Category Archives: Public Health

DHEC In the News:  How to check for swim advisories, SC cancer deaths declining, and DHEC grants extension for acute care hospital

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

Is there a swim advisory at your beach destination?: Here’s how to check

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WYFF4.com) Are you headed to the beach one more time before summer ends? You might want to check to see if there is a swimming advisory in effect for your beach destination.

 

Report:  Cancer deaths decline in South Carolina, though issues persist

LEXINGTON, S.C. (Lexingtonsunnews.com) Though issues persist in minority populations and rural communities, the overall death rate from cancer in South Carolina is on the decline, according to a report by the S.C. Cancer Alliance (SCCA) and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).

 

DHEC grants Trident Medical 9-month extension for expansion project

BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (Counton2.com) The South Carolina Department of Health is granting Trident Health a second nine-month extension of a certificate of need for a new 50-bed acute care hospital in Moncks Corner.

 

From Other Blogs: Insulated Lunch Bags for Food Safety, Health Tips for Emergencies, Breastfeeding for Cancer Prevention

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

Use an Insulated Lunch Bag to Keep Meals Safe

No matter your age, the end of summer is also a time of beginnings.  This means a new school year, new episodes of your favorite TV show and the start of football season.  Students, sports fans and outdoor enthusiasts all have one thing in common:  packed lunches.  – From U.S. Department of Agriculture’s blog

 

Good as Gold Prep Your Health Tips for All Seasons

Some things just age well:  jeans, wine, flannel sheets, and The Golden Girls.  That’s right, a 1980s sitcom about four single, women living, loving, and laughing together in Miami.  It lasted just 180 episodes.  Since going off the air in 1992, however, the show has regained some of its luster.

– From Public Health Matters, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Blog

 

Breastfeeding for Cancer Prevention

Did you know that breastfeeding can lower a mother’s risk for some cancers?  We are going to talk about the connection between breastfeeding and cancer prevention in honor of World Breastfeeding Week, an annual celebration the first week of August that recognizes global action to support women in their efforts to breastfeed. – From The Topic is Cancer, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Blog

Local Hospital Acknowledged by DHEC Newborn Screening Program for Becoming Champions of Satisfactory Dried Blood Spot Collection

Newborn screening is a state public health service intended to identify infants who may be at an increased risk of certain disorders. Many consider newborn screening the most successful public health program in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) listed newborn screening as one of the 10 great public health achievements of the last decade.*

The term “newborn screening” refers to the collective group of conditions screened at birth including dried blood spot, hearing, and Critical Congenital Heart Disease (CCHD). Our focus for this post is on Newborn Screening dried blood spots.

Every infant born in South Carolina is screened for unexpected medical conditions by collecting a blood sample, or blood spot specimen, from the infant’s heel 24 to 48 hours after birth. Five blood spots are obtained from approximately 57,000 infants born in South Carolina every year. Once dried and packaged, those blood spots are sent to the South Carolina Public Health Laboratory, where they are assessed for proper testing criteria also known as a satisfactory specimen collection.

If the laboratory deems the collection as unsatisfactory, those specimens are rejected, and the lab is unable to test for more than 50 disorders that are identifiable during the newborn period. Many of these disorders are time-critical or life-threatening. A repeat specimen is then requested, and a pediatrician, hospital, or health department is tasked with recollecting the specimen. This process can lead to a critical time delay of identifying an infant with a time critical disorder, timely diagnosis and treatment. Getting it right the first time, every time is important for all babies born in South Carolina.

 

In June 2019, the Newborn Screening Program, along with partners from the South Carolina Hospital Association (SCHA), traveled to McLeod Health Clarendon in Manning, SC. This recent visit was to recognize the hospital staff for achieving 100% satisfactory blood spot specimens in 2018. When the nurse manager, Debi, received a call from DHEC to acknowledge her facility’s accomplishment, she was pleasantly surprised. She revealed that her staff began to champion their newborn screening blood spot collection after attending the DHEC “First Time, Every Time” dried blood spot collection training workshop.

