Tag Archives: death

From Other Blogs: Reducing preterm births, debunking flu vaccine myths, breast cancer & more

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

Mission Possible: Reducing Disparities in Preterm Births in the United States

In 2001, a woman was transported to a Georgia hospital in preterm labor. She delivered a baby boy at 34 weeks gestation, six weeks before her due date. However, before this baby’s early birth, she was given medications to help her baby’s lungs mature more rapidly, and to slow down the labor. After her baby boy was delivered, his breathing was normal and he went home with his parents five days later. His name is Joseph, and he is my first son, born to my husband, Joe, and me.

Modern medical technology contributed to my successful preterm delivery outcome, but despite a wealth of medical resources, the United States has relatively high rates of preterm birth. Recently we’ve been losing ground in the fight to reduce preterm births, particularly among infants that are born late preterm (between 34-36 weeks gestation). — From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Conversations in Equity blog

Debunking Flu Vaccine Myths

Now is the right time to get a flu shot. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sporadic flu activity is already being reported in 42 states across the nation, including South Carolina. The flu vaccine is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from the flu. But a lot of people choose not to get it, saying it will give them flu symptoms or that it’s not worth it because doesn’t always work against all strains of the flu. In this WLTX news report, Dr. Joshua Prince of Lexington Family Medicine, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice, debunks these flu vaccine myths. — From the Lexington Medical Center blog

What you need to know about breast cancer

Did you know breast cancer affects 1 in every 8 women? This statistic might sound scary, but it probably does not come as a surprise. You can probably think of at least one person in your life who has been affected by breast cancer. The good news is the survival rate for people with breast cancer has been steadily rising since the 1990s. Julian Kim, MD, senior medical director of Oncology Services with Palmetto Health-USC Medical Group, shares information about breast cancer screenings and advancements in breast cancer treatment. — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

Workers Using Prescription Opioids and/or Benzodiazepines Can Face Safety and Health Risks

The opioid crisis that faces the nation has a great impact on workers and NIOSH has a comprehensive program to address opioids in workers. One issue of concern is workers who use prescription opioids and/or benzodiazepines for medically appropriate reasons.

Workers who use either prescription opioids or benzodiazepines or a combination of prescriptions for both of these drugs, for medical reasons, can face safety and health risks in U.S. workplaces, which employ 160 million people across all occupations [1].

Opioids treat moderate-to-severe pain, and benzodiazepine medications (sometimes called “benzos”, including diazepam and alprazolam) are sedatives often used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and other conditions [2]. In particular, patients with combined prescription use of both drugs may be more likely to become addicted or to die from an overdose [3]. — From the CDC’s NIOSH Science blog

Get Your Flu Vaccine Now. Protect Yourself. Your Family. And Your Community.

It’s flu season again. It’s recommended that you get your flu vaccine now, before the flu virus begins spreading in our community. Last year’s flu season was one of the worst we’ve seen in recent years, with a high number of deaths and hospitalizations here in South Carolina and across the nation.

Flu vaccine is the best protection against the flu. Some people are more likely to get serious complications from the flu, such as pneumonia or blood infections. This includes infants and young children, older adults, pregnant women and anyone with chronic medical conditions like asthma, heart or lung disease and diabetes. By getting your flu vaccine, it helps to protect yourself and those around you!

Everyone 6 months and older should get vaccinated every flu season. Each season a new flu vaccine is made to protect against the flu viruses for the upcoming season.

Flu vaccines are available now at all county health departments. Go to http://scdhec.gov/flu/FluClinics/ to find the location closest to you. There are programs that provide no- or low-cost flu vaccines for eligible children and adults. Call 1-855-472-3432 to make an appointment.

To find a non-DHEC flu vaccine provider, go to http://vaccinefinder.org/ to search for the location closest to you, or talk to your health care provider.

Take Extra Steps To Keep Children Safe In The Heat

During these hot days, it’s important to be sure that you keep children cool and hydrated. And NEVER leave them in a parked car, even if the windows are open.

Here are some important tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on keeping children hydrated and protected during these hot days.

  • Dress infants and children in loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Make sure they’re drinking plenty of fluids. Stay away from really cold drinks or drinks with too much sugar.
  • Children who are left unattended in parked cars are at greatest risk for heat stroke, and possibly death.
  • Even when it feels cool outside, cars can heat up to dangerous temperatures very quickly.
  • To remind yourself that a child is in the car, keep a stuffed animal in the car seat. When the child is buckled in, place the stuffed animal in the front with the driver.
  • When leaving your car, check to be sure everyone is out of the car. Do not overlook any children who have fallen asleep in the car.
  • Seek medical care immediately if your child has symptoms of heat-related illness.

Visit the CDC’s website for additional tips on how to prevent heat-related illness.

