Tag Archives: Public Health

DHEC introduces Public Health Data App

DHEC has introduced a new, innovative web portal to help answer public health questions. DHEC’s County Health Profiles allows users to access state and county health data and compare data sets.

The user-friendly application combines the most recent data available from a variety of sources within and outside of DHEC. Data is displayed in maps, tables, snapshots, and graphs. Some additional features of the web application are:

  • Ability to compare multiple counties
  • County rankings for most indicators
  • Ability to compare county estimates to the state
  • Printable PDF tables for each county
  • Clear definitions and explanatory notes

Along with its unique features, users can find data from various categories like births, infant mortality, chronic diseases, health care access, mortality, and so much more.

Learn more about DHEC’s County Health Profiles at https://gis.dhec.sc.gov/chp/.

Charleston Water System and SCDHEC Unite For Community Water Fluoridation

Bet you didn’t know that the Charleston Water System (CWS) and the S. C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), Division of Oral Health, work together to provide public health benefits.

In what way you ask?

Recently the two organizations worked together to adopt a position statement supporting community water fluoridation. Fluoride is commonly found in water but most of the time, not enough to make a real impact.

Although oral health in the United States is much better today than it was many years ago, cavities are still one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), community water fluoridation is the most cost-effective way to deliver fluoride to people of all ages, education levels, and income levels who live in a community.

Fluoride has been proven to protect teeth from decay as well. Although fluoride-containing products, such as toothpaste, mouth rinses, and dietary supplements areFlouridation Graphic25percent available and contribute to the prevention and control of tooth decay, community water fluoridation has been identified as the most cost-effective method of delivering fluoride to all, reducing tooth decay by 25 percent in children and adults.

Following the recommendations of many other organizations such as the World Health Organization, American Medical Association, Canadian Medical Association, CDC, American Dental Association, Canadian Dental Association, South Carolina Dental Association and other professional organizations in the medical community, the CWS works to adjust the naturally occurring level of fluoride in our drinking water in a responsible, effective, and reliable manner that includes monitoring and controlling fluoride levels as mandated by state and/or federal laws, regulations and recommendations.

For more information on what DHEC does to support community water fluoridation in local communities, contact Wes Gravelle.

References: 1 Griffin SO, Regnier E, Griffin PM, Huntley VN. Effectiveness of fluoride in preventing caries in adults. J Dent Res. 2007;86(5):410–414.

Flouridation Large Infographic

DHEC in the News: swimming advisory lifted, Duke Endowment grant, Shem Creek, 111 candles

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

A swimming advisory for a portion of Surfside Beach has been lifted. For access to advisories, tide tables, forecasts and more, visit the coastal resources hub on our website.

RMC Vice President of Strategy & Compliance Brenda Williams led the creation of the Tri-County Health Network as a nonprofit organization in 2012 and currently serves as chair of the network.

“Receiving a grant from The Duke Endowment is a great acknowledgment of the work the Tri-County Health Network is doing in our communities,” Williams said.

“Since its creation, the network has made a significant impact on health in Orangeburg, Calhoun and Bamberg counties by implementing a variety of programs, including community gardens, faith-based health programs, area health summits and chronic disease forums,” she said. “This funding will allow the network to have an even greater reach.”

  • Two areas of Shem Creek have still not been cleared for swimming:

The good news is that three areas previously flagged on Shem Creek for high levels of bacteria have been cleared for swimming after a Wednesday water quality test by the Charleston Waterkeeper.

Unfortunately, two of several areas on the report remain “in the red.”

Exposure to water is still discouraged at Brittlebank Park and James Island Creek (test site 2).

  • While DHEC doesn’t keep track of how many South Carolinians are over 100, we wish a happy birthday to Laura Wright, who celebrated her 111th birthday this week:

Laura Wright’s devotion to solving crossword puzzles was put on hold Thursday as family and friends celebrated her 111th birthday.

The retired teacher attributes her longevity to “the hands of the Lord.”

No one knows if she is the oldest person living in South Carolina, although amateur genealogists consulted by her relatives say she is in the running for that title.

For more news from DHEC, visit Live Healthy SC.

Maternal and Child Health shares information, tips for NPHW

During this National Public Health Week (April 3-9), divisions of the Bureau of Maternal and Child Health want to take a moment to highlight some programs as well as provide key information encouraging good health practices.

