Tag Archives: medicine

Leading Health Experts Emphasize Five Effective Ways To Prevent Birth Defects

Every 4 ½ minutes a baby is born with a birth defect in the United States. It doesn’t have to be that common. That’s why DHEC is joining with leading prenatal health experts from the National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Academy of Pediatrics, the March of Dimes, Teratology Society and MotherToBaby this month to increase awareness of five critical tips to reduce the chances of having a baby with a birth defect.

The National Birth Defects Prevention Month campaign theme, Best for You. Best for Baby,” aims to raise awareness about the infants born with birth defects in South Carolina each year. In 2017, 1,142 infants were identified by the SC Birth Defects Program as having a birth defect. While we can’t prevent all birth defects, the following steps increase a woman’s chance of having a healthy baby.

  1. Be sure to take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day.
  • Folic acid is very important because it can help prevent some major birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine.
  1. Book a visit with your healthcare provider before stopping or starting any medicine.
  • There are often benefits to continuing treatment throughout pregnancy. Discussing a treatment plan before a pregnancy allows a woman and her health care provider to weigh the pros and cons of all options to keep mom and baby as healthy as possible.
  1. Become up-to-date with all vaccines, including the flu shot.
  • Having the right vaccinations, like the flu and Tdap vaccines, at the right time during pregnancy can help keep a woman and her baby healthy.
  1. Before you get pregnant, try to reach a healthy weight.
  • Obesity increases the risk for several serious birth defects and other pregnancy complications.
  1. Boost your health by avoiding harmful substances during pregnancy, such as alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
  • There is no known safe amount of alcohol that can be consumed during pregnancy and exposure to it can cause major birth defects.
  • Smoking during pregnancy can cause dangerous chemicals to damage the placenta and/or reach the baby’s bloodstream.
  • The opioid addiction epidemic has led to a sharp increase in Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), premature birth and drug withdrawal in developing babies.

According to Jason Salemi, PhD, MPH and president of the NBDPN, “Birth defects are a common cause of death in the first year of a baby’s life, but change happens through awareness.”

 How You Can Help

 DHEC encourages health advocates as well as the public to be an active participant in National Birth Defects Prevention Month. Follow and share #Best4YouBest4Baby messages on social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin. The complete 2019 NBDPN Birth Defects Prevention Month information packet, including this year’s primary tips for birth defects prevention, “Best for You. Best for Baby. 5 Tips for Preventing Birth Defects,” is available online at: www.nbdpn.org/bdpm.php.

Additional Resources to Support Healthy Pregnancies

 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) strives to advance the health and well-being of our nation’s most vulnerable populations.

www.cdc.gov/birthdefects

 American Academy of Pediatrics

Dedicated to the health of all children, providing age-specific health information.

www.healthychildren.org

 MotherToBaby, a free service of the non-profit Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS)

Communicate directly with experts about exposures, like medications, vaccines and more during pregnancy and breastfeeding by calling toll free (866) 626-6847, texting questions to (855) 999-3525, live chatting or emailing at

www.MotherToBaby.org

The Teratology Society

An international and multidisciplinary group of scientists, including researchers, clinicians, epidemiologists and public health professionals from academia, government and industry who study birth defects, reproduction and disorders of developmental origin.

www.Teratology.org

March of Dimes

An organization aiming to make sure babies get the strongest start possible as well as reducing the rate of prematurity.

www.marchofdimes.org

The SC Birth Defects program is committed to improving birth defects prevention, research, and referrals in South Carolina. The program can be reached at scbdp@dhec.sc.gov.

DHEC in the News: Flu, Drug Take Back Day, paralyzing illness

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

DHEC offers free flu shots at three locations Friday

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH) — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has set up three walk-in clinics for South Carolinians in the Upstate, Midlands and Low Country.

Free flu shots clinics will be held in Greenville, Lexington and North Charleston on Friday.

Residents urged to dispose of unused medicine

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control is encouraging residents to drop off unused, expired or unwanted prescription drugs at participating locations around the state during National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

General interest

Doctors have a No. 1 suspect for paralyzing illness

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it doesn’t know what’s causing a sudden rise in cases of a frightening, polio-like condition that leaves children paralyzed or with weakened limbs.

The No. 1 suspect had been a virus called enterovirus D68, or EV-D68. In 2014, a wave of cases of acute flaccid myelitis coincided with outbreaks of EV-D68 across the country.

