Tag Archives: health

From Other Blogs: Drinking water, safe summer meals, productive aging and work & more

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

Our Drinking Water and Forest Service Research

Behind every drop of water from the tap is an entire forest ecosystem. And while it’s easy to take drinking water for granted, you might be surprised to learn that the nation’s largest single source of water is the National Forest System, the network of national forests stewarded by the USDA Forest Service. Many of these national forest lands overlay the source areas for important rivers and aquifer systems, and more than 60 million Americans rely on them for drinking water.

Scientists from Forest Service Research and Development, or R&D, investigate the quality and quantity of water from forests and conduct research that informs water stewardship and reduces costs. For example, one R&D study showed that nearly 21 million people in the South receive their drinking water from national forest lands – roughly equivalent to the population of Florida! — From the US Department of Agriculture blog

FNS Provides Tools to Support Safe Summer Meals

As the school year ends across the country and summer approaches, summer meals are critical in the lives of millions of our nation’s youth, whose risk for food insecurity increases during the summer months when they no longer have access to the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs (NSLP).

Summer meal programs, including the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the Seamless Summer Option within the NSLP, present the opportunity to help alleviate summertime food insecurity and positively impact children’s growth and development by offering nutritious meals and encouraging children to develop healthy habits at a young age. — From the USDA blog

A Framework for Productive Aging and Work

The aging of the U.S. population has led to a number of changes in the workforce, particularly a movement of the worker distribution toward older ages2, 4. By 2022, about one-third (31.9%) of Americans aged 65 to 74 years will still be working (Toosi 2013). The impact of a longer working life can be significant in both positive and negative ways. On the positive side, work is the main means of income for consumption and savings, serves an anchoring function in society, and can be a source of dignity, social connectedness, and purpose. Negative consequences of working longer may include increased morbidity and mortality from injuries, longer recovery times, burnout, job lock (needing to stay employed to retain health insurance and benefits), age discrimination, job insecurity, periods of unwanted unemployment, and less non-work time (Schulte et al. 2018). — From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) NIOSH Science blog

Consumer Genetic Testing Is Booming: But What are the Benefits and Harms to Individuals and Populations?

The first genetic tests directly available to consumers for health were offered in 1996. The concept, then, was both audacious and bold: the idea that individuals could explore their own human genome without the aid of a health care provider to order the test or interpret the results.

Some consumer advocates praised the development as empowering, while many medical and public health experts advised caution, given the lack of evidence that results were clinically useful and that the risk for potential harms was unknown. Meanwhile, the direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic health test industry grew relatively slowly during the first two decades of its existence. During that time, personal genomics for any purpose was often perceived as a mere curiosity purchased by only a few wealthy individuals. — From the CDC’s Genomics and Health Impact blog

DHEC in the News: Community baby showers, swimming advisory, heart disease

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

Community baby shower draws 100 expectant mothers

Sequoia Rivers waited outside of the Palmetto Electric community room in Ridgeland on Friday, anxious to enter the community baby shower being hosted by Sen. Margie Bright Matthews in partnership with Molina Healthcare of South Carolina.

Rivers, a Ridgeland resident, who is expecting her fourth child, has twins and a 7-year-old child. She said she attended to get the most up-to-date information about what opportunities are available for expectant mothers.

SCDHEC lifts swimming advisory for North Myrtle, Surfside

A temporary ban on swimming along portions of the Grand Strand coast has been lifted, South Carolina Department of Health and Environment Control announced Friday afternoon.

General Interest

Limited health literacy is a major barrier to heart disease prevention and treatment

Limited healthy literacy is a major barrier blocking many people from achieving good cardiovascular health or benefiting from effective treatment for heart attacks, heart failure, strokes and other cardiovascular diseases, according to a scientific statement published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.

Health literacy encompasses not only the ability to read, but skills such as being able to ask questions about your care, understand documents with medical terminology, perform the basic arithmetic needed to take medication correctly and negotiate with health care providers and insurance companies. Inability to do these things effectively can have serious health consequences.

DHEC in the News: HIV, hurricane season, Vitamin D supplements

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

Two thirds of patients with HIV had missed opportunities for prep

New findings from a retrospective cohort study revealed that 66% of patients newly diagnosed with HIV in South Carolina visited a health care facility before their diagnosis. The health care visits occurred after the CDC had issued interim guidance recommending daily pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, for patients at risk for HIV and, therefore, likely represent missed opportunities for its use, according to researchers.

General Interest

Hurricane season starts Friday. Here’s what forecasters predict will happen.

With surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean suggesting a less active hurricane season than previously thought, Tropical Meteorology Project lead scientist Phil Klotzbach on Thursday became the first of the forecasters to down-scale his earlier predictions.

He dropped one storm from each category which range from named-storms to catastrophic.

