Tag Archives: bacteria

DHEC in the News: Free colon cancer screenings, Charleston floodwaters, bird rookery study

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

South Carolina program provides free colon cancer screenings for uninsured

One group is trying to prevent deaths in South Carolina from the second leading cause of cancer deaths for both men and women in the nation.

The Center for Colon Cancer Research (CCCR) at the University of South Carolina offers free screenings for those who are uninsured and medically uninsured, and Tracie Lewis said it helps save lives.

“Colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable diseases through early detection,” said Lewis, CCCR community outreach director. “We know through screening we can detect and prevent colorectal cancer or diagnosis it early.”

Filthy Floods – Charleston floodwaters are crawling with unsafe levels of poop bacteria

Many downtown Charleston streets become filthy Petri-dishes of bacteria in flooding rains, with fecal levels dozens of times above safe limits, according to a Post and Courier analysis and research by College of Charleston.

During the drenching rainstorm June 8, the newspaper sampled eight streets on peninsular Charleston for fecal coliforms, a common measure of human and animal waste. Targeted areas included streets near schools, stores and hospitals.

Analyzed immediately by Trident Labs in Ladson, a certified lab, these samples showed dangerously high levels of fecal bacteria on Charleston’s East Side.

General Interest
Charleston Harbor bird rookery to be studied for silting Shem Creek

The shifting sands of Crab Bank won’t stand still, and neither will the town of Mount Pleasant.

The town will commit as much as $100,000 to study whether the renourishment sand that washes from the shore bird rookery in Charleston Harbor would block the mouth of nearby Shem Creek — the town’s valuable commercial fishing hub, tourist destination and restaurant row.

DHEC in the News: HIV prevention, swimming advisory, vaccines

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

North Charleston HIV prevention group is reaching at-risk with free testing

A North Charleston HIV testing group recently began driving a van filled with blood tests, condoms and literature to a homeless shelter, a gay bar and local churches.

Despite the difference in these settings, the recently rebranded Palmetto Community Care is targeting each of the populations at these locations by offering HIV and hepatitis C tests outside the clinic’s walls.

Temporary swimming advisory issued in Myrtle Beach, DHEC says

Some sections of the beach in Myrtle Beach have been placed under a swimming advisory after high levels of bacteria were detected, the Department of Health and Environmental Control reported.

General Interest
Opting out of vaccines leaves these US ‘hot spots’ most vulnerable for outbreaks

(CNN)A number of American states and metropolitan “hot spots” are vulnerable to outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease, new research suggests. The reason? Children whose parents opted out of vaccination.

The risk of outbreaks is rising in 12 of the 18 states that permit nonmedical exemptions from childhood vaccinations, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS Medicine. Those states are Arkansas, Arizona, Idaho, Maine, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Utah.

From Other Blogs: Handwashing and food, arthritis, preparing for a hurricane or tropical storm & more

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

Give Yourself a Hand!

“Clean vs. dirty” is a concept that seems easy enough to understand. You know your jeans are dirty when they get grass stains on them, because you can easily see the stains. Seeing bacteria on your food is a different story. All foodborne bacteria are microscopic and can’t be seen with the naked eye, making it difficult to know if your foods have been cross-contaminated. Bacteria may come into contact with our foods from contaminated cooking equipment, utensils and even our hands. According to the 2016 FDA Food Safety Survey (PDF, 530 KB) Americans are doing well to prevent cross contamination from some common sources, but not all. — From the US Department of Agriculture blog

Five common myths about arthritis

More than 50 million Americans are affected by arthritis, a painful and often debilitating condition that limits quality of life. Arthritis is defined as inflammation involving a joint and is characterized by joint pain, stiffness, swelling and decreased range of motion. Some forms are also associated with damage to the heart, eyes, lungs, kidneys and skin. It is the leading cause of disability in the United States and accounts for 172 million missed days of work, translating to $165 billion in lost wages and medical bills. — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

UTI symptoms all women should know

Urinary tract infections are one of the most frequent clinical bacterial infections in women, according to the National Institutes of Health.

“If you are a woman, chances are you will have at least one urinary tract infection (UTI) during your lifetime,” said Katie Schill, nurse practitioner with Palmetto Health’s Mobile Clinic. “UTIs do not just afflict women. Men can develop UTIs as well, just not as commonly. And contrary to some belief, a UTI is not a reflection on one’s hygiene.” — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

Preparing for a Hurricane or a Tropical Storm

You can’t stop a tropical storm or hurricane, but you can take steps now to protect you and your family.

If you live in areas at risk, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages you to begin preparing for hurricane season. The Atlantic hurricane season is June 1 through November 30 each year. — From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Your Health — Your Environment blog

Women: Take Time for Self-Care. You’re Worth It!

