Tag Archives: medication

From Other Blogs: Reducing preterm births, debunking flu vaccine myths, breast cancer & more

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

Mission Possible: Reducing Disparities in Preterm Births in the United States

In 2001, a woman was transported to a Georgia hospital in preterm labor. She delivered a baby boy at 34 weeks gestation, six weeks before her due date. However, before this baby’s early birth, she was given medications to help her baby’s lungs mature more rapidly, and to slow down the labor. After her baby boy was delivered, his breathing was normal and he went home with his parents five days later. His name is Joseph, and he is my first son, born to my husband, Joe, and me.

Modern medical technology contributed to my successful preterm delivery outcome, but despite a wealth of medical resources, the United States has relatively high rates of preterm birth. Recently we’ve been losing ground in the fight to reduce preterm births, particularly among infants that are born late preterm (between 34-36 weeks gestation). — From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Conversations in Equity blog

Debunking Flu Vaccine Myths

Now is the right time to get a flu shot. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sporadic flu activity is already being reported in 42 states across the nation, including South Carolina. The flu vaccine is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from the flu. But a lot of people choose not to get it, saying it will give them flu symptoms or that it’s not worth it because doesn’t always work against all strains of the flu. In this WLTX news report, Dr. Joshua Prince of Lexington Family Medicine, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice, debunks these flu vaccine myths. — From the Lexington Medical Center blog

What you need to know about breast cancer

Did you know breast cancer affects 1 in every 8 women? This statistic might sound scary, but it probably does not come as a surprise. You can probably think of at least one person in your life who has been affected by breast cancer. The good news is the survival rate for people with breast cancer has been steadily rising since the 1990s. Julian Kim, MD, senior medical director of Oncology Services with Palmetto Health-USC Medical Group, shares information about breast cancer screenings and advancements in breast cancer treatment. — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

Workers Using Prescription Opioids and/or Benzodiazepines Can Face Safety and Health Risks

The opioid crisis that faces the nation has a great impact on workers and NIOSH has a comprehensive program to address opioids in workers. One issue of concern is workers who use prescription opioids and/or benzodiazepines for medically appropriate reasons.

Workers who use either prescription opioids or benzodiazepines or a combination of prescriptions for both of these drugs, for medical reasons, can face safety and health risks in U.S. workplaces, which employ 160 million people across all occupations [1].

Opioids treat moderate-to-severe pain, and benzodiazepine medications (sometimes called “benzos”, including diazepam and alprazolam) are sedatives often used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and other conditions [2]. In particular, patients with combined prescription use of both drugs may be more likely to become addicted or to die from an overdose [3]. — From the CDC’s NIOSH Science blog

From Other Blogs: Opioid overdoses, air quality, preventing infection & more

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

Raising Awareness to Prevent Prescription Opioid Overdoses

In 2016, 115 Americans died every day from an opioid overdose – that is more than 42,000 drug overdose deaths that involved an opioid including prescription opioids, heroin, and/or illicitly manufactured fentanyl. Prescription opioids (like hydrocodone, oxycodone, and morphine) are prescribed by doctors to treat moderate to severe pain, but have serious risks and side effects.

Anyone who takes prescription opioids can become addicted to them. Families across the county are dealing with the health, emotional, and economic effects of the opioid epidemic. The opioid overdose epidemic is a public health emergency and Americans of all races and ages are being killed by opioid overdoses. — From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Public Health Matters blog

Why the USDA Forest Service Monitors Air Quality during Wildland Fires

Air Quality Awareness Week raises mindfulness about the importance of air quality issues. The USDA Forest Service commemorates the week and its 2018 theme “Air Quality Where You Are” with partners. This year, the Forest Service is featuring one area where air resource management is essential – wildland firefighting.

Recognizing the growing threat that wildfire smoke poses to the health and safety of the public and fire personnel, the Forest Service partnered with other federal, state and tribal agencies to implement a proactive and determined response. This included development of new modeling techniques to more accurately characterize emissions from wildfires. It also included creation of a new position in the fire organization – the Air Resource Advisor (ARA). — From the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) blog

A Back to Basics Approach to Prevent Infection

It was hard to see it happen. We were watching a friend’s basketball game when the young boy fell down and began to bleed from a cut on his arm. The referee sent him out of the game and over to his coach who took out a bandage and slapped it on the wound without cleaning the cut. Calling a time-out, the coach put the boy back in the game.

