Tag Archives: infants

DHEC in the News: West Nile Virus, Infant Sleep Safety, Mt. Pleasant Water, Assisted Living Facility

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

Hurricane Matthew continues to leave its mark on Beaufort County with West Nile cases

(Beaufort, SC – Island Packet) Just two human cases of the West Nile virus have ever been confirmed in Beaufort County — both within eight months of Hurricane Matthew.

Gregg Hunt, Beaufort County Mosquito Control director, said the timing of the events is no coincidence.

“Hurricane Matthew has played a major role in what we’re seeing,” Hunt said.

“After Hurricane Matthew, a lot of debris had fallen into standing water caused by the flooding and tidal waves,” he said. “And organic material decaying in the water produces an ideal breeding ground for that kind of mosquito (that carries West Nile) … That’s what set the tone after the hurricane.”

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According to the Department of Health and Environmental Control, about 1 in 5 people who are infected with the West Nile virus will develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. These people likely will have a full recovery, but fatigue and weakness could last for weeks or months.

Less than 1 percent of those infected will develop a serious neurological illness such as encephalitis or meningitis, according to the release.

Mom’s heartbreaking Facebook post raises awareness about safe sleeping conditions for babies

(Greenville, SC – FOX Carolina) According to DHEC, 194 babies died between 2009 and 2015 in South Carolina due of unsafe sleeping conditions, making this the third leading cause of infant deaths in the state.

“This cause of death is 100 percent preventable,” said Michelle Greco, manager of the Child Abuse Prevention Program at Greenville Health System.

Greco says babies under 1 year of age should sleep in a crib or bassinet with a fitted sheet and a firm mattress.

“Anytime that an infant under the first year of life is put down to sleep it needs to be treated the same,” said Greco, “They need to be alone with no other people, pets or objects.”

Mt. Pleasant residents ‘trying to have faith’ as they wait on results of DHEC water tests

(Mt. Pleasant, SC – ABC News4)  Several people living in Mount Pleasant want answers to concerns over water quality, and DHEC is now doing something about it.

Tuesday, workers were in Mount Pleasant testing water samples. It’s all part of an effort to find out if there is something in the water that could pose a health hazard.

DHEC samples were taken from three houses in the Mount Pleasant area. Officials with Mount Pleasant Waterworks said they chose those areas because of recent concerns.

Charleston assisted living facility where woman was killed by nearby alligator could face enforcement from DHEC

(Charleston, SC – Post and Courier) …Department of Health and Environmental Control investigators found [Brookdale Charleston] staff did not follow their own guidelines to conduct night checks on [Bonnie] Walker, a plan put in place when she had wandered off before. She had left the facility days prior “looking to go home,” and staff decided she needed to be housed in a memory care unit.

Now Brookdale Charleston could be facing enforcement action from DHEC. Representatives of the facility met with state officials June 13. A spokesman for DHEC said the two parties are “working on finalizing a consent order.” Brookdale declined to comment on the matter.

Such meetings are an opportunity for a facility to present any evidence of their own, said Pam Dukes, formerly a health regulator with DHEC. It would be “very unusual” for the negotiation not to end in enforcement, Dukes explained, which could mean a fine or a license suspension.

For more health and environmental news, check Live Healthy SC regularly.

Regional Milk Depots Help Babies in Need

Pictured above: Pee Dee Region Nutritional Education Specialist Ellen Edens (left) and Nursing Site Supervisor Rhonda Windham oversee donation collection and deposits to the Mother’s Milk Bank of South Carolina. 

By Mary-Kathryn Craft

Thanks to the generosity of breastfeeding moms and the help of state health department staff statewide, more babies in need will receive nourishing ​milk for a healthy start.

The Mother’s Milk Bank of S​outh Carolina opened at the Medical University of South Carolina in 2015 to provide pasteurized human milk to hospitalized S.C. infants whose mother’s milk supply is limited. The program created a network of milk deposit sites across the state, including five DHEC locations, to make it easier for breastfeeding moms to donate their surplus milk.

The collaborative effort is off to a great start, and DHEC staff have already helped collect more than 4,000 ounces of ​milk for the Mother’s Milk Bank!

