Tag Archives: prevention

Great American Smokeout: Commit To A Healthy, Smoke-free Life

Catherine Warner
Outreach Coordinator
Division of Tobacco Prevention and Control

Public health advocates will observe the 43rd annual Great American Smokeout (GASO) on Thursday, Nov. 15. GASO is an opportunity for everyone to commit to healthy, smoke-free lives — not just for a day — but year-round.

Quitting is difficult. It takes commitment and a plan; and it often takes more than one try.  This is why GASO shouldn’t necessarily be considered the day to quit smoking for good, but rather the day to start the journey toward a smoke-free life. Support from friends and family is helpful, as is getting advice from your healthcare provider.

Free support is also available from the certified quit coaches at the SC Tobacco Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW). Personalized for each registered caller, the tips and support offered through the SC Tobacco Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW) can help smokers succeed when they are ready to quit. Most callers are eligible to receive free over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapies, such as nicotine gum, patch, or lozenge — regardless of insurance coverage.

GASO gives us all a great opportunity to promote tobacco-free lifestyles to co-workers, clients, friends, and family. It’s important to our work at DHEC because tobacco prevention touches on nearly every public health program area. From flu prevention to family planning, diabetes to heart disease and stroke, tobacco users are more likely to experience negative health consequences impacting nearly every organ in the body.  Lower rates of tobacco use can decrease incidence of respiratory infections, infertility, pre-term births and low birth weight babies, Type II diabetes, periodontal disease, many cancers, heart attacks, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and tobacco-related health disparities.

If you would like to encourage smokers to participate in GASO, materials from the American Cancer Society are also available on their website. Free posters, brochures, and other print items are also available through the DHEC Educational Materials Library. You can also call 898-2287 to place an order over the phone.  Getting the word out about GASO is not only a solid investment in public health, it could truly save the life of someone you love. Support, encourage, and promote smoke-free lives.  And if you smoke, call the SC Tobacco Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW) for free help. Para recibir ayuda de la línea estatal para dejar de fumar: 1-855-DÉJELO-YA (1-855-335-3569).

Vaccination Remains Your Best Flu Protection

Fall means football games, colorful leaves, cooler weather, and pumpkin spice. It also means another flu season is upon us. The flu vaccine can keep you from getting sick with flu. Make getting your flu shot another fall tradition.

It’s important to know that the flu vaccine cannot cause the flu. With any medicine, including vaccines, there is a chance of reactions. Most people who get a flu shot do not encounter problems. The most common reaction after the vaccine is soreness or redness where the shot was given. Some people may have some mild symptoms like fever or body aches after the shot, which may last for one or two days. It takes your body about two weeks to build up protection after you get vaccinated.

Getting your flu vaccine is easy in South Carolina. Most insurances, including Medicare Part B, cover the flu vaccine. You can get your flu vaccine from your health care provider, DHEC health departments or most local pharmacies. A prescription isn’t needed for children age 12 and older or adults to get their flu vaccine at the pharmacy (age may vary by pharmacy).

Flu vaccines at DHEC Health Departments are now available by appointment. Call 1-855-472-3432 to make an appointment.  To find a non-DHEC flu vaccine provider, go to http://flushot.healthmap.org/.

Have A Healthy, Enjoyable Trip To The SC State Fair

scstatefair - fair gate 2

Photo courtesy of the SC State Fair.

The 149th annual S.C. State Fair will soon be open (October 10-21) and attendees of all ages will once again enjoy funnel cakes, live music, and amusement rides. To help ensure you enjoy your time at the fair, listed below are a few health tips to keep in mind while strolling beneath the neon lights of the Midway.

Always Wash Your Hands

When

  • Before eating and drinking
  • Before and after visiting animal exhibits
  • After using the restroom
  • After playing a carnival game
  • After going on a ride

How

  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and running water.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if running water is not available.

