Tag Archives: flu-related

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.

DHEC in the News: Flu, sewage discharge, American Heart Month & more

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

DHEC: Week 8 of high-activity flu season brings second child death to South Carolina

Horry County, S.C. (WPDE) — The eighth week of flu season brought the second flu-related child death of this year, according to a report by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).

In its weekly flu watch report, DHEC said the week of Feb. 18 to Feb. 24 was the 11th consecutive week of widespread flu activity.

2 million gallons of sewage discharged into the Stono River

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The Department of Health and Environmental control says an estimated 2.4 million gallons of sewage discharged into the headwaters of the Stono River over the course of 8 days.

According to DHEC, the Town of Hollywood noticed disruption of flow in a wastewater line on February 19, 2018. The disruption indicated a problem with the collection system.

Take care of your heart during Heart Health Month

Heart disease is a leading cause of early death and disability in South Carolina. The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control encourages residents to adopt habits to keep their hearts healthy.

In 2016, heart disease was the second leading cause of death in the Palmetto State. But small changes can make a big difference.

General Interest

1 in 14 women still smokes while pregnant, CDC says

(CNN)About one in 14 pregnant women who gave birth in the United States in 2016 smoked cigarettes during her pregnancy, according to a report released Wednesday.

The findings, gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, revealed that 7.2% of all expectant mothers smoked — but that the percentage of pregnant smokers varied widely from state to state.

DHEC in the News: Flu, Surfside Beach pier, discharge into Saluda River ended

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

DHEC: Number of SC flu deaths reported this season now at 167

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – The death toll this flu season continues to grow in South Carolina.

16 more people have died in the state within the last week.
Another child dies of the flu in South Carolina, but DHEC report shows activity is down

Flu activity continued to decline in the last week, but experts at both the federal and state health agencies said influenza is still considered widespread.

There were 6,332 influenza cases reported in the state in all, less than half that of the previous week, according to a report from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

FEMA set to fund upgraded Surfside Beach pier

The pier will be going back up in Surfside Beach, pending some official paperwork.

Interim administrator Jim Duckett said Tuesday the town is anticipating $9.5 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) money to build a concrete pier. The town’s wooden pier was destroyed by Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

Mayor Bob Childs predicted it would be back up in late 2019 at the earliest.

It’s Over: Discharge Into Saluda River from I-20 Sewage Plant Formally Ends

A yearslong fight to eliminate discharges from the former Carolina Water Service wastewater treatment facility near I-20 into the lower Saluda River came to a close Wednesday as the Town of Lexington, which now owns the plant, officially ended the discharge.

Lexington Mayor Steve MacDougall and Congaree Riverkeeper Bill Stangler confirmed to Free Times Wednesday afternoon that the discharge has ended. Wastewater from that facility is now being pumped to a regional wastewater treatment facility in Cayce.

DHEC in the News: Flu, National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, mumps and shingles vaccines

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

DHEC: Don’t Let Cost Keep You From Getting A Flu Shot

Columbia, SC (WLTX) — State Health Officials say do not let cost prevent you from getting a flu shot.

Many health care providers, pharmacies and community organizations offer low or no cost flu shots, according to DHEC.

Health officials says this flu season is serious and because of that, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control will waive administrative fees some pay for a flu shot at its public health clinics.

DHEC offering free HIV/STD testing

(WSPA) — Free testing for HIV and STDs will be offered in recognition of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

Health officials say tests will be available at S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) clinics and local HIV testing sites.

Horry County schools see high number of flu-related absences

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) — After widespread flu activity across South Carolina, Horry County School officials said they’re seeing more flu-related absences than normal this flu season.

Horry County Schools spokesperson Lisa Bourcier said there has been a spike in students sick with the flu over the last two weeks. South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control believes the flu outbreak has just reached its peak.

Mumps, shingles vaccines get new guidance

Vaccine advisers have published their latest recommendations for mumps and shingles vaccines in adults.

New adult vaccination recommendations published Monday feature a booster shot for mumps in case of outbreaks and the new and improved shingles vaccine.