Tag Archives: drugs

Leading Health Experts Emphasize Five Effective Ways To Prevent Birth Defects

Every 4 ½ minutes a baby is born with a birth defect in the United States. It doesn’t have to be that common. That’s why DHEC is joining with leading prenatal health experts from the National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Academy of Pediatrics, the March of Dimes, Teratology Society and MotherToBaby this month to increase awareness of five critical tips to reduce the chances of having a baby with a birth defect.

The National Birth Defects Prevention Month campaign theme, Best for You. Best for Baby,” aims to raise awareness about the infants born with birth defects in South Carolina each year. In 2017, 1,142 infants were identified by the SC Birth Defects Program as having a birth defect. While we can’t prevent all birth defects, the following steps increase a woman’s chance of having a healthy baby.

  1. Be sure to take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day.
  • Folic acid is very important because it can help prevent some major birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine.
  1. Book a visit with your healthcare provider before stopping or starting any medicine.
  • There are often benefits to continuing treatment throughout pregnancy. Discussing a treatment plan before a pregnancy allows a woman and her health care provider to weigh the pros and cons of all options to keep mom and baby as healthy as possible.
  1. Become up-to-date with all vaccines, including the flu shot.
  • Having the right vaccinations, like the flu and Tdap vaccines, at the right time during pregnancy can help keep a woman and her baby healthy.
  1. Before you get pregnant, try to reach a healthy weight.
  • Obesity increases the risk for several serious birth defects and other pregnancy complications.
  1. Boost your health by avoiding harmful substances during pregnancy, such as alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
  • There is no known safe amount of alcohol that can be consumed during pregnancy and exposure to it can cause major birth defects.
  • Smoking during pregnancy can cause dangerous chemicals to damage the placenta and/or reach the baby’s bloodstream.
  • The opioid addiction epidemic has led to a sharp increase in Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), premature birth and drug withdrawal in developing babies.

According to Jason Salemi, PhD, MPH and president of the NBDPN, “Birth defects are a common cause of death in the first year of a baby’s life, but change happens through awareness.”

 How You Can Help

 DHEC encourages health advocates as well as the public to be an active participant in National Birth Defects Prevention Month. Follow and share #Best4YouBest4Baby messages on social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin. The complete 2019 NBDPN Birth Defects Prevention Month information packet, including this year’s primary tips for birth defects prevention, “Best for You. Best for Baby. 5 Tips for Preventing Birth Defects,” is available online at: www.nbdpn.org/bdpm.php.

Additional Resources to Support Healthy Pregnancies

 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) strives to advance the health and well-being of our nation’s most vulnerable populations.

www.cdc.gov/birthdefects

 American Academy of Pediatrics

Dedicated to the health of all children, providing age-specific health information.

www.healthychildren.org

 MotherToBaby, a free service of the non-profit Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS)

Communicate directly with experts about exposures, like medications, vaccines and more during pregnancy and breastfeeding by calling toll free (866) 626-6847, texting questions to (855) 999-3525, live chatting or emailing at

www.MotherToBaby.org

The Teratology Society

An international and multidisciplinary group of scientists, including researchers, clinicians, epidemiologists and public health professionals from academia, government and industry who study birth defects, reproduction and disorders of developmental origin.

www.Teratology.org

March of Dimes

An organization aiming to make sure babies get the strongest start possible as well as reducing the rate of prematurity.

www.marchofdimes.org

The SC Birth Defects program is committed to improving birth defects prevention, research, and referrals in South Carolina. The program can be reached at scbdp@dhec.sc.gov.

DHEC in the News: Flu, Drug Take Back Day, paralyzing illness

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

DHEC offers free flu shots at three locations Friday

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH) — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has set up three walk-in clinics for South Carolinians in the Upstate, Midlands and Low Country.

Free flu shots clinics will be held in Greenville, Lexington and North Charleston on Friday.

Residents urged to dispose of unused medicine

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control is encouraging residents to drop off unused, expired or unwanted prescription drugs at participating locations around the state during National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

General interest

Doctors have a No. 1 suspect for paralyzing illness

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it doesn’t know what’s causing a sudden rise in cases of a frightening, polio-like condition that leaves children paralyzed or with weakened limbs.

The No. 1 suspect had been a virus called enterovirus D68, or EV-D68. In 2014, a wave of cases of acute flaccid myelitis coincided with outbreaks of EV-D68 across the country.

But the CDC says it has not consistently found EV-D68 in confirmed cases since then. Officials say they’re looking at a range of possible causes.

DHEC: Safely Dispose of Unused Medicine during National ‘Take Back Day’

Too often, unused prescription drugs find their way into the wrong hands.

That’s why DHEC is encouraging residents to drop off unused, expired or unwanted prescription drugs at participating locations around the state during National Prescription Drug Take Back Day Saturday, Oct. 27.

Held twice a year, this national event organized by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) provides a safe, convenient and responsible way for the public to dispose of prescription drugs while also increasing awareness about the risks of unused or expired medicines, including those that remain easily accessible in medicine cabinets.

