Tag Archives: flu shot

DHEC In the News: Recycling grants, playground restoration, flu season is here

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

Grant helping City of Conway increase recycling and save money

CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) This week the City of Conway announced a grant from Horry County Solid Waste and DHEC allowing them to give 500 recycling carts to residents. This is now the first grant for the City’s recycling program; the last time Conway gave 500 carts to residents, it increased recycling in the City by 8%.

 

From old to new again: Greenwood school hoping to restore old playground

GREENWOOD, S.C. (Index-Journal) On a portion of Springfield Elementary’s 32-acre campus is an old playground. Students in Anne Glawe’s fifth-grade Gifted and Talented class, who are working with Greenwood County Litter Prevention Coordinator Maggie McMahon, want to recycle it.

 

Flu season begins, health experts recommend flu shots now

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) While flu season is often unpredictable, October typically marks the start which means it’s time to get that flu shot. Flu activity in South Carolina was listed as minimal on Tuesday, according to DHEC. But, health officials are bracing for a bad flu season.

 

DHEC In the News: Flu Season is coming, eWic expands across South Carolina, Vaping Cases Increase

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

 

Is it too early to be thinking about flu season? The CDC says no

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WLTX.com) It may still feel like summer outside, but the seasons will change in a few weeks. Influenza viruses circulate all year, but flu activity usually begins to pick up in October and peaks between December and February, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

 

eWIC cards now accepted at major stores across SC

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WLTX.com) Starting Monday, Sept. 16, all corporate stores across South Carolina will now accept eWIC cards as a form of payment for participants under the Women, Infant and Children Nutrition (WIC) program. These stores include Bi-Lo, Food Lion, Harris Teeter, Kroger, Lowes Foods, Publix, Target, and Walmart.

 

Upstate hospital system notifies DHEC of 5 possible cases of pulmonary disease from vaping

GREENVILLE, S.C. (Fox Carolina) Prisma Health-Upstate said Tuesday its doctors have notified South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) of five probably cases of severe pulmonary disease related to e-cigarette use or vaping. DHEC on Monday said there have been 2 confirmed cases in the state so far.

 

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.

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: Toy safety tips, shigella disease, flu shot safe for people with egg allergies

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

On Your Side: Top 10 Toy Safety Tips

(WRDW/WAGT) — South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and News 12 NBC 26 want you to have a safe, great holiday.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were more than 174,100 toy-related ER-treated injuries associated with toys to children under the age of 15 in 2016 alone.

Parents warned about contagious shigella disease at one Midlands school

SWANSEA, SC (WIS) – Lexington School District 4 and the state’s Department of Health and Environment Control have issued a letter to parents of Lexington Early Childhood Center students warning them of a potential contact with the Shigella bacteria.

The letter is posted on the school’s website. The letter, dated Dec. 15, says that some people associated with the school may have the disease that causes gastroenteritis, diarrhea, high fever, stomach cramps, or tenderness. It can impact other body systems and the intestines as well.

General Interest

Flu shot safe for people with egg allergies, government panel says

People with egg allergies don’t have to worry about getting the flu shot, new government guidelines say.

Because the vaccine contains egg protein, doctors used to advise against the shot entirely or to get it only in the presence of an allergist if someone had a known allergy. But a national panel of experts said Tuesday that egg allergies shouldn’t prevent anyone from getting the shot and that reactions to the vaccine are no more likely among those with allergies than anyone else.