Tag Archives: SCDHEC

DHEC in the News: Flu, heart health, safety of romaine lettuce

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

This flu season one of South Carolina’s deadliest in recent years

Though flu season isn’t over, this one marked one of the deadliest years for the disease in recent South Carolina history, according to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

As of last week, 271 people have died across the state during the 2017-2018 flu season, passing last season by 177 people, according to Department of Health records.

 Flu season’s 271 deaths in SC were most in years

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Officials say this flu season in South Carolina was the deadliest in years, with over 100 deaths (more) than the previous one that had the most.

General Interest

Increasing exercise over 6-year span protects the heart

Heart failure affects about 5.7 million adults in the United States.

The most salient risk factors for this condition, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are: hypertension, a history of coronary heart disease or heart attacks, and diabetes.

Since this condition, once acquired, has to be managed for life, healthcare professionals recommend preventive strategies.

These usually involve making more healthful lifestyle choices by acquiring good dietary habits and exercising regularly.

Romaine lettuce likely safe to eat again, CDC says

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said they believe E. coli-tainted romaine lettuce blamed for more than 170 illnesses in 32 states is likely no longer in circulation.

DHEC in the News: Diabetes, certificates of need, mosquitoes and ticks

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

Participants sought for Prevent T2 diabetes prevention program; info sessions this week

Do you have prediabetes, high blood pressure or cholesterol or are you over age 18 and overweight? If so, you qualify to participate in a free program designed to prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes.

Prevent T2 is a year-long program designed for people with prediabetes, or what is also referred to as borderline diabetes, as well as those who are at high risk for type 2 diabetes and want to lower their risk.

Trident Medical Center applies for 2 certificates of need

Trident Medical Center has filed two certificates of need with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control for new health care facilities in North Charleston and on James Island.

General Interest

Illnesses from Mosquito, Tick, and Flea Bites Increasing in the US

Illnesses from mosquito, tick, and flea bites have tripled in the U.S., with more than 640,000 cases reported during the 13 years from 2004 through 2016.  Nine new germs spread by mosquitoes and ticks were discovered or introduced into the United States during this time.

DHEC Accepting Nominations for Community Star Award Program

DHEC is accepting nominations for the COMMUNITY STAR award program now through Aug. 1, 2018. COMMUNITY STAR recognizes a business, community organization, collaborative partnership or individual in South Carolina that is going above and beyond environmental requirements to build better community relationships, promote environmental sustainability and resiliency, and/or improve quality of life for communities.

COMMUNITY STAR categories include Business Star, Collaborative Star and Rising Star. Award recipients will be announced at DHEC’s annual Environmental Assistance Conference, which will be held later in the fall. Last year’s COMMUNITY STAR was awarded to the Lower Saluda River Coalition, which works to make water quality information more frequently and readily available to river users so they can make informed decisions on when to recreate in the river.

For more information about DHEC’s COMMUNITY STAR award program or to fill out a nomination form, visit www.scdhec.gov/Environment/CommunityStar.

It’s Spring: Time To Protect Yourself And Your Family From Mosquitoes

Spring is here, following yet another warm winter in South Carolina. As you and your family are heading outside, remember that now is one of the most important times to start thinking about and taking action aimed at protecting your love ones from the pesky insects — even if mosquitoes are the “unofficial state bird!”

Mosquitoes known to carry diseases

South Carolina is home to at least 61 different species of mosquito. Anyone who has lived here for any length of time has encountered the itch-inducing menace on an almost daily basis during summer and fall. Hunters have literally been chased out of the woods, never to return (OK, maybe not literally)! Most of the time, we’re only concerned with the pain or itchiness from a mosquito’s bite – we don’t worry about getting sick. It is true, however, that mosquitoes can transmit disease.

Some mosquitoes in South Carolina have been known to carry West Nile virusEastern equine encephalitis virus, and other viruses or parasites. Although there has been heightened concern recently over Zika virus, no confirmed cases have occurred in South Carolina from South Carolina mosquitoes. All known cases of Zika in South Carolina, to date, have been travel or sexual contact related.

Do your part to help control mosquitoes

Joining forces and doing our part to combat the threat of mosquito-borne viruses and parasites is critical. We must be vigilant about controlling the mosquito population in our own yards and communities, while protecting ourselves from bites. Remove, empty, or fill any objects in your yard or home that might hold water in order to eliminate breeding sites.

