Category Archives: Prevention

DHEC Helps SC Schools ‘Stop the Bleed’

In 2017 the Upstate Healthcare Coalition presented a project to provide stop the bleed kits to all regional schools in the Upstate, as part of the Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) grant funding, through the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This project proposal was presented to the HPP Advisory Council for approval.

Coalition WinnerThe Advisory Council, which consists of a member from each Regional Healthcare Coalition, South Carolina Emergency Management, DHEC’s Department of EMS and Trauma and the Bureau of Public Health Preparedness, recognized this project as something that should be implemented statewide. The Low Country, Midlands and Pee Dee coalitions all agreed to implement this project in their regions. At that point, Spartanburg Regional Health, MUSC, Palmetto Health and Grand Strand Health partnered with the Advisory Council and DHEC to help facilitate this project.

The state of South Carolina and the Regional Healthcare Coalitions have received almost $1.06 million in federal grant funding.  South Carolina is scheduled to receive more than 18,000 “Stop the Bleed” kits that will be evenly distributed among the four Public Health Preparedness Regions school districts.

DHEC, in partnership with the South Carolina Department of Education, will provide public school districts “Stop the Bleed” training and supply the kits at no cost to the districts. The tourniquet kits will contain supplies and cuff-like devices that can stop severe traumatic bleeding during an emergency on the school campus or during a school event, enabling lay-people to intervene and potentially save lives in the event of a life-threatening injury. Each district will be allocated tourniquets based on population and will distribute them to the schools. The vendor, Tactical Medical Solutions, is scheduled to deliver the first of four shipments of kits to the DHEC Pharmacy in May 2018.

The model for training and distribution would be to have lead nurses in all participating districts attend train-the-trainer educational sessions, where they would obtain certificates to verify their training status upon completion.  DHEC (Trauma Department), upon receipt of a copy of the certificate, would arrange delivery of the supply of kits to the lead nurse’s office for distribution at the district’s discretion (factors include, but are not limited to, the number of schools, school size and the number of buildings, and student volume).

There will be at least one training held in every region.  District school nurses would be responsible for training the other nurses in their district, with assistance as needed from DHEC, EMS, Trauma centers, etc.

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DHEC in the News: Flu, “Stop the Bleed” kits, opioids

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

South Carolina flu season deadlier than any of past five

Some 221 South Carolinians have died so far this flu season, more than in any of the previous five flu seasons, state health officials report.

And flu season isn’t over yet.

According to state records, 46 South Carolinians died during the 2012-13 flu season, 78 perished in the 2013-14 season, 157 in the 2014-15 season, 47 in the 2015-16 season, and 94 in the 2016-17 season.

“This flu season has been particularly harsh for South Carolina and our country as a whole,” said Dr. Linda Bell, epidemiologist for the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Upstate hospital sparks initiative to get life-saving equipment into every SC school

SPARTANBURG, S.C. — A team effort led to grant funding that will provide 19,000 life-saving kits to every school in South Carolina. The idea for the initiative started in Spartanburg.

“We’ve always called EMS first responders, but we want the lay public that has no background in medicine at all to not be afraid of what bleeding looks like,” said Amy Hamrick, trauma program manager at Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System.

General Interest

Centers for Disease Control to award over $15 million in opioid overdose prevention funds

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is awarding more than $15 million over three years to seven chosen projects that will help prevent opioid overdoses.

The CDC will award $15,750,000, given out as $750,000 per year, for a total of $2,250,000 over the three years.

National Nutrition Month 2018: ‘Go Further With Food’

By Sylvia Blyth, RD, LD, CLC
Nutrition Education Coordinator
Division of WIC Services

March is National Nutrition Month, a time to focus attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

Choose the right foods

“Go Further with Food” is the theme for 2018, and its importance is timely for many reasons. Whether it’s starting the day off right with a healthy breakfast or fueling up before an athletic event, the foods you choose can make a real difference. Preparing your foods to go further, by planning meals and snacks in advance, can also help to reduce food loss and waste.

This year’s theme for National Nutrition Month encourages us to achieve the numerous benefits healthy eating habits offer, but it also urges us to find ways to cut back on food waste. Learning how to manage food resources at home will help you “Go Further with Food,” while saving both nutrients and money.

What Can You Do?

  • Include a variety of healthful foods from all of the food groups on a regular basis.
  • Consider the foods you have on hand before buying more at the store.
  • Buy only the amount that can be eaten or frozen within a few days and plan ways to use leftovers later in the week.
  • Be mindful of portion sizes. Eat and drink the amount that’s right for you, as MyPlate encourages us to do.
  • Continue to use good food safety practices.
  • Find activities that you enjoy and be physically active most days of the week.
  • Realize the benefits of healthy eating by consulting with a registered dietitian nutritionist. RDNs can provide sound, easy-to-follow personalized nutrition advice to meet your lifestyle, preferences and health-related needs.