“While it’s easy to overlook, leaving old or unused prescription medicines in your home can be associated with a lot of risks, including being mistaken for other medications and being abused by someone seeking recreational drugs,” said Shelly Kelly, DHEC’s Director of Health Regulations. “DHEC is proud to support the ‘Take Back Day’ initiative to assure medicines are disposed of properly.”

Studies show a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained  ̶  often unknowingly  ̶  from family and friends. Take Back Day aims to restrict household drug theft, reduce childhood overdoses, limit the accumulation of drugs by the elderly and protect the environment from pharmaceutical contamination that can be caused by improper disposal of medications.

To find Take Back Day drop-off locations throughout South Carolina, visit takebackday.dea.gov and use the collection site locator. Medicines can be dropped off from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at participating locations. The event is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

During the April 2018 Take Back Day, Americans turned in 474.5 tons of prescription drugs at more than 5,800 locations.

For details, visit takebackday.dea.gov or contact the DEA at 202-307-1000. For more information about DHEC’s recommendations for disposing of unwanted medicine, visit scdhec.gov.

DHEC in the News: Opioids, free HIV testing, poison ivy

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

S.C. moving to address opioid crisis

In December, Gov. Henry McMaster, calling opioid abuse a “silent hurricane going on in our state,” took several actions including limiting opioid prescriptions under two state programs.

He declared a statewide public health emergency that allows authorities to more easily coordinate emergency management, health care and law enforcement resources. …

Six months later, McMaster says the state has made progress in a dual crisis – for health care and law enforcement.

LRMC offers free HIV testing at local Walgreens

Little River Medical Center (LRMC) is working with Walgreens to help provide free HIV testing and information on National HIV Testing Day Wednesday, June 27, between 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Free testing will be available in Conway at Walgreens located at 1601 Church Street.

Free, confidential and fast test results will be available without the need to schedule an appointment. LRMC counselors will be on hand to answer questions about HIV prevention and treatment options.

General Interest

Test your poison ivy knowledge before the plant ruins your summer

(CNN)It was a close encounter in 2012 that made microbiologist John Jelesko take an interest in poison ivy.

The Virginia Tech associate professor was cutting up a downed tree with an electric chainsaw. What he didn’t realize was that his power cable had been dragging through poison ivy. …

“Within 48 hours, I had your classic case of poison ivy on my arm. And as a scientist, I said, ‘This is interesting, how bad can it be? I’ll just leave this untreated,'” he recalled, sheepishly. “In about two weeks, I had learned just how uncomfortable poison ivy rash could be.”

From Other Blogs: Opioid overdoses, air quality, preventing infection & more

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

Raising Awareness to Prevent Prescription Opioid Overdoses

In 2016, 115 Americans died every day from an opioid overdose – that is more than 42,000 drug overdose deaths that involved an opioid including prescription opioids, heroin, and/or illicitly manufactured fentanyl. Prescription opioids (like hydrocodone, oxycodone, and morphine) are prescribed by doctors to treat moderate to severe pain, but have serious risks and side effects.

Anyone who takes prescription opioids can become addicted to them. Families across the county are dealing with the health, emotional, and economic effects of the opioid epidemic. The opioid overdose epidemic is a public health emergency and Americans of all races and ages are being killed by opioid overdoses. — From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Public Health Matters blog

Why the USDA Forest Service Monitors Air Quality during Wildland Fires

Air Quality Awareness Week raises mindfulness about the importance of air quality issues. The USDA Forest Service commemorates the week and its 2018 theme “Air Quality Where You Are” with partners. This year, the Forest Service is featuring one area where air resource management is essential – wildland firefighting.

Recognizing the growing threat that wildfire smoke poses to the health and safety of the public and fire personnel, the Forest Service partnered with other federal, state and tribal agencies to implement a proactive and determined response. This included development of new modeling techniques to more accurately characterize emissions from wildfires. It also included creation of a new position in the fire organization – the Air Resource Advisor (ARA). — From the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) blog

A Back to Basics Approach to Prevent Infection

It was hard to see it happen. We were watching a friend’s basketball game when the young boy fell down and began to bleed from a cut on his arm. The referee sent him out of the game and over to his coach who took out a bandage and slapped it on the wound without cleaning the cut. Calling a time-out, the coach put the boy back in the game.

My daughter and I looked at each other in disbelief.  My son, her brother, Rory, had fallen playing basketball in 2012. The gym teacher had applied a bandage without cleaning the wound. Despite us bringing him to his pediatrician and hospital when he began to feel ill, Rory died from septic shock four days later. The source of the infection that ravaged his body is believed to be from the scrape on his arm. — From the CDC’s Safe Healthcare blog

A Less Allergenic Peanut Extract for Use in Allergy Treatment

As baseball season gets into full swing, many fans enjoy traditional ballpark favorites like peanuts. But not everyone can safely savor this popular treat. Peanuts induce an allergic reaction in millions of Americans.

Peanut allergy is a major public health concern, especially for children. “This is the most common cause of anaphylaxis in children and has become more prevalent in recent years,” says recently retired Agricultural Research Service (ARS) food technologist Si-Yin Chung. Anaphylaxis is a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction that has a quick onset. — From the USDA blog