Tag Archives: disease

DHEC in the News: Flu, opioids, coastal floods

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

Has the flu loosened its grip in SC? Here’s what the numbers say

It seems the worst has finally passed in regard to flu activity in South Carolina.

Widespread in the Palmetto State for the past 10 weeks, S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control officials now believe the illness is present only on a regional basis.

Opioid prescribing limits to be imposed in South Carolina

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) – The South Carolina Medicaid Agency and BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina will limit how many opioids doctors can prescribe to patients in some cases.

This comes after Gov. Henry McMaster issued an executive order in December establishing an emergency response team to battle the opioid crisis in South Carolina.

General Interest

Coastal floods to be nearly as common as high tides in South Carolina within 80 years, NOAA says

Tidal flooding is accelerating along the South Carolina coast, including at Charleston, federal researchers say. The coast might flood nearly every day by the turn of the century almost 80 years from now.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report is the latest in a series of alerts which forecast worsening conditions for South Carolina and the East Coast as seas and storm-surge rise.

Keeping watch over flu activity is critical to limiting its damage

Flu seasons such as the one South Carolina and the nation have been enduring reminds us why it is so important to monitor flu activity.

Severe flu seasons can be devastating, and even milder influenza seasons cause missed work and school time, hospitalizations and deaths.

Keeping an eye on diseases

Each year, DHEC and U.S. public health experts monitor influenza and other diseases. This activity is called disease surveillance.

Surveillance of influenza plays a big role in understanding the spread of the disease, as well as the severity of potential epidemics. Although surveillance can tell us the trend of influenza illness in South Carolina, it cannot tell us exactly how many cases of flu there are in the state.  This is because not everyone who gets the flu goes to the doctor to get tested, and we have no way of monitoring unreported cases of flu.

Flu surveillance allows DHEC and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to see what impact flu is having on the health of residents. In South Carolina, influenza surveillance consists of several components. Each component provides different types of information about influenza; together, they create a solid overview of influenza activity in the state.

The benefits of surveillance

Surveillance helps us to:

  • Understand which new flu viruses are circulating in South Carolina (The types of influenza virus that infect people often change from one flu season to the next.);
  • Establish when the influenza virus first appears in the state and also when it decreases;
  • Determine where in the state the influenza virus is circulating; and
  • Understand what types of vaccines are most likely to succeed the following year.

DHEC produces a weekly summary of reported influenza activity in South Carolina in a report called Flu Watch. Visit the DHEC website for more information and the latest update of Flu Watch. Also, visit the CDC’s website for national statistics on flu.

Protect yourself

DHEC and CDC recommend that everyone 6 months and older get the flu vaccine, because it is the best way to combat the flu. It is also important to take other preventive actions, such as limiting contact with sick people and washing your hands frequently.

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

DHEC in the News: World Aids Day and ‘Ending Epidemics’, free health screenings for women, hurricane season

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

S.C. focuses on ‘Ending Epidemics’

During the early years of the epidemic in the 1980s, AIDS was a death sentence. Across the globe, the disease has claimed an estimated 36 million people in the years since. …

Friday marks World AIDS Day, an international public health campaign promoting awareness of HIV and AIDS prevention and research. …

Toward a unified approach in battling HIV/AIDS and related issues, South Carolina government agencies, private-sector organizations, the faith community, public health professionals and others are coming together for a World AIDS Day event at 6 p.m. Thursday on the north steps of the Statehouse in Columbia.

During the event, officials will unveil a new statewide campaign – “Ending the Epidemics” – that will highlight the need for integrated prevention and care approaches designed to end the HIV/AIDS, STD, Hepatitis C and opioid epidemics.

Tri-County Health Network offers free health screenings to women

The Tri-County Health Network and the Regional Medical Center will offer free WiseWOMAN™ health screenings and lifestyle education to 160 women ages 40 – 64 years old from 2 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 10, at RMC Urgent Care, Santee, 111 John Lawson Ave.

The WiseWOMAN™ (Well-Integrated Screening and Evaluation for WOMen Across the Nation) health screening aims to help low-income women reduce their risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. The screening will include bloodwork, and all patients will be referred for follow-up care with a RMC Primary Care provider.

General Interest
South Carolina could face worse after horrific hurricane season

HANAHAN — Carlos Borrego stresses every time he hears a gust. The drumming of a generator gives him a headache.

Little more than a month ago, he was at his in-laws’ home in the Puerto Rico mountains near San Juan when the 150 mph winds of Hurricane Maria tore the town to splinters. The destruction — to the homes, the trees, the roads, the bridges — was so massive he couldn’t leave for days.

He finally joined his wife, Niurka, and daughter, Adriana, two weeks ago in their new Hanahan home. Told that Hurricane Hugo made landfall here in 1989 with winds nearly as strong, he is startled. Borrego was a child when that storm also lashed Puerto Rico.

“Hugo? Here?” he says in disbelief.

DHEC in the News: Fighting disease with data, Prescription Drug Take Back Day, 911 Center of the Year

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

Fighting disease with data

South Carolina has one of the highest rates of new HIV infections in the country, and national estimates show that up to half of HIV-positive individuals don’t continue regular medical care after diagnosis.

Without consistent medical supervision, HIV patients remain infectious and often have dire health outcomes. But two Arnold School of Public Health professors and an interdisciplinary team from the University of South Carolina have a plan to help turn the tide in the ongoing campaign to reduce HIV infections in South Carolina and make medical care more responsive for those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.

Proper drug disposal more vital than ever

Leaders have declared the abuse of opioid drugs as emergencies from the national to state levels. No community is immune.

Prescription opioid overdoses were involved in the deaths of 550 South Carolinians in 2016, underscoring the dangers of prescription drug abuse. …

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control is encouraging people to drop off unused, expired or unwanted prescription drugs at locations around the state participating in the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Oct. 28.

Florence County 911/Central Dispatch named SC Center of the Year

FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WPDE) —  Florence County 911/Central Dispatch was named the 911 Center of the Year at the annual SC APCO/NENA Conference on Friday, October 20.

“This award really means a lot to us this year,” Mitch Fulmore, Florence County Central Dispatch Manager said in a news release.