Tag Archives: injury

When Thunder Roars . . . Go Indoors!

National Lightning Safety Awareness Week was started in 2001 to call attention to this underrated killer. Since then, U.S. lightning fatalities have dropped from about 50 per year to about 30. This reduction in fatalities is largely due to greater awareness of the lightning danger, and people seeking safety when thunderstorms threaten. During National Lightning Safety Awareness Week (June 24-30), we encourage you to learn more about lightning and lightning safety.

There are two main types of lighting:

  • Intra-cloud lightning is an electrical discharge between oppositely charged areas within the thunderstorm cloud.
  • Cloud-to-ground lightning is a discharge between opposite charges in the cloud and on the ground. Cloud-to-ground lightning can either occur between negative charges in the cloud and positive charges on the ground (a negative flash) or between positive charges in the cloud and negative charges on the ground (a positive flash).

You can protect yourself from risk even if you are caught outdoors when lightning is close by.

Safety precautions outdoors

  • If the weather forecast calls for thunderstorms, postpone your trip or activity.
  • Remember: When thunder roars, go indoors. Find a safe, enclosed shelter.
  • The main lightning safety guide is the 30-30 rule. After you see lightning, start counting to 30. If you hear thunder before you reach 30, go indoors. Suspend activities for at least 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder.
  • If no shelter is available, crouch low, with as little of your body touching the ground as possible. Lightning causes electric currents along the top of the ground that can be deadly over 100 feet away.
  • Stay away from concrete floors or walls. Lightning can travel through any metal wires or bars in concrete walls or flooring.
    Although you should move into a non-concrete structure if possible, being indoors does not automatically protect you from lightning. In fact, about one-third of lightning-strike injuries occur indoors.

Safety precautions indoors

  • Avoid water during a thunderstorm. Lightning can travel through plumbing.
  • Avoid electronic equipment of all types. Lightning can travel through electrical systems and radio and television reception systems.
  • Avoid corded phones. However, cordless or cellular phones are safe to use during a storm.
  • Avoid concrete floors and walls.

For additional lightning safety tips, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.

DHEC in the News: American Heart Month, HIV, injury prevention in children and teens

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

“80% of heart disease is preventable, know your numbers.” Get heart healthy this month!

Columbia, S.C. (WACH) – February is heart health awareness month.

Heart disease is the number one cause of death for women in the nation. It is also the second leading cause of death for all women in South Carolina.

It is the leading killer of African-American women in the Palmetto State according to results from the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).

Highest number of positive HIV tests in a single month reported by North Charleston agency

More patients tested positive for HIV at Lowcountry AIDS Services in January than during any other month in the group’s 27-year history.

The support clinic tested roughly 130 people last month and seven of those tests were positive — an abnormally high number.

“People think HIV and AIDS are a thing of the past,” said Adam Weaver, prevention program manager for Lowcountry AIDS Services. “It’s really not.”

General Interest

Injury Prevention in Children & Teens

This week Bobbi Conner talks with Dr. Keith Borg about injury prevention during childhood.

Make no mistake: Concussions are serious injuries.

With the start of football season fast approaching, this is a good time to talk about concussions and taking precautions to prevent them. Of course, it’s not just football players who get concussions; anyone participating in a contact sport is at risk. So are cyclists who might be involved in an accident. But the injury isn’t confined to sports: For older adults, falling and automobile accidents are common causes of concussion.

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury—or TBI—caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging brain cells.

Concussions are serious.

Medical providers may describe a concussion as a “mild” brain injury because concussions are usually not life-threatening. Even so, the effects of a concussion can be serious.

Signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms generally show up soon after the injury. However, you may not know how serious the injury is at first and some symptoms may not show up for hours or days. For example, in the first few minutes your child or teen might be a little confused or a bit dazed, but an hour later your child might not be able to remember how he or she got hurt.

You should continue to check for signs of concussion right after the injury and a few days after the injury. If your child or teen’s concussion signs or symptoms get worse, you should take him or her to the emergency department right away.

Concussion signs observed:

  • Can’t recall events prior toor after a hit or fall.
  • Appears dazed or stunned.
  • Forgets an instruction, is confused about an assignment or position, or is unsure of the game, score, or opponent.
  • Moves clumsily.
  • Answers questions slowly.
  • Loses consciousness (even briefly).
  • Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes.

Concussion symptoms reported:

  • Headache or “pressure” in head.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Balance problems or dizziness, or double or blurry vision.
  • Bothered by light or noise.
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy.
  • Confusion, or concentration or memory problems.
  • Just not “feeling right,” or “feeling down”.

HEADS UP

HEADS UP Concussion prevention program is a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-sponsored program that works to provide trainings and resources centered on concussion prevention in youth sports and activities for children of all ages. Keeping children and teens healthy and safe is always a top priority. Whether parent, youth sports coach, school coach, school professional, or health care provider, the CDC’s HEADS UP website will help you recognize, respond to, and minimize the risk of concussion or other serious brain injury.

For more information on HEADS UP, visit the CDC website.

Motor vehicle crash deaths declining among SC kids

By Katie Philpott

New data from the CDC shows that motor vehicle crash deaths among children are decreasing nationally, but there is still work to do to ensure kids stay safe while riding in cars.

South Carolina is seeing similar declines in motor vehicle fatalities in young children. Preliminary numbers from the S.C. Department of Public Safety show that fatalities in children ages 0 to 12 years dropped from 19 in 2011, to nine in 2013.

The diligent work of DHEC’s injury and violence prevention team has helped these numbers go down. Our staff works daily with local and national partners to offer free child safety seat inspections, teach child passenger safety classes in the community, and work with law enforcement to make sure our kids stay safe in moving vehicles.

To learn more about the ways we’re working to help more children stay safe while riding in cars, visit our website. Our partners at Buckle Buddies also have some great tips and resources.