Tag Archives: flood

DHEC in the News: Immunizations, opiods, ‘One City Two Canals’

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

Health officials encourage parents to get child vaccinated

(WSPA) – At the end of every summer, most parents begin to stress about one thing.

“Oh goodness, going back to school is always a kind of crazy time school shopping for school supplies usually new shoes and new clothes,” said Erin VanDuinen, Anderson County parent.

But it also typically includes that yearly visit to the doctor. There are a number of immunizations that are required for your child prior to heading back to school.

“Its prevention, you are preventing a lot of major illnesses or death just by getting a simple shot,” said nurse Amber Littmann.

‘You need treatment along with prescription’; focus on opioid addiction as medical issue is vital, officials say

Opioid addiction is a complex problem that has to been seen more as a medical condition, and less as a moral failure, if addicts are to get the help they need, health and law enforcement officials say.

“There is not a silver bullet, but I think that the United States government needs to step up to the plate and do more to treat it more kindly and participate in finding ways to treat it more effectively,” Dr. Monnie Singleton of Singleton Health Center in Orangeburg said.

“Incarceration doesn’t do a thing. … What they need to do is really embrace the fact that opioid addiction is a medical condition,” he said.

Opioid prescription rates have been linked to addiction and overdose.

One City Two Canals at Columbia’s Riverfront Park offers update from flood

Columbia, SC (WLTX) – The One City Two Canals tour on Columbia’s Riverfront Park came with a flood update and a cool history lesson Saturday afternoon.

If you want to know anything about Riverfront Park, you ask Park Ranger Karen Swank Kustafik. When the October flood of 2015 hit this area, it breached the oldest hydro’s. “That’s pretty remarkable because it had been operating consistently from 1898 until October 2015” said Kustafik.

All last year they had a series of engineering tests as a part of the re-building plan. Divers were also taking pictures of the head gates that allow water to come into or out of the Columbia Canal.

DHEC in the News: Richland County dams, West Nile, Atlantic storm

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

Richland County dams show signs of improvement nearly 2 years post flood

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – As the two-(year) anniversary of the devastating October flood creeps near, a lengthy list of damaged and destroyed dams shrinks.

According to South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control, six of the 24 dams within the Gills Creek Watershed have been repaired, including the Spring Lake Dam where the road connecting neighbors on each side of the lake was reopened 20 months post-flood.

Mosquitoes testing positive for West Nile Virus still being monitored in Beaufort Co.

BEAUFORT CO., SC (WTOC) – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control says they are still closely monitoring Beaufort County after mosquitoes tested positive for West Nile Virus in late June.

They say while it’s not uncommon for some of their trapped mosquitoes to test positive, they are still taking all of the appropriate steps to make sure local residents are not at risk.

General Interest

Atlantic storm could mean tropical threat for South Carolina

Another bedeviling storm in the far Atlantic Ocean off Africa should turn into a tropical system by the end of the week, U.S. forecasters said Monday. This one is a wait-and-watch for the Southeast coast.

It could become the fourth named storm of the hurricane season.

The National Hurricane Center put the odds at 70 percent that it could become a tropical depression — a storm not as powerful as a tropical storm — within five days.

Flood Waters And Standing Water Can Be Hazardous

No matter how tempted you might be to wade or play in flood waters, don’t do it. Oftentimes, danger lurks within and beneath flood waters and standing water.

DHEC urges everyone not to use area streams, rivers or the ocean for drinking, bathing or swimming due to the possibility of bacteria, waste water or other contaminants. Avoid wading through standing water due to the possibility of sharp objects, power lines or other hazardous debris that might be under the surface.

Follow these steps if you come into contact with flood waters or standing waters:

  • Avoid or limit direct contact.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap, especially before drinking and eating.
  • Do not allow children to play in flood water, or play with toys contaminated with flood water.
  • Report cuts or open wounds, and report all symptoms of illness. (Keep vaccinations current.)

Get more information on avoiding contact with flood waters from the Environmental Protection Agency’s website. Also, visit the Centers for Disease Control’s page on risks associated with flood waters and standing water.