My daughter and I looked at each other in disbelief.  My son, her brother, Rory, had fallen playing basketball in 2012. The gym teacher had applied a bandage without cleaning the wound. Despite us bringing him to his pediatrician and hospital when he began to feel ill, Rory died from septic shock four days later. The source of the infection that ravaged his body is believed to be from the scrape on his arm. — From the CDC’s Safe Healthcare blog

A Less Allergenic Peanut Extract for Use in Allergy Treatment

As baseball season gets into full swing, many fans enjoy traditional ballpark favorites like peanuts. But not everyone can safely savor this popular treat. Peanuts induce an allergic reaction in millions of Americans.

Peanut allergy is a major public health concern, especially for children. “This is the most common cause of anaphylaxis in children and has become more prevalent in recent years,” says recently retired Agricultural Research Service (ARS) food technologist Si-Yin Chung. Anaphylaxis is a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction that has a quick onset. — From the USDA blog

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Saturday, April 28, is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day , which aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse and medications.

A number of agencies, pharmacies, organizations and others across South Carolina are joining the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to give the public its 15th opportunity since 2010 to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. The national observance is held twice a year.

Find a location near you by visiting the DEA Diversion website and bring your pills for disposal.  You can drop off unused prescription drugs at between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday. (The DEA cannot accept liquids or needles or sharps, only pills or patches.)  The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

Last October, Americans set a record when they turned in a little more than 456 tons (over 912,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at more than 5,300 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,200 of its state and local law enforcement partners.  Overall, in its 14 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 9 million pounds—more than 4,500 tons—of prescription drugs.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue.  Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.  Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards.

For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about the April 28 Take Back Day event, go to the DEA Diversion website.

From Other Blogs: Spring cleaning your medicine cabinet and pantry, varying your vegetables, understanding why sleep is important to heart health & more

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

Spring clean your medicine cabinet

Spring cleaning—it’s a rite of passage as temperatures begin to heat up and the season starts to change. Remember to add your medicine cabinet, kitchen cupboard or wherever you keep medications to your spring cleaning list. — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

Planning Some Spring Cleaning? A Check List for a Food-Safe Pantry and Refrigerator

The refrigerator and pantry are where most people store their food. But these storage areas may also be one of the less frequently cleaned places in your home, which could be hazardous to your health. — From the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) blog

Why sleep is important to your heart

Heart disease is a leading cause of death in the United States, among men and women alike. Risk factors for heart disease include:

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Family history

While you may be familiar with these risk factors, insufficient sleep can greatly impact your heart as well.  — From Flourish

Going Nuts for Calories!

We all love nuts, but we’re careful not to eat too many because of the high fat calories. Now, there may be less to worry about. In a series of studies, USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) physiologists David Baer and Janet Novotny looked at how many calories of almonds, walnuts, and pistachios are used by the human body. There are a lot of factors to consider, such as whether the nuts are raw, roasted, or ground, and how well they’re chewed. — From the USDA blog

Vary Your Veggies without a High Cost: Corn Five Different Ways

Frozen corn is just as nutritious as its fresh counterpart. Frozen corn is a great vegetable to incorporate into any meal or side dish; it adds a touch of sweetness to the dish it complements. It’s quick and easy to prepare—no washing or chopping needed (what a time saver), plus it’s versatile and delicious. There are many ways to prepare frozen corn—baking, roasting, steaming, microwaving or even thawing out and adding to a salad. — From the USDA blog

Tracking Network Data Spotlight Poisonings

CDC’s Environmental Public Health Tracking Network (Tracking Network) connects people with vital public health information. It has data and information that can inform a wide variety of environmental and public health efforts. In recognition of National Poison Prevention Week, we’re highlighting data and information available on the Tracking Network that relate to poisonings. — From the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Your Health Your Environment blog

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.