 Division of Children’s Health: First Sound

First Sound is South Carolina’s early hearing detection and intervention (EHDI) program. All babies delivered in birthing hospitals are screened for hearing loss before going home. Some babies will need further evaluation to confirm results.

It is very important that babies are screened and, if recommended, follow up with further testing. Hearing loss occurs in newborn infants more frequently than any other health condition for which screening is required. Hearing is extremely important for the development of speech and language skills. Early detection of hearing loss enables the infant to receive early intervention services to avoid developmental delays in speech and language. Age-appropriate language development is essential to success in school.

Women, Infants and Children program (WIC)

WIC is a special supplemental nutrition program that also provides breastfeeding information, support and assistance.

  • WIC offers a positive clinic environment that supports breastfeeding
  • WIC mothers are encouraged to breastfeed their infants, unless there is a medical reason not to.
  • WIC mothers choosing to breastfeed are provided support and information through peer counselors, certified lactation counselors and other experts. Support groups, classes and breastfeeding educational materials are also available.
  • Breastfeeding mothers are eligible to participate in WIC longer than non-breastfeeding mothers.
  • Breastfeeding mothers can receive breast pumps and other supplies, if appropriate, to help with the initiation and continuation of breastfeeding.
  • Mothers who exclusively breastfeed their infants receive an enhanced food package.

Division of Oral Health: A few brief messages dental health

  • Prevent tooth decay by brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste.
  • Pregnant women need to visit the dentist regularly even when pregnant.
  • Drink from the tap. Drinking fluoridated water is an easy way to prevent tooth decay.

Division of Women’s Health: Take precautions against Zika

The CDC recommends that pregnant women not travel to areas with Zika risk.

  • Avoid traveling to affected regions, especially if you are or are trying to become pregnant.
  • Travelers should wear repellent for at least two weeks after returning because that’s how long the virus stays in a person’s bloodstream.
  • If a mosquito bites a person who has Zika in their blood, that mosquito can pick up the virus and pass it on to another human when it takes its next blood meal.
  • Travelers should also wait at least six months to have unprotected sex after visiting an area with risk of Zika because the virus can persist in semen and in the vaginal tract long after symptoms emerge.

Division of Research and Planning: Safe sleep reminder for babies

A safe sleep environment can help reduce a baby’s risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related causes of infant death. This is a good reminder for parents, family members and other caregivers of any infant under one year of age. This 1-minute video shows the ABC‘s of how to create a safe sleep environment for baby – Alone, on his/her Back, in a Crib (or other safety approved sleep surface):  https://youtu.be/Rs9Jw3uIoaU.

For more information

Visit the DHEC website for more information on the agency’s observance of National Public Health Week. You can also go to the official National Public Health Week website.

DHEC’s environmental staff plays a role in improving public health

National Public Health Week (April 3-9) is a time to highlight the importance of public health, promote better health practices among residents — and, of course, celebrate those who work so hard in the field. Staff all across DHEC work to preserve and improve public health. That includes those in our environmental and environmental health programs.

DHEC’s environmental and environmental health programs provide many services that enhance and protect public health. They ensure that the following — and so much more — meet state regulatory requirements: the pools we swim in, the restaurants we eat in, the shippers that handle our shellfish, the landfills we take our trash to, the underground storage tanks that store our gasoline, the wastewater plants that treat our sewage, the drinking water plants that treat our water, the facilities that hold air permits, and the facilities that generate hazardous waste.

With offices located across the state, we are able to provide exceptional customer service, accountability, efficiency and response to regulated entities, local governments and members of the community.  We issue permits, inspect, sample, monitor and analyze as well as investigate complaints. Our day-to-day duties include:

  • Air quality monitoring, modeling and forecasting
  • Industrial air emissions permitting and compliance
  • Stormwater and wastewater permitting and compliance
  • Asbestos awareness and compliance
  • Dam safety
  • Drinking water protection
  • Hazardous, radioactive and infectious waste management
  • Onsite wastewater permitting and licensing
  • Rabies prevention
  • Food protection
  • Dairy and manufactured food protection
  • Laboratory certification
  • Lead risk assessment
  • Oil, chemical and nuclear emergency response programs
  • Air, water, wastewater, soil, fish, milk and dairy analysis
  • Complaint investigation

Visit the DHEC website for more information on the agency’s observance of National Public Health Week. You can also go to the official National Public Health Week website.