My late grandmother, Ms. Anne E. Larkins, was an accomplished elementary school principal and teacher when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in the spring of 1983. In her typical solutions-focused way, she sought to understand the disease and how best to manage it. She modeled steps a cancer survivor must take to live a longer, healthier life. — From the CDC’s The Topic Is Cancer blog

Have a safe and fun-filled summer

The weather is heating up, children are fast moving toward the final days of school and visions of summer fun are dancing in the heads of families all across South Carolina. Have fun, but be careful.

While Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial beginning of cookout season and summer fun, significant health and safety hazards are lurking out there that can spoil a good time if we’re not safe.

Stay safe when swimming

Memorial weekend typically brings with it the openings of swimming pools and other outdoor water activities. Swimming in an ocean or pool is an excellent outdoor activity for the whole family and it’s important to make sure everyone is equipped with sunscreen to protect themselves from harmful, burning ultraviolet (UV) rays. Practicing sun safety plays an important role in the prevention of skin cancer, the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States. Apply broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15 before going outdoors. Reapply sunscreen if it wears off after swimming, sweating or toweling off.

Protect yourself from insect bites

Sunscreen isn’t all you should arm yourself with: Use an insect repellent containing Deet to protect your family from insects while outdoors.  The repellent is safe and, when used as directed, is the best way to protect against mosquito bites, ticks and other biting insects; children and pregnant women should protect themselves also. The bite of insects such as mosquitoes can potentially do more than cause irritating itching; mosquitoes can also transmit diseases such as West Nile and Zika.

Watch out for rip currents

It’s also important to be knowledgeable about rip currents or rip tides at the beach. Rip currents are responsible for many deaths on our nation’s beaches every year and can occur in any body of water that has breaking waves, not just the ocean. Currents at the beach can move to different locations along the coast and can be deadly both to swimmers and those in waist deep water where the rip current occurs. Be sure to check in with lifeguards, who can alert you to areas that have rip current potential.

Here are some more tips to keep you and your family safe and healthy at the beach or pool:

  • Always supervise children when in or around water.
  • Dress in loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing if it is hot outside. Stay cool with cool showers or baths. Seek medical care immediately if anyone has symptoms of heat-related illness, including a headache, nausea, dizziness, heavy sweating, and an elevated body temperature.iStock_51595250_XXLARGE cute kids swim class
  • Stay hydrated. Your body loses fluids through sweat. Drink more water than usual — two to four cups of water every hour you are outside. Also, try to avoid alcohol intake to prevent dehydration.
  • Cover up. Clothing that covers your skin helps protect against UV rays. Be sure to apply sunscreen to exposed skin.
  • Be aware of swim and water quality advisories and avoid swimming in those areas.
  • Do not enter the water with cuts, open sores or lesions; naturally-occurring bacteria in the water may cause infection.
  • Do not swim in or allow children to play in swashes of water or near storm water drainage pipes. These shallow pools are caused by runoff from paved surfaces and often contain much higher levels of bacteria and pollutants than the ocean. Permanent water quality advisories are indicated by signs in these areas.
  • Do not swim in the ocean during or immediately following rainfall. Heavy rain can wash bacteria and possibly harmful pollutants into the surf. To reduce the risk of illness, wait at least 12 hours after a heavy rain to resume swimming.
  • Be sure to check your local news and weather forecast for information on heat and beach advisories before planning any type of outdoor activities.

From Other Blogs: Vaccination and cancer, ALS, Winter Olympics & more

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

Vaccination Nation: A Real Shot at Preventing Cancer

Suppose someone tells you there are quick, easy ways to help keep people from getting some kinds of cancer. Would you believe it?

Luckily, you can. You already know vaccines stop you from getting dangerous diseases from bacteria and viruses. You don’t even realize you have some viruses because they may not cause any symptoms. But a few of them can lead to cancer if left untreated. — From The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) The Topic Is Cancer blog

National ALS Biorepository – A Component of the National ALS Registry

The National ALS Biorepository is a component of the National ALS Registry that will increase the number of biological samples from persons with ALS available for research.  These samples, along with the extensive epidemiologic data collected by the National ALS Registry, are a valuable resource in the fight to identify the causes of ALS. — From the CDC’s Your Health — Your Environment blog

Traveling to South Korea for the Olympics? Bring Back Great Memories, Not a Pest or Disease

The Winter Olympics begin shortly in South Korea, bringing us two weeks of incredible athletic performances. While many of us will watch the games from our TVs, computers or phones, some lucky individuals will travel to witness the games in person. And when traveling, people often bring back items as souvenirs or as gifts for those of us at home. If you are traveling to the Olympics (or anywhere outside the country), keep in mind there are rules about agricultural products being brought into the U.S. — From the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) blog

USDA Agencies Band Together to Assist Producers Impacted by 2017 Hurricanes

Just as families, friends and communities came together to respond to damages that occurred during the hurricanes of 2017, so did government agencies.

When hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria made landfall, the Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Risk Management Agency (RMA), Rural Development (RD), and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) worked together, along with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other intergovernmental groups, to provide information and recovery resources to agricultural producers who experienced losses. — From the USDA blog