The numbers still suggest an active year.

Here’s How Vitamin D Supplements Can Help New Moms (And Newborns)

Vitamin D has been touted as a must-have vitamin in recent years as studies have shown that many Americans are deficient.

Getting vitamin D is important since it can help with calcium absorption and has roles in immune function and cell growth, among others. While the vitamin is found in some foods and can be obtained via ultraviolet light, nearly 50 percent of the population worldwide has insufficient levels, according to a 2012 study.

But understanding what’s the right amount of vitamin D for young children, pregnant women, and others, can be difficult.

DHEC in the News: New emergency manager mobile app, swimming advisory, heart disease

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

South Carolina emergency managers offer a new disaster app: #SCEMERGENCY

That sense of panic when a storm knocks out the power or you have to evacuate?

The state now has an app for that.

The new #SCEMERGENCY personal manager gives alerts during emergencies and guides users through the countless details of building a disaster kit.

It also identifies which roads to take in an evacuation and where shelters or hotels are open.

Here’s why S.C. warns against swimming along Horry County beaches

The state has issued a swimming advisory for all Horry County beaches following Tropical Storm Alberto.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control issued the warning on Tuesday evening.

“Due to the impact of the amount of rainfall associated with Tropical Storm Alberto, all beaches in Horry County have been placed under a swimming advisory,” the announcement reads.

General Interest

Dealing with heart disease: Exercise and diet

Diet and exercise are two huge factors cited by experts in addressing heart disease, both for young people looking decades ahead and for adults looking to rebound from a medical challenge.

Local teacher Tiffany Middlebrooks, who specializes in health science at Ridge Spring-Monetta Middle/High School, said prevention is a major topic in her classes.

Have a safe and fun-filled summer

The weather is heating up, children are fast moving toward the final days of school and visions of summer fun are dancing in the heads of families all across South Carolina. Have fun, but be careful.

While Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial beginning of cookout season and summer fun, significant health and safety hazards are lurking out there that can spoil a good time if we’re not safe.

Stay safe when swimming

Memorial weekend typically brings with it the openings of swimming pools and other outdoor water activities. Swimming in an ocean or pool is an excellent outdoor activity for the whole family and it’s important to make sure everyone is equipped with sunscreen to protect themselves from harmful, burning ultraviolet (UV) rays. Practicing sun safety plays an important role in the prevention of skin cancer, the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States. Apply broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15 before going outdoors. Reapply sunscreen if it wears off after swimming, sweating or toweling off.

Protect yourself from insect bites

Sunscreen isn’t all you should arm yourself with: Use an insect repellent containing Deet to protect your family from insects while outdoors.  The repellent is safe and, when used as directed, is the best way to protect against mosquito bites, ticks and other biting insects; children and pregnant women should protect themselves also. The bite of insects such as mosquitoes can potentially do more than cause irritating itching; mosquitoes can also transmit diseases such as West Nile and Zika.

Watch out for rip currents

It’s also important to be knowledgeable about rip currents or rip tides at the beach. Rip currents are responsible for many deaths on our nation’s beaches every year and can occur in any body of water that has breaking waves, not just the ocean. Currents at the beach can move to different locations along the coast and can be deadly both to swimmers and those in waist deep water where the rip current occurs. Be sure to check in with lifeguards, who can alert you to areas that have rip current potential.

Here are some more tips to keep you and your family safe and healthy at the beach or pool:

  • Always supervise children when in or around water.
  • Dress in loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing if it is hot outside. Stay cool with cool showers or baths. Seek medical care immediately if anyone has symptoms of heat-related illness, including a headache, nausea, dizziness, heavy sweating, and an elevated body temperature.iStock_51595250_XXLARGE cute kids swim class
  • Stay hydrated. Your body loses fluids through sweat. Drink more water than usual — two to four cups of water every hour you are outside. Also, try to avoid alcohol intake to prevent dehydration.
  • Cover up. Clothing that covers your skin helps protect against UV rays. Be sure to apply sunscreen to exposed skin.
  • Be aware of swim and water quality advisories and avoid swimming in those areas.
  • Do not enter the water with cuts, open sores or lesions; naturally-occurring bacteria in the water may cause infection.
  • Do not swim in or allow children to play in swashes of water or near storm water drainage pipes. These shallow pools are caused by runoff from paved surfaces and often contain much higher levels of bacteria and pollutants than the ocean. Permanent water quality advisories are indicated by signs in these areas.
  • Do not swim in the ocean during or immediately following rainfall. Heavy rain can wash bacteria and possibly harmful pollutants into the surf. To reduce the risk of illness, wait at least 12 hours after a heavy rain to resume swimming.
  • Be sure to check your local news and weather forecast for information on heat and beach advisories before planning any type of outdoor activities.