Tag Archives: illness

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

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

Flu claims 22 more lives in SC, but there is some good news on the flu front

The flu remains widespread in South Carolina, but for the second straight week the number of confirmed cases fell statewide.

Health Officials: 22 more die from flu in South Carolina

State health officials say 22 more people have died from flu in South Carolina in the past week.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control said Wednesday that the latest report shows that 128 people have died from the flu in South Carolina since the season started in October.

Upstate hospitals combat IV bag shortage amid flu season

In the midst of what health officials say is shaping up to be the worst flu season in nearly a decade, three of the region’s largest hospital systems are struggling to provide intravenous (IV) bags for incoming patients.

The bags, which are used to administer fluids and medications, have been in short supply since Hurricane Maria’s devastation of Puerto Rico in September, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The storm not only knocked out the island’s electrical grid but also damaged a number of manufacturing facilities responsible for the production of IV bags.

Two more die of the flu in Beaufort County. Here’s what we know.

Two more flu-related deaths were reported in Beaufort and Jasper counties the week of Feb. 5, according to local healthcare officials.

One person died at Beaufort Memorial Hospital and another at Coastal Carolina Hospital. The hospitals did not disclose the age or gender of the victims.

From Other Blogs: Flu, women and heart disease, carbon monoxide & more

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

6 Things You Need to Know About This Flu Season

Seasonal flu activity has been intense this season. As of January 20, 2018, all 49 states in the continental United States reported widespread flu activity for three consecutive weeks. This is a first since CDC’s Influenza Division began tracking flu this way. It’s likely that flu activity will be elevated for many weeks to come. — From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Public Health Matters Blog

Women and heart disease: what every woman should know

You may be surprised to know that heart disease is the leading killer of women and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined. In fact, approximately one woman dies from heart disease every minute. — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

When can you go back to work or school after an illness?

Staying home when you’re sick is important, but how do you know when you’re okay to venture back into the world? Katie Schill, nurse practitioner with Palmetto Health’s Mobile Clinic, offers some answers… — From Flourish

Are You Part of the Silent Epidemic?

You’ve heard of mammograms to find breast cancer and tests to find colorectal (colon) cancer. But do you know how to help prevent liver cancer?

There’s no screening test for liver cancer. But there is a screening test for hepatitis C, which is the leading cause of liver cancer. — From the CDC’s The Topic Is Cancer 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.

CO is found in fumes produced by portable generators, stoves, lanterns, and gas ranges, or by burning charcoal and wood. CO from these sources can build up in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces. People and animals in these spaces can be poisoned and can die from breathing CO. — From the CDC’s Your Health — Your Environment Blog