Asbestos Removal and Safety for Homeowners after 2015 SC Floods

By Robin Mack, DHEC Asbestos Program Manager

When working on cleanup and rebuilding efforts after a natural disaster like the South Carolina floods of 2015, it is important to be aware of potential asbestos-containing materials that could pose a health risk if not handled properly. Disturbing materials made with asbestos during building repairs, renovations, or demolitions can release asbestos fibers or dust particles into the air allowing them to be ingested or inhaled.

Health Risks from Asbestos Exposure

People who are exposed to large amounts of asbestos over a time, such as contractors, and do not follow safety standards have an increased chance of experiencing harmful health effects. Asbestos can contribute to the development of lung cancer or other respiratory diseases. Disease symptoms may take many years to develop after being exposed to asbestos.

Asbestos in Homes

It is less common to find large quantities of asbestos in newer homes, but homes built before 1980 are the most likely to have asbestos containing materials.  Asbestos has been used in a variety of building materials, such as: siding, ceiling and floor tiles, stucco, sheetrock, joint compound, ceiling texture (popcorn ceiling), caulking, construction mastic, insulation, and roofing materials.

If you think your home contains asbestos, it is best to call a licensed professional to remove it. To find a list of licensed contractors that can perform asbestos abatement and demolition activities in South Carolina, click here.

Minimizing Asbestos Exposure
If homeowners decide to do work on their homes themselves or hire a non-licensed asbestos contractor, the following work practices and procedures should be followed to minimize possible airborne asbestos fiber releases and exposure:

  1. Keep the material wet at all times to help keep asbestos fibers from becoming airborne. A low pressure garden sprayer adjusted to “mist” works well.
  2. Avoid tearing, ripping, chipping, cutting, or grinding materials that may contain asbestos, such as those listed above. These actions increase the potential for asbestos fibers to be released.
  3. Do not throw or drop materials that may contain asbestos to the ground. Instead, lower them carefully to prevent breakage and release of fibers to the air.
  4. Please sort flood debris into categories according to the graphic below to help speed up the collection process. For any questions about debris pick-up or drop-off, please contact your local waste management program.
Graphic provided by SCDOT

Graphic provided by SCDOT

For more information about asbestos, click here or call (803) 898-4289.

Emotional Health After the Floods

By DHEC Communications Staff

emotional health

After a traumatic event, emotional and physical reactions are different for each person.  It is typical to react to a stressful event with increased anxiety, worry and anger.  Americans consistently demonstrate remarkable resilience in the aftermath of disasters and other traumatic events.

Connect with Friends and Family

Check in with family members and friends to find out how they are coping. Feeling stressed, sad, and upset are common reactions to life changing events. Recognize and pay attention to early warning signs of more serious distress. Your children, like you, will have reactions to this difficult situation; they too may feel fearful, angry, sad, worried, and confused. Children will benefit from your talking with them on their level about what is happening, to get your reassurance, and to let them know that you and they will be okay and that you will all get through this together.

Take Care of Yourself and Each Other

Getting support from others, taking care of yourself by eating right, getting enough sleep, avoiding alcohol and drugs and getting some exercise can help to manage and alleviate stress.

When to Seek Help

Depending on the situation, some people may feel depressed, experience grief and anger, turn to alcohol or drugs and even think about hurting themselves or others. The signs of serious problems include:

  • excessive worry
  • crying frequently
  • an increase in irritability, anger, and frequent arguing
  • wanting to be alone most of the time
  • feeling anxious or fearful, overwhelmed by sadness, confused
  • having trouble thinking clearly and concentrating, and difficulty making decisions
  • increased alcohol and/or substance use
  • increased physical (aches, pains) complaints such as headaches
  • trouble with your “nerves”

If these signs and symptoms continue and interfere with daily functioning, it is important to seek help for yourself or a loved one.

Find Help

If you or someone you care about needs help, you should contact your health care provider to get connected with trained and caring professionals.  The number for the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration’s Disaster Distress Hotline is 1-800-985-5990, and it’s staffed 24 hours a day.  It is important to seek professional help if you need it.  For more information, please click here.