Tag Archives: schools

National Immunization Awareness Month

By Betsy Crick


August means back to school, and it’s also National Immunization Awareness Month. While you’re buying school supplies and planning to meet your child’s teacher for the very first time – don’t forget the most important item on your list: making sure your son’s or daughter’s vaccinations are up to date.

Important Updates:

  • Children in 5-year-old kindergarten and first grade are required to have two doses of chicken pox vaccine.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends two doses for better protection against the disease.
  • South Carolina 7th, 8th and 9th graders are required to have one dose of tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis booster vaccine.  This booster vaccine is called Tdap.  In addition, there are other vaccines recommended for adolescents, including vaccines to protect them against meningitis and HPV-associated cancers.  Talk to your health care provider about these adolescent vaccines.
  • Flu season is just around the corner!  CDC recommends that everyone who is 6 months of age and older and can receive the flu vaccine should get the vaccine as soon as it is available.  Stay tuned for more information about school-located vaccine clinics which will be offered this fall.

Click here for the 2015-2016 “Required Standards of Immunization for School Attendance” and the “Required Standards of Immunization for Day Care Attendance.”

Many illness outbreaks in schools and child care facilities are due to vaccine-preventable diseases such as flu and pertussis. Getting all required vaccines is important and is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of disease.

Talk with your child’s health care professional to find out which vaccines your child may need. To locate the DHEC Clinic nearest to you, please visit our website.

Healthy Habits:
There are some other actions you can take to help protect yourself, your family and those around you from getting sick, including:

  • Frequent handwashing. Wash your hands with soap under warm running water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Cover your cough with a tissue or the crook of your elbow – not your hands. Be sure to cover your mouth and nose. If using a tissue, throw it in the trash immediately and wash your hands.
  • Stay away from others who are obviously sick. The best way to avoid them is by keeping a safe distance.
  • Stay home from work, school and errands when you’re sick. You don’t want to make others around you sick.
  • Live healthy. Keep yourself strong by eating properly, exercising, and getting plenty of rest.

Oh SNAP! DHEC’s Shorus Manning receives glowing review for helping students make healthy choices


By Cassandra Harris

As part of her work at the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), Shorus Manning travels to elementary schools across South Carolina to help students develop skills for making healthier food and lifestyle choices. Noting her professionalism and caring attitude, Parent Teacher Liaison Freddie Harrell recently took the time to share glowing remarks on Manning’s continued efforts to provide nutrition services to the students and teachers at JP Thomas Elementary.

“She is doing an excellent job here at our school,” said Harrell. “The teachers, as well as the students, love her and they look forward to working with her each year.”

During her most recent visit, Harrell explained, “The moment she walked up to the classroom there was an uproar because she remembered the students, and they remembered her, from kindergarten.”

Manning is a registered and licensed dietitian for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)-Education program with the Office of Professional and Community Nutrition Services here at DHEC. Working with stakeholders across the state, she provides nutritional education to individuals in a variety of settings, including elementary schools, head starts, senior centers, churches, and parks and recreation sites, among many others. Continue reading

Concussions: More than a game changer

By Stephen Hudson

If it’s August, then it must be football season in the Palmetto State. As players take to the gridiron with football practice and games this fall, it remains important to take precaution when it comes to reducing the risk of concussions.

A common injury in athletes, a concussion is a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) with serious, sometimes lethal, repercussions.  A study recently released by the Colorado School of Public Health and the University of Colorado at Denver found that five to six concussions occur among high school football players per 10,000 games or practices each year.

And it’s not just football players. Many of our young athletes in other sports are also susceptible to head traumas. For instance, soccer players can get concussions when hitting the ball with their head. In addition, research shows that female athletes often suffer from sports-related concussions more often than males, and recover slower.

Concussions need to be taken seriously, both on and off the field. Here in South Carolina TBI leads to 11,500 emergency room visits each year, mostly due to falls and motor vehicle accidents. Teachers, coaches, parents and athletes should all know the warning signs of a concussion. Some key signs to be aware of include difficulty remembering, headaches, sensitivity to light and irritability.

If you suspect someone is suffering from a TBI, please get them medical attention quickly.

SC Gaining Traction on Preteen Vaccinations

By Jamie Shuster

Preteen VaccinationsThe CDC just released the results of their National Immunization Survey-Teen and there is good news for South Carolina students. The percentage of young people ages 13-17 who received a Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) vaccine rose from 64.9% to 71.9% between 2012 and 2013. During this same time period, meningococcal coverage also rose from 58.5% to 68.7%.

But the biggest gain came in HPV coverage. South Carolina saw an 18.5% increase in females who received one or more doses of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine between 2012 and 2013, jumping from 41.9% to 60.4% and prompting national recognition from the CDC for our impressive increase in coverage rates.

So how did we achieve this success? Continue reading