“Keeping hands clean is one of the most important things we can do to stop the spread of germs and stay healthy.” (CDC, 2017)

Things to Avoid

  • Don’t take food or drinks into animal exhibits.
  • Don’t eat, drink, or place anything in your mouth while visiting animal exhibits.
  • Don’t take toys, pacifiers, cups, baby bottles, or strollers into animal exhibits.
  • Don’t enter animal exhibits if you are experiencing any type of illness, particularly flu-like symptoms (e.g. fever, cough, sore throat).
  • Avoid close contact with any animals who appear ill.

Things to Remember

  • Eat ‘hot’ foods while they are still hot and eat ‘cold’ foods while they are still cold.
  • Take extra care to observe these health tips when visiting animal exhibits to prevent diarrheal illness and other infections that animals may carry. This is particularly important for certain groups, including:
  • Children younger than 5 years of age
  • Adults 65 years and older
  • Pregnant women
  • People with long-term health conditions such as, asthma, diabetes, heart disease, chronic respiratory disease, weakened immune systems, and neurological or neurodevelopmental conditions
  • Seek medical attention if you develop a fever accompanied with cough and/or sore throat, diarrhea, and/or vomiting within several days after visiting the fair.

Following these tips will help prevent infections.  Have fun!

 Resources

Center for Disease Control Food Safety at Fairs and Festivals

KNOW How to be Safe Around Animals

Take Action to Prevent the Spread of Flu Between Pigs and People

Wash Your Hands

Avoiding Mosquitoes After Rain, Flooding

Rain and flooding of the sort South Carolina has endured recently can saturate areas and leave standing water, which has the potential to become breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes can carry viruses such as West Nile. That is why it is important that we all do our part to reduce mosquito populations and protect our families from exposure to these pesky, and potentially harmful, insects.

Reduce mosquito breeding habitats.

It only takes as few as five days for water in containers as small as a bottle cap to become active breeding sites for mosquitoes.

  • Routinely empty any containers on your property that are holding water:
    • Pool covers
    • Flower pots
    • Tires
    • Pet bowls
    • Toys
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  • Remove debris from gutters.
  • Trim back thick shrubbery and overgrown grass on your property.
  • Fix leaky outdoor faucets.

Protect you and your family from mosquitoes and possible exposure to mosquito-borne illnesses.

  • Repair damaged or broken doors and screens.
  • Wear light-colored clothes with long sleeves and long pants.
  • Close garage doors at night.SprayHands-Zika2

If you must be outside when mosquitoes are active, applying a mosquito repellent can help protect you from bites.

Visit the DHEC website for more information about protecting yourself against mosquitoes. You can also visit the site to find contact information for the local mosquito control program in your area.

World Mosquito Day: Protect Yourself And Your Family

World Mosquito Day (August 20) isn’t a day off for the pesky insects that can transmit diseases. Neither should you take the day off from avoiding bites and ridding your homes and WorldMosquitoDayImageyards of areas where mosquitoes breed.

Mosquitoes can spread diseases such as West Nile. The most common diseases that could potentially be carried by mosquitoes in South Carolina, home to at least 61 different species, include: West NileEastern Equine EncephalitisLa Crosse encephalitis, Saint Louis encephalitis virus, and dog/cat heartworm.

Although August 20 is the mosquito’s day, so to speak, DHEC urges residents to not feed or house the insects. Take precautions to avoid mosquito bites and rid your home and yard of areas where they breed.

Reduce the numbers of adult mosquitoes around your home.

  • Drain, fill or eliminate sites that have standing water.
  • Empty or throw away containers — from bottles and jars to tires and kiddie pools — that have standing water.

Keep mosquitoes outside: Use air conditioning or make sure that you repair and use window/door screens.

Avoid Mosquitoes: Most mosquito species bite during dawn, dusk, twilight hours and night. Some species bite during the day, especially in wooded or other shaded areas. Avoid exposure during these times and in these areas.

Wear insect repellent: When used as directed, the proper insect repellent is the BEST way to protect yourself from mosquito bites — even children and pregnant women should protect themselves.

Cover up: When weather permits, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants.

So, apply the repellent, empty or get rid of containers in your yard holding water and have a Happy World Mosquito Day.

Click here to learn more about protecting yourself and your home from mosquitoes.

Visit the DHEC website to learn more about mosquitoes and the diseases they can spread.