​In January, the Pee Dee Region received its first donation and has since collected a total of 793 ounces through the Sumter County Health Department. The Lowcountry has collected more than 1,100 ounces at the Beaufort and Goose Creek locations. The Midlands’ total is 2,212 ounces, and in the Upstate team is continuing to promote the Spartanburg County depot site. ​

Mother’s milk is important for newborns, especially for premature, very low birth weight babies who are at higher risk for many serious health conditions. ​The Mother’s Milk Bank of South Carolina was created by various partners including the Medical University of South Carolina, the S.C. Neonatal Consortium and the S.C. Birth Outcomes Initiative. For more information, visit scmilkbank.org.​

Pee Dee Region’s Breastfeeding Peer Counselors Reach the Gold

By Mary-Kathryn Craft

S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Women Infants and Children (WIC) Breastfeeding Peer Counselors in the Pee Dee Region recently received national recognition for their exceptional work. The team, led by WIC Program Manager Sadhana Tolani and Breastfeeding Coordinator Jenna Deaver, was awarded the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Loving Support of Excellence Gold Award.

The honor recognizes local WIC agencies that provide exemplary breastfeeding promotion and support activities. The Pee Dee program was one of six selected in the Southeast.

WIC Program Manager Sadhana Tolani and Breastfeeding Coordinator Jenna Deaver

WIC Breastfeeding Coordinator Jenna Deaver and Program Manager Sadhana Tolani

“Our ultimate goal is to empower women by giving them the support they need to overcome the physical, emotional and social stigma barriers to breastfeeding their infants,” Deaver said. “This award reinforces the importance of our daily efforts and inspires our team to continue delivering excellent service to new mothers at a time when they most need that one-on-one support.”

Breastfeeding is important because it improves health by protecting moms and babies from a variety of diseases. It is also an effective way to fight childhood obesity. That’s why promoting and encouraging breastfeeding is a key focus in WIC.

The Pee Dee Region’s WIC program was specifically recognized for its partnerships with area hospitals. The program has agreements with more than 10 hospitals throughout the region enabling peer counselors to visit postpartum moms at bedsides to offer breastfeeding information and assistance. The counselors then provide follow-up support in home visits and at clinics.

WIC breastfeeding peer counselors are mothers who have successfully breastfed at least one baby and serve as mentors to new mothers who want to nurse. Tolani said the award was a great morale boost to staff and is the result of the hard work the WIC team has put in since the Loving Support breastfeeding peer counselor program began a decade ago.

Pee Dee Region Breastfeeding Peer Counselors (Left to Right): Shalandra Douglas, Connie Palmer, Jeanetta Dean, Corey Johnson, Tremelia Gore, Priscilla Moyd-McFadden and Renee’ Walker-Andrews

Pee Dee Region Breastfeeding Peer Counselors (Left to Right): Shalandra Douglas, Connie Palmer, Jeanetta Dean, Corey Johnson, Tremelia Gore, Priscilla Moyd-McFadden and Renee’ Walker-Andrews

Congratulations to this dedicated group of DHEC employees in the Pee Dee!

Let’s Talk WIC

By Cassandra Harris

Have you seen our latest ‪‎WIC‬ public service announcement on TV? If not, take a look at it here and find out what WIC has to offer.

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program

A nutrition program that provides health education, healthy foods, breastfeeding support, and other services free of charge to South Carolina families who qualify, WIC is good food and a whole lot more! 

If you are pregnant, are breastfeeding, or have a child under the age of 5, you may qualify to receive our WIC services. Learn more about WIC at: http://www.scdhec.gov/WIC.

South Carolina’s infant mortality rate at all-time low

By Jamie Shuster

Every year wmom and babiee release new data on infant mortality in South Carolina to give our partners and health care providers a benchmark of how the state is doing in our efforts to reduce infant deaths. This year, I’m pleased to announce that the data shows South Carolina is making great strides in keeping babies healthy and safe.

The newly released 2013 data shows that the infant mortality rate in South Carolina has hit a record low. Between 2005 and 2013, our state’s infant mortality rate dropped by over 25%, from 9.5 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2005 to 6.9 in 2013.

One of the sharpest declines in infant deaths was among African-American babies, with rates dropping from 12.5 in 2012 to 10 in 2013. While disparities in infant mortality rates persist by race, South Carolina’s racial disparity in infant mortality rates between African-Americans and Whites has fallen below the national average for the first time ever. We’re also encouraged by a 41% decrease in accidental sleep-related deaths between 2012 and 2013, which suggests that our state’s safe sleep educational efforts are also making a difference. Continue reading