Tag Archives: diseases

DHEC in the News: Fireworks safety, mosquitoes

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

The reality of fireworks on the Fourth

You’ve heard the message for years. And it’s been ignored for years: Fireworks are dangerous and should only be used in supervised situations.

An estimated 7,600 of the total 11,000 fireworks-related injuries from two summers ago were treated in hospital emergency departments during the period between June 18 and July 18, 2016, according to a report by the Consumer Products Safety Commission and its National Electronic Injury Surveillance System.

This July 4th many Americans and South Carolinians will continue the long tradition of lighting up the night with fireworks. While the displays are visually compelling, people should put safety first.

Columbia Fire Dept. offers 4th of July fireworks safety tips

COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) – The Columbia Fire Department wants you to have a safe and fun 4th of July, but they’re also stressing the importance of staying safe.

“Fireworks are exciting to see this time of year, but they are dangerous when misused not only for the operator but also for bystanders and nearby structures,” said Bengie Leverett, Public Fire Education Officer at Columbia-Richland Fire Rescue. “Everyone is urged to use extreme precaution when using the devices.”

Lowcountry mosquitoes deadlier than sharks? 4 tips you need to know about bug spray

Mosquitoes — along with their fiendish neighbors no-see-ums — can make being outdoors in the Lowcountry unpleasant.

That’s not to mention the diseases mosquitoes can transmit via their bites, such as West Nile and Eastern equine encephalitis viruses, both of which were recorded in South Carolina in 2017, according to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

DHEC in the News: Fireworks safety tips, insect-borne diseases, most-Googled health problems by state

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

DHEC offers July 4th Fireworks Safety Tips

COLUMBIA, S.C. – This July 4th many Americans and South Carolinians will continue the long tradition of lighting up the night with fireworks. While the displays are visually compelling, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control is urging everyone to put safety first if they are participating in any firework activities.

These insect-borne diseases are on the rise. Greenville County can help you prevent them.

West Nile virus, Lyme disease and even plague are among the many diseases spread to people by mosquitoes, ticks and fleas, and nationwide the number of these illnesses tripled between 2004 and 2016.

What’s more, nine new insect-borne infections were identified or introduced in the country during that time, according to the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

With summer bringing more time outdoors at backyard picnics, camping in the forest and lounging by the lake, the potential for getting one of these infections increases.

General Interest

The most-Googled health problems by state
The medical condition U.S. patients Googled most frequently in 2018 was attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, with nine states searching for this condition more than any other health concern, a report from Medicare Health Plans found. …

Here are the most-Googled health problems by state for this year …

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.

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.

Beware of ticks; they can spread diseases

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging people to be on the lookout for ticks and the diseases they can spread.

May through July is when people get more tick bites and tick-borne diseases than any other time of year in the United States, according to the CDC. The CDC suggests making preventing tick bites a part of your plans when gardening, camping, hiking, or just enjoying the outdoors.

Ticks cause Lyme disease, other illnesses

Ticks could be in the areas where we live, work and play; infected ticks can carry diseases, such as Lyme disease.

Lyme disease is spread by the bite of an infected tick. In the United States, an estimated 300,000 infections occur each year. If you camp, hike, work, or play in wooded or grassy places, you could be bitten by an infected tick. Typical symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, headache, fatigue, and a skin rash. If left untreated, the infection can spread to joints, the heart and the nervous system. Patients treated with appropriate antibiotics, such as doxycycline or amoxicillin, in the early stages of Lyme disease usually recover rapidly and completely.

The ticks that transmit Lyme disease can occasionally transmit other tick-borne diseases as well.
The CDC reports that people living in or visiting New England, the mid-Atlantic states, and the upper Midwest are at greatest risk. Infected ticks can also be found in neighboring states and in some areas of Northern California, Oregon and Washington.

Take steps to protect against ticks

Taking steps to protect yourself and your family from getting a tick bite is the best defense against Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections. The CDC recommends that people:

  • Avoid areas with high grass and leaf litter; walk in the center of trails when hiking.
  • Use repellent that contains 20 percent or more DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 on exposed skin.
  • Use products that contain permethrin to treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents or look for clothing pre-treated with permethrin.
  • Treat dogs for ticks, using tick collars, sprays, shampoos, etc. Dogs are very susceptible to tick bites and accompanying diseases, and could bring ticks inside.
  • Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming inside to wash off and find ticks before they bite.