For more information, please visit

From Other Blogs: Physical activity, disaster recovery, cardiovascular disease, health disparities & more

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

Keep moving

Do you feel exhausted at the end of the day? How about your kids? Do they just want to flop in front of the TV? Physical activity helps you feel better right away, no matter what kind you choose. Daily physical activity can give you more energy and improve your sleep and focus. Staying active over time also helps you keep a healthy weight. It protects you from heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and osteoporosis (weak bones).

How much activity do kids need? — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

Disaster Recovery: USDA Answering the Call

In early December, I gathered with a group of neighbors in a Puerto Rican community to watch work begin on a USDA project to protect a nearby bridge. Minute-by-minute, the sound of rumbling equipment grew louder as the excavators emerged from behind houses, rolled along the debris-covered horizon and worked along the river’s edge. I was glad to be able to see first-hand USDA’s disaster recovery work after Hurricane Maria, including this emergency watershed protection project to aid a southern Puerto Rico community. — From the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) blog

Saving a Million Hearts: One Heart at a Time!

Cardiovascular disease (CVD), principally ischemic heart disease and stroke, remains the leading cause of U.S. deaths for men and women and all races and ethnicities in spite of major progress in its prevention and treatment. CVD is also the greatest contributor to racial disparities in life expectancy. In 2012, 120 public and private partners and 20 federal agencies launched the Million Hearts®initiative to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. The initiative sought to implement proven, effective, and inexpensive interventions in both clinical and community settings. In healthcare, the initiative helped improve management of the ABCS (aspirin use for high risk patients, blood pressure control, cholesterol management, and smoking cessation). — From the CDC’s Genomics and Health Impact Blog

Mission Possible: Addressing Health Disparities in Heart Disease and Stroke Outcomes

As the leading killer of Americans, heart disease and its associated behavioral causes are distributed throughout our country. Even so, some groups of people are more affected than others. Poverty and lack of education have long been associated with poorer health status and heart disease is no exception, occurring more frequently among people with lower incomes and less education. Racial and ethnic minorities, including African Americans and American Indians, whose histories in the United States are marked by severe trauma such as slavery, genocide, lack of human rights and loss of ancestral lands, and who today are often disadvantaged in terms of income and education, also experience higher rates of heart disease. — The Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Conversations In Equity blog

Healthy Changes in the Child and Adult Care Food Program

USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) works to combat hunger by bringing nutritious and wholesome foods to tables for children in child care centers, homes, and afterschool programs as well as adults in day care. More than 4.2 million children and 130,000 adults receive nutritious meals and snacks each day through CACFP. As an added benefit, these meals and snacks often reflect regional and local food preferences. — From the USDA blog

It’s Sleep Awareness Week: Be Sure You Get Your Zs

sleepSleep is a vital indicator of overall health and well-being. We spend up to one-third of our lives asleep, and the overall state of our “sleep health” remains an essential question throughout our lifespan.

Join the National Sleep Foundation in celebrating its annual Sleep Awareness Week, March 11 to 17, 2018. This year’s theme, “Begin with Sleep,” highlights the importance of good sleep health for individuals to best achieve their personal, family, and professional goals.

A good night’s sleep can depend on:

How much sleep do you need to be your best self?

Most of us know that getting a good night’s sleep is important, but too few of us actually make those eight or so hours between the sheets a priority. For many of us with sleep debt, we’ve forgotten what “being really, truly rested” feels like.

To further complicate matters, stimulants like coffee and energy drinks, alarm clocks, and external lights—including those from electronic devices—interfere with our “circadian rhythm” or natural sleep/wake cycle.

Sleep needs vary across ages and are especially impacted by lifestyle and health. To determine how much sleep you need, it’s important to assess not only where you fall on the “sleep needs spectrum,” but also to examine what lifestyle factors are affecting the quality and quantity of your sleep such as work schedules and stress.

Check out the Bedtime Calculator, which can help you plan your sleep.

sleep chart

Make Sleep a Priority

To begin a new path towards healthier sleep and a healthier lifestyle, begin by assessing your own individual needs and habits. See how you respond to different amounts of sleep.

Pay careful attention to your mood, energy and health after a poor night’s sleep versus a good one. Ask yourself, “How often do I get a good night’s sleep?” Like good diet and exercise, sleep is a critical component to overall health.

To pave the way for better sleep, follow these simple yet effective healthy sleep tips, including:

If you or a family member are experiencing symptoms such as sleepiness during the day or when you expect to be awake and alert, snoring, leg cramps or tingling, gasping or difficulty breathing during sleep, prolonged insomnia or another symptom that is preventing you from sleeping well, you should consult your primary care physician or  find a sleep professional to determine the underlying cause.

You may also try using the National Sleep Foundation Sleep Diary to track your sleep habits over a one- or two-week period and bring the results to your physician.

Most importantly, make sleep a priority. You must schedule sleep like any other daily activity, so put it on your “to-do list” and cross it off every night. But don’t make it the thing you do only after everything else is done; stop doing other things so you get the sleep you need.