DHEC in the News: Flu, West Nile, Narcan

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

DHEC to start offering flu vaccines Monday

Now is a good time to get a flu shot, according to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Beginning Monday, DHEC county public health departments will begin offering the flu vaccine.

It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the antibodies to develop in the body that protect against the flu, Dr. Teresa Foo, DHEC immunization medical consultant, said in a statement.

Richland County facing most active West Nile season in more than a decade

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – The most active West Nile season in at least half a decade – maybe even more than a decade – is how the director of Richland County Vector Control describes 2017 in her county.

“This has been the most intense activity since it arrived here in around 2003,” said Tammy Brewer, the director.

Wednesday, the county office put out an urgent plea to citizens. West Nile is out there, so protect yourself.

Officers being armed with life-saving drug

From a routine traffic stop to medical emergency in someone’s home, law enforcement officers are confronted with deadly drugs routinely.

“The drugs are more prominent on the street,” Mt. Pleasant Chief of Police, Carl Ritchie, explained.  “It can kill an officer by just touching it.”

That’s why Chief Ritchie says the Town of Mt. Pleasant approved police to carry nasal spray Narcan this week.

SC Plants The Seed: A Marriage Between Nutrition And Literacy

Plant the right seed and good things will grow. That’s the goal of SC Plants the Seed,  multi-component, library based intervention program that was developed to improve nutrition access and literacy, among low-income families.

Program driven by partnership

SC Plants the Seed is a partnership between DHEC (SNAP-Ed), the SC State Library, and the SC Department of Social Services.  The program currently integrates activities within four components: nutrition education, increasing access of fresh produce, USDA Summer Food Service Program, and literacy.

A summer of nutrition and reading

Once a month at the Bishopville and Pelion libraries and weekly at the Orangeburg Library, local farmers were invited to set up a farm-stand to give patrons the opportunity to purchase local farm fresh produce.  One of the goals was promoting the Healthy Bucks Program, the SCDSS farmers market incentive.  The program also set out to make it more accessible for SNAP, WIC, and Seniors Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) participants to redeem their vouchers.  Persons on SNAP could spend $5 in EBT and receive an additional $10, which only can be used with a local authorized farmer.FreshFruitVeggies

Not only did patrons have the opportunity to purchase produce but the SNAP-Ed program conducted food demonstrations and provided recipe samples prepared with the farmer’s local produce. They were also able to learn and ask about how to select, prepare, and store produce and find out what is in season.

At each event, every child received a free book, by a grant provided by the State Library, and there were arts and crafts activities. The Lee County Library in Bishopville served free meals at each event for children under 18 years of age through the USDA Summer Food Service program.

The farms and libraries that participated

The local farms that participated in the program were Martin Farms of North, SC; Rogers Vegetable Farm of Sumter, SC; and Beason Farms of Pelion, SC.  The host libraries for the summer of 2017 were Lee County Library in Bishopville, Orangeburg County Public Library-Main branch, and the Lexington County Library-Pelion Branch. The program was implemented in conjunction with each library’s summer reading programs.

SC Plants the Seed will return in the summer of 2018!

DHEC in the News: Flu, Clemson’s solar-powered mobile health clinic, minimizing breast cancer risks

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

You should get a flu shot now, SC health officials say; here’s where you can go

As the temperature dips in York, Lancaster and Chester counties, it’s time to get a flu vaccination, say experts with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).

According to DHEC and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vaccinations are recommended annually for everyone six months or older. Those who are older than 50, pregnant or have chronic medical conditions such as asthma or heart disease are at an increased risk of complications from influenza, according to DHEC.

Clemson’s mobile health clinic powered by the sun

The mission of Clemson University’s new mobile health clinic is to improve the health of the underserved community while providing a teaching experience for public health students.

But as “the world’s first 100-percent solar powered clinic,” it’s also tasked with improving the environment.

The specially designed 23-by-16-foot truck is outfitted with eight solar panels on the roof that charge the entire clinic, eliminating polluting exhaust fumes and noise, said health extension agent Logan McFall.

Healthy eating, exercise help women minimize breast cancer risks

In my role as a breast imaging physician, I am asked frequently what increases my patients’ breast cancer risk. … Although many factors are not in a woman’s control, adopting as healthy a lifestyle as possible is the common sense approach for women’s breast health.

Chocolate Milk and Canned Goods Now WIC-Approved!

By La’Keisha Coker, MS, RD, LD
Food Package Coordinator
Division of WIC Services

The WIC food package provides supplemental foods designed to meet the special nutritional needs of low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, non-breastfeeding postpartum women, infants and children up to 5 years of age who are at nutritional risk.

The new WIC food package went into effect October 1, 2017, and there are some exciting new additions in South Carolina!

Chocolate Milk:

  • One gallon of milk can be exchanged for one gallon of chocolate milk each month for women and children age 2-5
  • Gallon size only
  • Lowest cost

Canned Fruits:

  • Any variety of canned fruits, including applesauce, juice pack or water pack without added sugars, fats, oils or salt
  • Fruit must be listed as the first ingredient

Canned Vegetables:

  • Any variety of canned or frozen vegetables without added sugars, fats or oils
  • Vegetable must be listed as the first ingredient
  • May be regular or lower in sodium

The full South Carolina WIC Food Guide may be found here.

DHEC in the News: EMS services, hospital award, recreational shellfish season

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

Counties balance time, money in EMS services

When an emergency occurs, any wait is too long.

That’s why county officials say they need to keep fully staffed emergency medical services operations. But it’s getting harder.

Carolinas Hospital System recognized for patient safety record

FLORENCE, SC – Carolinas Hospital System has earned four South Carolina “Certified Zero Harm Award” from the South Carolina Hospital Association (SCHA). The award is in recognition of the facility’s exemplary performance for patient safety in preventing hospital acquired infections.

Recreational shellfish season delayed until Oct. 15

South Carolina’s recreational shellfish harvesting season has been delayed for two weeks because of Hurricane Irma’s impact on coastal water quality.