerts this summer health officials have these tips:

Opioid crisis: Tega Cay police offer new way residents can safely dispose of meds

TEGA CAY – Local residents who have unused or expired prescription drugs can now safely dispose of them at home.

Misuse of opioid-based drugs continues to impact communities across the country.

So far this year, there have been 13 overdose deaths in York County, eight of which were related to opioids, said York County Coroner Sabrina Gast. Other deaths that are presumed to be overdoses are awaiting toxicology results. There were 550 drug overdose deaths involving opiates in South Carolina in 2016, a 7 percent increase from 2015 and an 18 percent increase from 2014, according to S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control

General Interest

The rural South’s invisible public health crisis

When Pamela Rush flushes her toilet, the waste flows out the back of her sky blue mobile home through a yellowing plastic pipe and empties just a few yards away in a soggy pit of mud, weeds, and dead grass.

On a hot day in mid-May, Rush walked around her yard in rural Lowndes County, Alabama. Flies and mosquitoes swarmed her as she tiptoed near the pit. The smell of sewage was overwhelming.

Rush, 48, a soft-spoken woman with striking brown eyes, has straight-piped her family’s waste into her yard for almost two decades. Her home is on the edge of clay dirt road in the dense Alabama forest, miles from a municipal sewer system. …

In the rural South, these conditions aren’t uncommon.

From Other Blogs: Staying hydrated, healthy summer cookouts, handwashing & more

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

Five tips to stay hydrated and healthy this summer

In South Carolina, you can always count on a hot summer. While your family enjoys fun activities like summer camps for children, summer training for athletes and days by the beach or lake, increased temperatures will make your body produce more sweat to keep you cool. This makes adults, children and athletes struggle with staying hydrated. Just 2 to 3 pounds of sweat loss during physical activity can lead to dehydration. — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

Five tips for a healthy and safe summer cookout

The summer season brings outdoor activities including family reunions, cookouts and picnics. Lisa Akly, Palmetto Health Heart Hospital dietitian, shares five tips to ensure that your outdoor meals are not only healthy but safe as well. — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

Millions of Americans with Dirty Hands Are Spreading Dangerous Bacteria

Have you ever seen someone handling food in a way that you would never do yourself? Maybe they were preparing raw poultry and then immediately handled lettuce without washing their hands. Or maybe they did wash their hands, but they dried them by wiping them on their pants. You would never do that, right? Then again, maybe there are things we all do that might increase our risk for foodborne illness. — From the US Department of Agriculture blog

Protect Your Hearing This Summer and Year Round!

The National Center for Environmental Health at CDC encourages you to show off your noisecancelling headphones while participating in noisy activities this summer. Snap a photo of yourself, your family, and your friends, and share on social media. Be certain to tag your photo to #SafeHearingSelfie.

Below are some suggestions of noisy activities… From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Your Health — Your Environment blog