Tag Archives: germs

These Basic Flu Facts Can Help You Protect Yourself And Others

No matter how healthy you are, you can be affected by the flu.

If you have not gotten your yearly flu vaccine, now is a good time to do so because it can take up to two weeks for your body to develop a protective response and it is the best way to prevent the flu. Protecting yourself against the flu also helps to protect your loved ones and others you come into contact with.

Here are some tips to help protect you and your loved ones this flu season.

  1. The flu and how is it spread

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. The flu can cause mild to severe, even deadly illness — especially in vulnerable people. Symptoms can include fever, dry cough, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, sore throat, and nasal congestion or stuffiness. 

Seasonal flu is usually spread from person to person. People who have the flu may spread it to others from about one day before they develop symptoms for up to seven days after.  Flu viruses are spread when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk spread respiratory droplets. Others become infected when these droplets are inhaled or enter the nose or mouth by touching with hands that have been soiled by the respiratory droplets.

2. Some people at higher risk

Anyone, including healthy people, can get the flu, but certain people are at greater risk for serious complications if they get the flu. This includes older people (especially people 65 years of age and older), young children, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease). While it is important for everyone to receive their yearly flu vaccine, it is especially important for people in these high-risk groups to do so.

3. Ways you can help prevent the flu

Remember, the best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get your flu vaccine each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and DHEC recommend that everyone 6 months of age and older get a yearly flu vaccine.

In addition, South Carolinians are encouraged to take the following preventive measures:

  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home from work, school and errands if you are sick to avoid getting others sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Use a tissue if one is handy; throw it away immediately after use. Otherwise, use the crook of your elbow to cover yourself.
  • Wash your hands often and thoroughly.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when someone touches something that is covered with germs and then touches one of those areas.

Other good habits include getting plenty of exercise and sleep, managing your stress, drinking water and eating good food to help you stay healthy in the winter and all year.

  1. Places where you can get the flu vaccine

Remember, it’s important to get the flu vaccine not only to protect yourself, but also your loved ones from the seasonal flu. Even if you don’t have a regular health care provider you can still get the flu vaccine. In addition to DHEC, many local providers — including doctors’ offices, clinics, pharmacies, college health centers, schools and workplaces — now offer flu vaccines. We encourage everyone to find the facility that works best for them.

To find the DHEC seasonal flu clinic nearest you, click here.

For more information: www.scdhec.gov/flu.

From Other Blogs: Breast Cancer Awareness Month, protect your hearing, flu & more.

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

Be Informed. Be Empowered.

Do you ever find yourself wondering what is right for you when it comes to breast cancer screening or treatment? Having the right information about prevention, screening, and treatment for breast cancer can help you decide what’s best for you.

As we observe Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I want to highlight how promoting the right tools not only gets the word out about breast cancer, but also empowers you in making the best decisions for your health.  —  From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s The Topic Is Cancer blog

October is “National Protect Your Hearing Month.”

October is “Better Hearing and Speech Month,” a time to raise awareness about what you need to do to protect your hearing.

Did You Know?

Repeated exposure to loud noise over the years can damage your hearing—long after exposure has stopped.

This is just one of the many informative facts available on CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health’s new hearing loss website: https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/hearing_loss/default.html. — From the CDC’s Your Health — Your Environment blog

Never Miss a Flu Vaccine. Here Are the Reasons #WhyIFightFlu

The reason #WhyIFightFlu? It saves lives.

Americans experienced one of the most severe flu seasons in four decades last year with flu activity remaining high well into March 2018. Millions of Americans became sick with the flu, an estimated 900,000 were hospitalized, and 80,000 died from flu and its complications. — From the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) blog

3 Reasons Why Handwashing Should Matter to You

Most of us are familiar with the parental-like voice in the back of our minds that helps guide our decision-making—asking us questions like, “Have you called your grandmother lately?” For many that voice serves as a gentle, yet constant reminder to wash our hands.