In surveying your property for mosquito breeding spots, leave literally no stone unturned. Drain, fill, or get rid of areas that hold water.

  • Clear out weeds, leaves, dirt, and other debris from pipes.clean-gutters-istock_000006269745medium
  • Repair leaky pipes and outdoor faucets.
  • Regularly clean out rain gutters and downspouts.
  • Empty and turn over containers that hold water such as cans, jars, drums, bottles, flower pots, buckets, children’s toys, wheel barrows, old appliances, and plastic sheeting or tarps used to cover objects like grills or swimming pools, etc.
  • Make sure that all permanent water containers such as wells, septic tanks, cisterns, water tanks, and cesspools are tightly covered and insect-proof.
  • Change the water in bird baths and empty and clean out children’s wading pools at least once a week.
  • Clean out and change the water in your pet’s water bowl or trough every day.
  • Larger troughs for livestock should be cleaned out on a weekly basis.
  • Cover trash containers and garbage cans to keep rainwater from accumulating.
  • Drain or get rid of old tires by recycling them.

Avoid mosquito bites

If you are outside, wear protective clothing. Long pants and long-sleeved shirts are more repellent_iStock_26736429_XXLARGEprotective than you might think. You may also choose to apply a mosquito repellent — either a spray or wipe — per manufacturer instructions to help shield you from bites. Avoid wearing perfume or scented products. Also, keep car windows rolled up and garage doors closed at night. Ensure all of your windows and doors have screens or seal properly.

Visit DHEC’s mosquito information page for additional information about protecting yourself from mosquito bites, eliminating breeding areas, contacting local mosquito control, and more.

Announcing DHEC’s CDC Childhood Immunization Champion Award Winner

DHEC is proud to announce that Dr. Eliza Varadi has been selected as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Childhood Immunization Champion for South Carolina. CDC and the CDC Foundation hold this annual awards program to honor immunization champions across the 50 U.S. states, eight U.S. Territories and Freely Associated States, and the District of Columbia during National Infant Immunization Week (April 21-28).

A champion for patients/caregiversVaradi pic

Dr. Varadi was nominated and selected from a distinguished pool of health professionals, community advocates, and other immunization leaders for making a significant contribution to public health in South Carolina through her work in childhood immunization.

Dr. Varadi is a champion for vaccines for patients and their parents/caregivers.  She educates parents about the importance of vaccines at prenatal visits and offers parents and caregivers Tdap and flu vaccine in her office to make sure they are protected. She also takes the time at sick visits to make sure children are up to date on their vaccines. Dr. Varadi is committed to dispelling misinformation about vaccines and is currently conducting a social media project where she posts reputable information about vaccines on her practice’s Facebook and Twitter pages. She has also participated in several initiatives to increase adolescent immunizations in her practice with excellent success.

Advocates who go the extra mile

Young children rely on the champions in their lives to keep them safe and healthy. Champions may be doctors and nurses who share scientifically accurate, up-to-date information about vaccines with parents. They may be advocates who go the extra mile to ensure that all children in their communities have access to vaccines. They may be public health professionals who work behind the scenes tracking immunization data, coordinating vaccine logistics, or developing public awareness campaigns. They may be parents who share their personal stories about vaccination with their communities.

When families, healthcare professionals, and public health officials work together, all children can be protected from serious and deadly vaccine-preventable diseases. Dr. Varadi is an inspiration to all of us who care about children’s health in South Carolina. We are pleased and honored to congratulate her on this well-deserved award.

We also would like to recognize the other nominees for the S.C. award, as they all are champions for childhood immunization in the Palmetto State. They are Dr. Deborah Greenhouse (Palmetto Pediatrics, Columbia, SC), Dr. Calvin James (Family Health Centers, Inc., Orangeburg, SC) and Dr. Hannah Wakefield (MUSC Department of Pediatrics, Charleston, SC).  Congratulations to all nominees!

To read Dr. Varadi’s and other award winners’ profiles, click here.

About National Infant Immunization Week

National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) is an annual observance to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases and to celebrate the achievements of immunization programs in promoting healthy communities throughout the United States. Each year, during NIIW, communities across the U.S. celebrate the CDC Childhood Immunization Champions. These award recipients are being recognized for the important contributions they have made to public health through their work in childhood immunization.