From Other Blogs: Falls in construction, Public Health Preparedness and Response National Snapshot, communities near forests & more

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

5th Annual National Stand Down to Prevent Falls in Construction

Falls remain the leading cause of death in construction. In 2016, there were 370 fall fatalities out of 991 total fatalities in construction. There were more fatal injuries in construction than any other industry in the United States in 2015, accounting for 20% of the nation’s 4,836 work-related deaths that year. — From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) NIOSH Science blog

Moving the Dial on Preparedness: CDC’s 2018 National Snapshot

Every year, CDC’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response publishessnapshot_thumb_index_2018 the Public Health Preparedness and Response National Snapshot, an annual report that highlights the work of CDC and our partners. No matter the type, size, or cause of a public health emergency, we must work together to respond to the best of our ability. — From the CDC’s Public Health Matters blog

Where Your Front Door Meets the Forest

More and more communities are now near or within forests. In fact the area where unoccupied land and human development meet has a name and it’s called the Wildland Urban Interface, or WUI.

The WUI is the most challenging area of the forest for wildland firefighters to suppress fire. Here fire transitions from trees and brush to homes and vehicles. This transition creates increased risks and costs for all involved. — From the US Department of Agriculture blog

Have it Your Way: Exploring Data on the National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network

“Have it your way.” Remember that old marketing promise from a fast food chain? In this case, rather than a hamburger, the phrase is in reference to the treasure trove of environmental and health data on CDC’s Environmental Public Health Tracking Network (Tracking Network).

There are currently 450 environment and health measures accessible in a variety of ways…which brings us back to having it your way.

As the Tracking Network has grown over the years, so has the recognition that users require a variety of ways to ask for and consume the information they are seeking from the Tracking Network.  In the same way that not everyone likes mayo and tomatoes on their hamburger, not everyone who is trying to learn about the environmental health of their community wants to access and use Tracking data in the same way. — From the CDC’s Your Health — Your Environment blog

Active flu season: A Case Study In How DHEC Works Year Round To Protect S.C.’s Health

By Lilian Peake, MD
Director, Public Health

The current flu season, one of the most active in recent years, has commanded the attention of our entire state and nation. And for good reason: The flu can be a serious threat. This contagious respiratory illness can cause mild to severe illness, with potentially serious complications resulting in hospitalization or death.dr-lilian-peake-dhec

That’s why it is so important to have a strong public health system not only working to prevent disease, but also monitoring the health and well-being of the people of South Carolina and responding as situations arise.

As South Carolina’s lead public health and environmental agency, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control is responsible for protecting and promoting the health of our community. Our public health system must be well prepared to address a variety of health threats to our citizens. These threats may be infectious diseases, such as West Nile virus, whooping cough, and flu, or disasters, such as hurricanes. DHEC employs skilled public health and environmental control professionals who work every day to improve the health of South Carolinians and maintain readiness to respond to any public health threats to our community.

DHEC public health professionals work year round to provide education and surveillance to prepare for seasonal flu as well as the threat of pandemic flu. DHEC staff collaborate with other public health professionals, health care providers and community partners each year, both before and during flu season, to help our state better respond to flu, no matter how severe the season.

Prevention is the first place to start. Getting vaccinated is the best way South Carolinians can prevent the spread of influenza. Yearly vaccination is recommended for everyone 6 months and older. DHEC provides flu vaccination at its health clinics across the state, in schools, and in other community settings. Health care providers, pharmacies and others also provide flu shots. This season DHEC was a partner in a Palmetto Health initiative to provide flu vaccine clinics in churches in the Midlands.

DHEC shares prevention messages and other information on its website and through news releases, interviews, blog posts, social media and public service announcements. This helps keep the public up-to-date on the flu season and inform them of the important steps they can take to protect themselves, their families, and vulnerable members of their community.

Monitoring (or conducting surveillance) of influenza plays an important role in understanding the spread of the flu, the severity of the season and its impact on South Carolina.  It helps detect novel influenza strains, measure the effects of influenza, determine where the flu is spreading in the state and the nation, and identify unusual clustering of cases or outbreaks. Detecting flu early in the season provides more opportunity to encourage members of high-risk groups to get vaccinated before the virus becomes widespread.

Certain influenza data are required to be reported to DHEC to allow for monitoring, including confirmed cases, hospitalizations and deaths. These data are used to produce FluWatch, a weekly summary of influenza activity in South Carolina. Outbreaks of flu in schools, child care centers, health care facilities and elsewhere must also be reported, and DHEC provides guidance to help stop the spread of influenza.

DHEC also partners with hospitals to help respond to flu. During this year’s active season, hospitals across the state put their medical surge plans into operation to successfully handle the increased number of patients. Working with hospitals and the South Carolina Hospital Association, DHEC facilitated a process in which bed availability and emergency room status were gathered daily. By working together, there was assurance that patients got the care they needed.

Such collaboration supports DHEC’s vision of healthy people living in healthy communities. It is good to know that when the public health is threatened, South Carolina is ready to respond.