But the CDC says it has not consistently found EV-D68 in confirmed cases since then. Officials say they’re looking at a range of possible causes.

DHEC: Safely Dispose of Unused Medicine during National ‘Take Back Day’

Too often, unused prescription drugs find their way into the wrong hands.

That’s why DHEC is encouraging residents to drop off unused, expired or unwanted prescription drugs at participating locations around the state during National Prescription Drug Take Back Day Saturday, Oct. 27.

Held twice a year, this national event organized by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) provides a safe, convenient and responsible way for the public to dispose of prescription drugs while also increasing awareness about the risks of unused or expired medicines, including those that remain easily accessible in medicine cabinets.

“While it’s easy to overlook, leaving old or unused prescription medicines in your home can be associated with a lot of risks, including being mistaken for other medications and being abused by someone seeking recreational drugs,” said Shelly Kelly, DHEC’s Director of Health Regulations. “DHEC is proud to support the ‘Take Back Day’ initiative to assure medicines are disposed of properly.”

Studies show a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained  ̶  often unknowingly  ̶  from family and friends. Take Back Day aims to restrict household drug theft, reduce childhood overdoses, limit the accumulation of drugs by the elderly and protect the environment from pharmaceutical contamination that can be caused by improper disposal of medications.

To find Take Back Day drop-off locations throughout South Carolina, visit takebackday.dea.gov and use the collection site locator. Medicines can be dropped off from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at participating locations. The event is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

During the April 2018 Take Back Day, Americans turned in 474.5 tons of prescription drugs at more than 5,800 locations.

For details, visit takebackday.dea.gov or contact the DEA at 202-307-1000. For more information about DHEC’s recommendations for disposing of unwanted medicine, visit scdhec.gov.

From Other Blogs: Men’s health, carbon monoxide poisoning, the truth about juice & more

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

Tips for men to protect their health

Men, you and your health go hand in hand. As a reminder to make sure you are living a healthy life, here are tips to help you protect your health and well-being.

Cecelia M. Baskett, MD, family medicine physician at Lakeview Family Medicine, said, “Unfortunately, I see men who have neglected their health and now have advanced stage of disease because they did not come in to be screened. It is beneficial to everyone’s health to see a family medicine or internist every few years at a minimum. Many times we can help you prevent long-term negative effects on your lifestyle if you come in.” — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning Prevention

When power outages occur after severe weather, using alternative sources of power can cause carbon monoxide (CO) to build up in a home and poison the people and animals inside.

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. — From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Your Health — Your Environment blog

Squeezing the truth out of juice

Juice. We all have our favorite, whether it’s grape, apple, orange, pineapple, tropical punch. . .the list goes on and on. Everywhere we go, we’re reminded of its evil sweetness. Just walk into any grocery store and you will find an entire side of an aisle devoted to juices of infinite variety, all of it boxed, bottled and canned in the most colorful, eye-popping and kid-appealing ways.

Thanks to industry marketing tactics, many people continue to think juice is actually a healthy drink option for their kids. — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline Keeps You “Food Safe” in the Summer!

Whether it’s a family BBQ, camping, hiking or going to the beach, summer activities can get hot! When food is a part of those activities, keep in mind the old saying: Safety first!

USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline is here to help you with food safety for all your summer plans. It has been assisting Americans with all types of food safety questions and concerns since 1985. Here are just a few… — From the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) blog

5 Common Flood Insurance Myths

The National Flood Insurance Program has worked to protect the life you’ve built for the past 50 years and will continue to do so into the future.  Don’t let rumors and myths drive your decisions.

Here are the five most common myths about flood insurance. — From the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) blog

DHEC in the News: National STD Awareness Month, opioids

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

DHEC encourages HIV testing during National STD Awareness Month

COLUMBIA — April is National STD Awareness Month and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is encouraging South Carolinians to get STD screenings.

To assist in these prevention efforts, DHEC’s public health clinics will be offering free testing on Wednesday, April 18. The department urges those at risk for any STD to talk with their healthcare professional about getting tested or request testing at one of the public health clinics.

General Interest

As the opioid epidemic rages on, S.C. schools must decide how to teach students about drugs

Given the growing problem of opioid addictions and overdose deaths in South Carolina, the state’s Department of Education has new expectations of health educators.

For example, children in kindergarten should know the difference between drugs of abuse and medicine.