Category Archives: Public Health

Global Handwashing Day: What You Need to Know

Celebrated each year on October 15, Global Handwashing Day is an opportunity to create awareness about how proper handwashing affects your health. Proper handwashing can prevent infectious diseases like norovirus and the flu.

Here are 3 fast facts about handwashing:

  • Key times to always wash your hands with soap and clean water are: after using the bathroom, preparing food, before eating, and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol when soap and water are not available.
  • Hand sanitizers do NOT get rid of all types of germs.

 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), follow these steps to wash your hands the correct way:

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from the beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

For more information about proper handwashing techniques, visit https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html

 

5 Ways to Protect Yourself While Visiting the SC State Fair Animal Exhibits

Each October, families from all over South Carolina visit the South Carolina State Fair. Celebrating 150 years, the fair has food, rides, exhibits, and entertainment. The animal exhibits have always been some of the more popular attractions.

Some animals and livestock may carry germs and diseases that can be harmful. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), here are some tips to help prevent the spread of disease while visiting the livestock exhibits.

  • Wash Your Hands.
    • Find a handwashing station and wash your hands right after touching animals or anything in the areas where they live, roam, or eat.
    • Wash your hands after leaving animal areas, even if you didn’t touch the animals.
    • Running soap and water is best, but if not available, make sure that the sanitizer contains at least 60 percent alcohol and wash your hands with soap and running water as soon as you can.
  • Keep food and animals separate.
    • Do not eat or drink around animals.
    • Keep food and drinks away from animal areas.
    • Do not share your food with them, even if you think the food is part of their diet.
  • Do not consume raw products. Raw (unpasteurized) products made or sold at animal exhibits may include: milk, cheese, cider, or juice.
  • Always keep a watchful eye on children around animals.
    • Children 5 years or younger should not have contact with reptiles, amphibians, or live poultry because these animals are more likely to make them sick.
    • Do not let children sit or play on the ground in animal areas.
  • Leave items such as strollers, pacifiers, cups, and toys outside animal areas.

Even healthy animals can carry germs that might make visitors sick. Every year, many people get sick after visiting an animal exhibit. People have reported E.coli, cryptosporidium, and salmonella infections. Those at greatest risk of becoming ill are children 5 years and younger, people with weakened immune systems, and adults over 65 years.

For more information about the livestock competitions and petting zoo at this year’s fair, visit scstatefair.org.

DHEC Launches New Campaign Showcasing How We Are “Stronger Together”

DHEC relies on strong partnerships to realize our vision of “healthy people living in healthy communities.”

We have launched “Stronger Together,” a video series, to highlight our strategic partnerships with stakeholders throughout the Palmetto State. This campaign helps demonstrate why we as agencies, organizations, South Carolinians and state are better when we work together.

This campaign is also a continuation of our agency’s recent “We Are DHEC” series by leveraging inspirational video testimonials and stories to raise awareness about DHEC’s work in the community and illustrate our strategic plan. In addition, these spotlights will show our core values – Embracing Service, Inspiring Innovation, Promoting Teamwork and Pursing Excellence – in action.

DHEC is proud to recognize our employees and partners who help us encourage habits that lead to healthy people living in healthy communities. We truly are “Stronger Together.”

Pursuing Excellence to Enhance Food Safety at South Carolina Restaurants

To kick-start the campaign, we are spotlighting our teamwork with the South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association (SCRLA).

In 2013, DHEC started working with SCRLA on revising our Retail Food Establishments Regulations, to enhance food safety at restaurants across the state. It had been 20 years since the last update, so significant changes had to be made to bring South Carolina up to the most current food safety science.

Since then, we have partnered with the team at SCRLA every year to host informational meetings on regulation changes and food safety topics.

Sandra Craig, DHEC Director of the Division of Food and Lead Risk Assessments, enjoys talking with members of the food service industry and working with SCRLA to further promote the message of food safety in a manner that people will listen.

Douglas OFlahertyVice President of Operations for SCRLA, emphasized the importance of the partnership between SCRLA and DHEC, which allows the improvement of regulations and outlets to ensure food safety.

“It doesn’t matter how much you pay, all food should be safe,” OFlaherty said.

Our collective work to keep South Carolina’s retail food industry engaged in the regulatory process embodies DHEC’s core value of Promoting Teamwork and strategy of Education and Engagement.

 

 

DHEC In the News: Flu Season is coming, eWic expands across South Carolina, Vaping Cases Increase

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

 

Is it too early to be thinking about flu season? The CDC says no

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WLTX.com) It may still feel like summer outside, but the seasons will change in a few weeks. Influenza viruses circulate all year, but flu activity usually begins to pick up in October and peaks between December and February, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

 

eWIC cards now accepted at major stores across SC

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WLTX.com) Starting Monday, Sept. 16, all corporate stores across South Carolina will now accept eWIC cards as a form of payment for participants under the Women, Infant and Children Nutrition (WIC) program. These stores include Bi-Lo, Food Lion, Harris Teeter, Kroger, Lowes Foods, Publix, Target, and Walmart.

 

Upstate hospital system notifies DHEC of 5 possible cases of pulmonary disease from vaping

GREENVILLE, S.C. (Fox Carolina) Prisma Health-Upstate said Tuesday its doctors have notified South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) of five probably cases of severe pulmonary disease related to e-cigarette use or vaping. DHEC on Monday said there have been 2 confirmed cases in the state so far.

 

From Other Blogs: Risk Factors for Heart Disease, Emergency Preparedness Month, Food Waste Behavior

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

5 Key Risk Factors for Heart Disease

Heart disease is common among Americans. In fact, it’s the leading cause of death in the United States. The good news is there are things you can do to prevent this from happening to you. – From Flourish, Prisma Health’s blog

 

Welcome PrepTember: The Readiest Time of the Year

September is a busy month, and not just because that’s when all things pumpkin spice start showing up on store shelves and coffeehouse menus. Here are few reasons why September is possibly the busiest time of year for emergency and risk communicators, including those of us here at the Center for Preparedness and Response (CPR). – From Public Health Matters, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) blog

 

The Psychology of Food Waste: An Interview with Brian Roe and Laura Moreno

What’s the psychology behind food waste and what can we do to change our behavior? This interview features insights from Brian Roe, Professor and Faculty Lead at The Ohio State University’s Food Waste Collaborative and Laura Moreno, who received her Ph.D. studying food waste at the University of California, Berkeley. – From U.S. Department of Agriculture’s blog