Tag Archives: immunizations

Protect yourself, others against the flu during National Influenza Vaccination Week

By Linda Bell, M.D.
Director, Bureau of Communicable Disease Prevention and Control
State Epidemiologist

With the spirit of giving resting upon us during this holiday season, there is no better public gift you can give than providing flu vaccinations for yourself and your family. The annual flu vaccine is the single best way to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Although we are already two months into the flu season, it is not too late to get vaccinated. As a matter of fact, with this being National Influenza Vaccination Week (Dec. 2-8) this is a perfect time to get vaccinated.

This is about more than avoiding the flu so you won’t be forced to miss the annual Christmas party. Illness with the flu can cause hospitalization or even death. Each flu

L.Bell headshot

Dr. Linda Bell

season is unique; the timing of the peak activity and how severe a season will be are hard to predict, making it very important to protect yourself against flu as early as possible.

 

Last year’s flu season was one of the worst we’ve seen in recent years, with a high number of deaths and hospitalizations here in South Carolina and across the nation. It is important to get vaccinated now, before any significant spread of the flu virus begins in our community.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and DHEC recommend that everyone 6 months old and older get a yearly flu vaccine. Even if you don’t have a regular health care provider, the vaccine is available in many settings. In addition to DHEC clinics, many local providers — including doctors’ offices, clinics, pharmacies, college health centers, schools and workplaces — now offer flu vaccines. Find the facility that works best for you.

Some people are more likely to get serious complications from the flu, such as pneumonia or inflammation of the heart or brain. This includes infants and young children, older adults, pregnant women and anyone with chronic medical conditions like asthma, heart or lung disease and diabetes. Making sure that you — and those in these vulnerable groups — are vaccinated will provide much needed protection.

There are significant benefits to getting the flu vaccine:

  • It gives your body the ability to fight the flu if you are exposed to someone who is ill.
  • It is effective in protecting against several different strains of the flu that circulate each season.
  • It offers lasting protection against the flu for at least six to eight months.
  • It is the only protection shown to reduce hospitalization and deaths caused by the flu.

In addition to receiving an annual flu vaccine, take other preventive measures, such as avoiding people who are sick and staying home from work, school and other places if you are sick. Also, cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze and wash your hands often and thoroughly.

Other habits that can help you stay healthy year round include getting plenty of exercise and sleep, managing your stress, drinking water and eating nutritious foods.

But we can’t overlook the critical role immunizations play in protecting children, families and communities by preventing and reducing the spread of infectious diseases. Whether it’s getting young children vaccinated against diseases such as whooping cough and measles, ensuring teens are protected against conditions such as HPV, or making sure those in your circle get vaccinated against the flu, immunizations help us stay healthy.

So, don’t forget your flu shot. The protection it will provide for you and others around you will be one of the best gifts you will give this holiday season.

For more information about the flu and to find a clinic near you visit www.scdhec.gov/flu.

DHEC in the News: DHEC mobile care unit, flu, opioids and meth

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

DHEC’s mobile care unit deploying to counties facing severe flooding

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WPDE) — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control will use its WIC Mobile Clinic to help those who can’t get to local health departments due to recent flooding from Hurricane Florence.

Later this week the mobile care van will travel to the Cheraw and Marion areas to provide adult immunizations and nutrition services for eligible women and children.

DHEC to deploy mobile care unit to SC flood stricken areas

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) – The South Carolina Department of Health says it will roll out its WIC mobile clinic to help residents in areas recovering from the flood.

General Interest

80,000 deaths caused by flu last season, CDC says

(CNN)An estimated 80,000 Americans died of flu and its complications last winter, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This means it was the deadliest season in more than four decades — since 1976, the date of the first published paper reporting total seasonal flu deaths, said CDC Spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund.

In previous seasons, flu-related deaths have ranged from a low of about 12,000 during the 2011-2012 season to a high of about 56,000 during the 2012-2013.

While America wages war on opioids, meth makes its comeback

(CNN)For Capt. Mark Wollmershauser Jr. and the Tulsa Police Department, the late-2000s and early 2010s were an extremely dangerous time.

In Oklahoma, a state that is no stranger to the scourge of methamphetamine addiction, those years were the heyday of the “shake and bake” method — a rudimentary way of making meth using just cold medicine, some toxic chemicals and an empty two-liter bottle.

The technique is simple enough that many addicts can cook their own meth, but with one tiny misstep, the chemical reaction that occurs inside can cause deadly explosions.

Rebecca Morrison Named DHEC’s New Director of Nursing

Rebecca Morrison has been selected as the new DHEC Director of Nursing

Rebecca has been a Registered Nurse for 22 years and a Nurse Practitioner for 18 years. Since 2005, she has served as the DHEC Immunization Nurse Consultant and has also served as a consultant on preparedness issues.  

She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing and Master of Science in Nursing – all from the University of South Carolina.  Rebecca is a member of Sigma Theta Tau Nursing Honor Society, Phi Beta Kappa and she is a National Health Service Corps Scholar.

Rebecca will be starting in her new role on Dec. 17. Congratulations, Rebecca.

DHEC in the News: Immunizations, West Nile virus, new health center

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

One “Shot” for a Healthy Child Going Back to School

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) – As the little ones get ready to return to school there’s one “shot” to make sure your children stay healthy.

Wednesday (8/16) morning the South Carolina Immunization Coalition along with DHEC kicked off Vaccination Awareness Week at Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital.

Spraying starts after West Nile virus seen in South Carolina

ROCK HILL, S.C. (AP) — Officials are spraying a 1-square mile (3-sq. kilometer) area in South Carolina for mosquitoes after a West Nile virus diagnosis.

Rock Hill officials said spraying would be conducted Wednesday and end around 1 a.m. Thursday near a fire station in the southern part of the city.

General Interest

New USC Health Center is so much more than a doctor’s office

COLUMBIA, SC The four-story, 68,000-square-foot building under construction at the heart of campus over the past two years finally is done.

Vaccines aren’t just for children; everyone should get them

August is National Immunization Awareness Month and the South Carolina Legislature has designated August 14-21, 2017 as South Carolina Immunization Week.

It is important that everyone get immunized to help protect against disease and even prevent some cancers. Vaccines are recommended for everyone throughout our lives.

If you are a State Health Plan primary member, you can get vaccines to arm you against many diseases at no cost to you. The Public Employee Benefit Authority (PEBA) perk includes flu, shingles, tetanus, pneumonia, HPV shots and more. In fact, all the adult vaccines the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends for your age range, health conditions and risk factors are available at no cost to you at a network provider.

Vaccines are one of the safest ways to protect not just your own health, bu​t the health of those around you. Make sure you check with your health care provider to see which vaccines offer you your best shot at a healthy future.

For more information on what immunizations you and your family need, visit cdc.gov/vaccines.