Tag Archives: Safety

DHEC in the News: Fireworks safety, mosquitoes

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

The reality of fireworks on the Fourth

You’ve heard the message for years. And it’s been ignored for years: Fireworks are dangerous and should only be used in supervised situations.

An estimated 7,600 of the total 11,000 fireworks-related injuries from two summers ago were treated in hospital emergency departments during the period between June 18 and July 18, 2016, according to a report by the Consumer Products Safety Commission and its National Electronic Injury Surveillance System.

This July 4th many Americans and South Carolinians will continue the long tradition of lighting up the night with fireworks. While the displays are visually compelling, people should put safety first.

Columbia Fire Dept. offers 4th of July fireworks safety tips

COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) – The Columbia Fire Department wants you to have a safe and fun 4th of July, but they’re also stressing the importance of staying safe.

“Fireworks are exciting to see this time of year, but they are dangerous when misused not only for the operator but also for bystanders and nearby structures,” said Bengie Leverett, Public Fire Education Officer at Columbia-Richland Fire Rescue. “Everyone is urged to use extreme precaution when using the devices.”

Lowcountry mosquitoes deadlier than sharks? 4 tips you need to know about bug spray

Mosquitoes — along with their fiendish neighbors no-see-ums — can make being outdoors in the Lowcountry unpleasant.

That’s not to mention the diseases mosquitoes can transmit via their bites, such as West Nile and Eastern equine encephalitis viruses, both of which were recorded in South Carolina in 2017, according to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

DHEC in the News: Fireworks safety tips, insect-borne diseases, most-Googled health problems by state

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

DHEC offers July 4th Fireworks Safety Tips

COLUMBIA, S.C. – This July 4th many Americans and South Carolinians will continue the long tradition of lighting up the night with fireworks. While the displays are visually compelling, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control is urging everyone to put safety first if they are participating in any firework activities.

These insect-borne diseases are on the rise. Greenville County can help you prevent them.

West Nile virus, Lyme disease and even plague are among the many diseases spread to people by mosquitoes, ticks and fleas, and nationwide the number of these illnesses tripled between 2004 and 2016.

What’s more, nine new insect-borne infections were identified or introduced in the country during that time, according to the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

With summer bringing more time outdoors at backyard picnics, camping in the forest and lounging by the lake, the potential for getting one of these infections increases.

General Interest

The most-Googled health problems by state
The medical condition U.S. patients Googled most frequently in 2018 was attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, with nine states searching for this condition more than any other health concern, a report from Medicare Health Plans found. …

Here are the most-Googled health problems by state for this year …

From Other Blogs: Lightning, preventing and treating sunburn, wildlife disease surveillance & more

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

Lightning Safety

The weather forecast calls for a slight chance of thunderstorms, but you can only see a few fluffy white clouds overhead. So you and your tennis partner grab your racquets and balls and head for the tennis court. You spend a few minutes warming up and then —wait! Is that thunder you hear? Was that a lightning flash?

What do you do? Keep playing until the thunder and lightning get closer? Go sit on the metal bench under the trees to see what happens? Or get in your car and drive home?

Correct answer: If no substantial, non-concrete shelter is nearby, get in your car and wait out the storm. — From the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Your Health — Your Environment blog

Don’t feel the burn: Tips for preventing and treating sunburn

It’s that time of year. School is out. The lake is calling your name. The water is warm at the beach, and you want to spend as much time outside as possible. Katie Schill, nurse practitioner with Palmetto Health’s Mobile Clinic, offers some advice on how to prevent sunburns while enjoying time outdoors. — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

Sniffing Out Disease: Dogs Trained for Wildlife Disease Surveillance

Odin is a Labrador retriever/border collie mix. By watching his wagging tail and alert expression, Colorado State University researcher Dr. Glen Golden can sense he is eager to begin his training.

Odin is one of five dogs recently adopted from shelters and animal rescue centers to become detector dogs for wildlife disease surveillance. The dogs are housed and trained at the USDA-APHIS National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC) in Fort Collins, Colorado. They are part of a collaborative 12-month program to evaluate the effectiveness of training and using dogs to detect and identify waterfowl feces or carcasses infected with avian influenza (AI). — From the US Department of Agriculture blog

Soaking in Another Victory

It’s a four-peat.

For the fourth consecutive year, the University of Maryland, College Park has won high honors in EPA’s Campus RainWorks Challenge, a national collegiate competition to design the best ideas for capturing stormwater on campus before it can harm waterways. — From the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) blog

Have a safe and fun-filled summer

The weather is heating up, children are fast moving toward the final days of school and visions of summer fun are dancing in the heads of families all across South Carolina. Have fun, but be careful.

While Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial beginning of cookout season and summer fun, significant health and safety hazards are lurking out there that can spoil a good time if we’re not safe.

Stay safe when swimming

Memorial weekend typically brings with it the openings of swimming pools and other outdoor water activities. Swimming in an ocean or pool is an excellent outdoor activity for the whole family and it’s important to make sure everyone is equipped with sunscreen to protect themselves from harmful, burning ultraviolet (UV) rays. Practicing sun safety plays an important role in the prevention of skin cancer, the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States. Apply broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15 before going outdoors. Reapply sunscreen if it wears off after swimming, sweating or toweling off.

Protect yourself from insect bites

Sunscreen isn’t all you should arm yourself with: Use an insect repellent containing Deet to protect your family from insects while outdoors.  The repellent is safe and, when used as directed, is the best way to protect against mosquito bites, ticks and other biting insects; children and pregnant women should protect themselves also. The bite of insects such as mosquitoes can potentially do more than cause irritating itching; mosquitoes can also transmit diseases such as West Nile and Zika.

Watch out for rip currents

It’s also important to be knowledgeable about rip currents or rip tides at the beach. Rip currents are responsible for many deaths on our nation’s beaches every year and can occur in any body of water that has breaking waves, not just the ocean. Currents at the beach can move to different locations along the coast and can be deadly both to swimmers and those in waist deep water where the rip current occurs. Be sure to check in with lifeguards, who can alert you to areas that have rip current potential.

Here are some more tips to keep you and your family safe and healthy at the beach or pool:

  • Always supervise children when in or around water.
  • Dress in loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing if it is hot outside. Stay cool with cool showers or baths. Seek medical care immediately if anyone has symptoms of heat-related illness, including a headache, nausea, dizziness, heavy sweating, and an elevated body temperature.iStock_51595250_XXLARGE cute kids swim class
  • Stay hydrated. Your body loses fluids through sweat. Drink more water than usual — two to four cups of water every hour you are outside. Also, try to avoid alcohol intake to prevent dehydration.
  • Cover up. Clothing that covers your skin helps protect against UV rays. Be sure to apply sunscreen to exposed skin.
  • Be aware of swim and water quality advisories and avoid swimming in those areas.
  • Do not enter the water with cuts, open sores or lesions; naturally-occurring bacteria in the water may cause infection.
  • Do not swim in or allow children to play in swashes of water or near storm water drainage pipes. These shallow pools are caused by runoff from paved surfaces and often contain much higher levels of bacteria and pollutants than the ocean. Permanent water quality advisories are indicated by signs in these areas.
  • Do not swim in the ocean during or immediately following rainfall. Heavy rain can wash bacteria and possibly harmful pollutants into the surf. To reduce the risk of illness, wait at least 12 hours after a heavy rain to resume swimming.
  • Be sure to check your local news and weather forecast for information on heat and beach advisories before planning any type of outdoor activities.

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