The processes implemented after the training guided them along a journey for success. Here is what Debi had to say: “I could not be prouder of my diligent and conscientious Women’s Services team at McLeod Health Clarendon; they truly exemplify our mission of providing excellence in healthcare! We would also like to thank the SC DHEC newborn screening team for making such a positive impact in the health care of all South Carolina newborns!” -Debi Love-Ballard, R.N., Director of McLeod Health Clarendon’s Women and Infant Services.

DHEC Group Pic for Newborn Screening Awards

McLeod Health Clarendon was the only South Carolina hospital to accomplish the goal of 100% satisfactory bloodspot specimen collection in 2018.  Approximately 400 infants received their results in a timely manner without experiencing a repeat collection process.

Congratulations McLeod Health Clarendon. Their impact on the babies born in their community is a true representation of DHEC’s vision of Healthy People, Healthy Communities in South Carolina.

For more information about newborn screening, visit https://scdhec.gov/health-professionals/lab-certification-services/newbornscreening and https://www.babysfirsttest.org/.

* Koppaka, R Ten great public health achievements – United States, 2001–2010. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly. Rep. 2011;60(19):619–623

Prepare Your Child Before School Starts: New Changes in Vaccination Recommendations for the 2019-2020 School Year

The new school year is around the corner. Now is the time to schedule your child’s annual checkup with their primary care provider. Make sure your child is up-to-date with all recommended vaccinations.

We encourage you to speak with your child’s doctor about all recommended age-appropriate vaccines.  South Carolina students in grades 5K to 12 in both public and private schools must be up-to-date on the following shots based on their grade level:

  • Hepatitis B
  • Polio
  • Varicella (chickenpox)
  • DTaP (tetanus, whooping cough)
  • MMR (measles, mumps, rubella)
  • Tdap (whooping cough booster required before 7th grade)

“Unfortunately, vaccine-preventable diseases, such as chicken pox, whooping cough, mumps and measles still affect many children in South Carolina,” said Dr. Teresa Foo, DHEC Immunization Division medical consultant. “Up-to-date vaccinations are the best protection for our children against these diseases.”

You can also get your child’s vaccines at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) health departments. Call 855.472.3432 to schedule an appointment. For more information about school-related vaccinations, visit:  https://scdhec.gov/health/vaccinations/childcare-school-vaccine-requirements.

Cancer on the Decline in South Carolina

A recent report by the South Carolina Cancer Alliance (SCCA) and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC) announced that cancer mortality rates in South Carolina have declined by 17.6% in the past 20 years.  According to the report, the most prevalent cancers in our state are: lung cancer, melanoma (skin cancer), breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and prostate cancer.

Cancer specialists contribute the decline in cancer mortality rates to primary prevention strategies such as decreasing the prevalence of smoking, early detection and improved cancer treatments.

Although specific risk factors are relative to specific types of cancers, general risk factors include:

  • tobacco usage,
  • being overweight, and
  • an unbalanced diet.

It is important to understand that although cancer mortality rates have declined, health disparities still exist among minority populations and in rural communities. More than 26,000 people are diagnosed with an invasive cancer and nearly 10,000 people die from cancer each year.

“We are moving in the right direction for a state our size, but we are still behind the rest of the country,” said Dr. Gerald Wilson, chair of the South Carolina Cancer Alliance. “The best course of action people can take is to speak with their doctors about cancer screenings and lifestyle changes.”

Key findings from the report include:

  • Lung cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in South Carolina and ranks 1st for cancer deaths.
  • The rate of all cancers in women increased by 5.5%.
  • The death rate for black women with breast cancer is 43.5% higher than for white women.
  • Skin cancer increases of 21.2% among white men and 24.6% among white women mirror national trends.
  • The death rate for black men with prostate cancer is three times higher than white men.

For more information or to view the full report, visit:  https://www.sccancer.org/media/1348/20-year-cancer-report_spread-w-bleed.pdf.