Handwashing with soap and water is one of the most important steps you can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to loved ones. — From the CDC’s Public Health Matters blog

School Lunch: Lots 2 Love

While many students were busy enjoying summer vacation, our nation’s hardworking school nutrition professionals were also staying busy, dedicating their time to training and meal planning for the upcoming school year. During National School Lunch Week (October 15-19), USDA recognizes the tireless effort and love that goes into preparing school lunches for 30 million children.

Well before our youngsters headed back to class, this past summer both the Minnesota Department of Education and the Montana Department of Public Instruction made the most of their Team Nutrition Training Grant funding. This is important funding that provides culinary job skills training for their respective school nutrition professionals. The trainings help school managers and cooks prepare healthy meals that use local foods in their menus, while reflecting regional and local food preferences. — From the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) blog

5 tips to get more fruits and vegetables in your diet

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), more than 90 percent of adults and children do not consume the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. Palmetto Health Heart Hospital dietitian Lisa Akly offers these tips to get more fruits and vegetables into your diet. — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

From Other Blogs: Handwashing, mold after a flood, safer food choices & more

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

Protect yourself and wash your hands the right way

Hand washing is the number one way to help prevent the spread of germs and diarrhea-related illnesses. As flu season approaches, it is vital that we make a habit of washing our hands frequently throughout the day. — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

Tips on Cleaning Mold after a Flood

Returning to your home after a flood is a big part of getting your life back to normal. But you may be facing a new challenge: mold. What can you do to get rid of it?  How do you get the mold out of your home and stay safe at the same time? CDC has investigated floods, mold, and cleanup, and offers practical tips for homeowners and others on how to safely and efficiently remove mold from the home. — From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Your Health — Your Environment blog

Help Your Patients Make Safer Food Choices

Every year, an estimated 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases. Salmonella and Campylobacter, two of the many types of bacteria that are commonly transmitted through food, can cause antibiotic-resistant infections.

As physicians, we can help patients protect themselves against foodborne illness by talking with them about their risk. — From the CDC’s Safe Healthcare blog

Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning Prevention

Every year, at least 430 people die in the U. S. from accidental CO poisoning. Approximately 50,000 people in the U.S. visit the emergency department each year due to accidental CO poisoning. There are steps you can take to help protect yourself and your household from CO poisoning. Change the batteries in your CO detector every six months. If you don’t have a battery-powered or battery back-up CO detector, buy one soon. — From the CDC’s Your Health — Your Environment blog

DHEC in the News: Diabetes, certificates of need, mosquitoes and ticks

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

Participants sought for Prevent T2 diabetes prevention program; info sessions this week

Do you have prediabetes, high blood pressure or cholesterol or are you over age 18 and overweight? If so, you qualify to participate in a free program designed to prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes.

Prevent T2 is a year-long program designed for people with prediabetes, or what is also referred to as borderline diabetes, as well as those who are at high risk for type 2 diabetes and want to lower their risk.

Trident Medical Center applies for 2 certificates of need

Trident Medical Center has filed two certificates of need with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control for new health care facilities in North Charleston and on James Island.

General Interest

Illnesses from Mosquito, Tick, and Flea Bites Increasing in the US

Illnesses from mosquito, tick, and flea bites have tripled in the U.S., with more than 640,000 cases reported during the 13 years from 2004 through 2016.  Nine new germs spread by mosquitoes and ticks were discovered or introduced into the United States during this time.

Here Are Some Actions You Can Take To Help Protect You Against The Flu

No doubt, you’ve heard the reports of widespread flu activity. It’s important to know that there are some things you can do to help protect yourself.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends taking three actions:

1) Get a flu vaccine.

DHEC and the CDC recommend that everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine, which can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu. Getting vaccinated annually is the No. 1 way to combat this contagious disease that can lead to hospitalization — and even death.

It is especially important for high-risk persons to be vaccinated to reduce the risk of severe illness. People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with certain chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older.

2) Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs.

  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you are sick, limit contact with others.
  • If you are sick with flu symptoms, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs such as the flu.

3) Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.

If you get the flu, antiviral drugs can be used to treat your illness. Antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. These drugs are different from antibiotics; they are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) and are not available over-the-counter.

Visit CDC’s website to find out more about the flu and the three actions it recommends to fight it.