DHEC in the News: West Nile, shark bites, eclipse

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

As more mosquito pools test positive for West Nile, Midlands residents advised to protect themselves

COLUMBIA, SC — State health officials reported more West Nile-positive mosquito pools in Richland County this year than all other areas of the state combined.

As of August 15, 22 virus-positive pools were found in Richland County compared to 9 each in Greenville and Beaufort counties and 2 in York County, DHEC reported on its 2017 West Nile map. More birds in this area have tested positive for the virus as well.

Area governments have announced aggressive spraying campaigns to keep mosquito populations in check but citizens are encouraged to take responsibility for their own and their family’s health.

8 confirmed shark bites this summer on Hilton Head. Why so many?

Carrie Rogiers was shocked to find out a shark was responsible for the “Freddy-Krueger-like” marks on her daughter’s left foot.

The bite came July 20 as 8-year-old Ellie, of Fort Thomas, Ky., was swimming in shallow water on Hilton Head Island’s South Forest Beach.

“Something bit me,” the child shouted as she ran from the surf.

General Interest

Could a cloudy eclipse day mean a mass exodus – and traffic nightmare – for Columbia?

COLUMBIA, SC — As hard as it is to predict what Columbia will be like for Monday’s once-in-a-lifetime total eclipse, a questionable weather forecast isn’t making it any easier.

If it’s cloudy in the capital city, it’s possible many of the tens or even hundreds of thousands of people expected in town could consider fleeing on short notice to find clearer vantage points – perhaps to the Upstate.

That could mean a “nightmare” on the roads, said Tiffany Wright, a spokeswoman for AAA Carolinas.

DHEC in the News: Immunizations, West Nile virus, new health center

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

One “Shot” for a Healthy Child Going Back to School

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) – As the little ones get ready to return to school there’s one “shot” to make sure your children stay healthy.

Wednesday (8/16) morning the South Carolina Immunization Coalition along with DHEC kicked off Vaccination Awareness Week at Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital.

Spraying starts after West Nile virus seen in South Carolina

ROCK HILL, S.C. (AP) — Officials are spraying a 1-square mile (3-sq. kilometer) area in South Carolina for mosquitoes after a West Nile virus diagnosis.

Rock Hill officials said spraying would be conducted Wednesday and end around 1 a.m. Thursday near a fire station in the southern part of the city.

General Interest

New USC Health Center is so much more than a doctor’s office

COLUMBIA, SC The four-story, 68,000-square-foot building under construction at the heart of campus over the past two years finally is done.

Vaccines aren’t just for children; everyone should get them

August is National Immunization Awareness Month and the South Carolina Legislature has designated August 14-21, 2017 as South Carolina Immunization Week.

It is important that everyone get immunized to help protect against disease and even prevent some cancers. Vaccines are recommended for everyone throughout our lives.

If you are a State Health Plan primary member, you can get vaccines to arm you against many diseases at no cost to you. The Public Employee Benefit Authority (PEBA) perk includes flu, shingles, tetanus, pneumonia, HPV shots and more. In fact, all the adult vaccines the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends for your age range, health conditions and risk factors are available at no cost to you at a network provider.

Vaccines are one of the safest ways to protect not just your own health, bu​t the health of those around you. Make sure you check with your health care provider to see which vaccines offer you your best shot at a healthy future.

For more information on what immunizations you and your family need, visit cdc.gov/vaccines.

 

DHEC in the News: West Nile virus, new operating room, Palmetto Health fine

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

Avoid mosquito bites to defend against the West Nile virus

It is mosquito season and West Nile virus has made its way to Beaufort County. Now is the time to take action to protect ourselves from becoming infected with West Nile or other mosquito-borne diseases.

Working together, we can reduce the chances of people getting the disease among the many who live, work and play in this wonderful coastal community. Every local government, business, school, neighborhood association, community organization and individual has a role to play.

OR open for business

The Williamsburg Regional Hospital (WRH) was no match for the October 2015 flood. Severe damage to key areas of the building forced administration to close her doors. Since then a temporary hospital was constructed on the same site. The facility functions as a regular hospital with the exception of an operating room. Fortunately, that changed on August 8.

“We are so excited,” said WRH CEO Sharon Poston after a final inspection of the new operating room by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).

Palmetto Health fined for mishandling hazardous waste

The Palmetto Health Richland has been fined $28,000 by DHEC for mishandling hazardous materials.

Among the violations were that hospital staff failed to keep containers holding hazardous waste closed during storage; failed to mark containers of hazardous waste; failed to maintain aisle space to allow the unobstructed movement of personnel and emergency equipment; and failed to properly keep manifests of the materials.

DHEC ordered the hospital to rectify the situations, keep proper records and institute a training program in addition to the fine.

Make no mistake: Concussions are serious injuries.

With the start of football season fast approaching, this is a good time to talk about concussions and taking precautions to prevent them. Of course, it’s not just football players who get concussions; anyone participating in a contact sport is at risk. So are cyclists who might be involved in an accident. But the injury isn’t confined to sports: For older adults, falling and automobile accidents are common causes of concussion.

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury—or TBI—caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging brain cells.

Concussions are serious.

Medical providers may describe a concussion as a “mild” brain injury because concussions are usually not life-threatening. Even so, the effects of a concussion can be serious.

Signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms generally show up soon after the injury. However, you may not know how serious the injury is at first and some symptoms may not show up for hours or days. For example, in the first few minutes your child or teen might be a little confused or a bit dazed, but an hour later your child might not be able to remember how he or she got hurt.

You should continue to check for signs of concussion right after the injury and a few days after the injury. If your child or teen’s concussion signs or symptoms get worse, you should take him or her to the emergency department right away.

Concussion signs observed:

  • Can’t recall events prior toor after a hit or fall.
  • Appears dazed or stunned.
  • Forgets an instruction, is confused about an assignment or position, or is unsure of the game, score, or opponent.
  • Moves clumsily.
  • Answers questions slowly.
  • Loses consciousness (even briefly).
  • Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes.

Concussion symptoms reported:

  • Headache or “pressure” in head.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Balance problems or dizziness, or double or blurry vision.
  • Bothered by light or noise.
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy.
  • Confusion, or concentration or memory problems.
  • Just not “feeling right,” or “feeling down”.

HEADS UP

HEADS UP Concussion prevention program is a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-sponsored program that works to provide trainings and resources centered on concussion prevention in youth sports and activities for children of all ages. Keeping children and teens healthy and safe is always a top priority. Whether parent, youth sports coach, school coach, school professional, or health care provider, the CDC’s HEADS UP website will help you recognize, respond to, and minimize the risk of concussion or other serious brain injury.

For more information on HEADS UP, visit the CDC website.