Tag Archives: season

Get Your Flu Vaccine Now. Protect Yourself. Your Family. And Your Community.

It’s flu season again. It’s recommended that you get your flu vaccine now, before the flu virus begins spreading in our community. Last year’s flu season was one of the worst we’ve seen in recent years, with a high number of deaths and hospitalizations here in South Carolina and across the nation.

Flu vaccine is the best protection against the flu. Some people are more likely to get serious complications from the flu, such as pneumonia or blood infections. This includes infants and young children, older adults, pregnant women and anyone with chronic medical conditions like asthma, heart or lung disease and diabetes. By getting your flu vaccine, it helps to protect yourself and those around you!

Everyone 6 months and older should get vaccinated every flu season. Each season a new flu vaccine is made to protect against the flu viruses for the upcoming season.

Flu vaccines are available now at all county health departments. Go to http://scdhec.gov/flu/FluClinics/ to find the location closest to you. There are programs that provide no- or low-cost flu vaccines for eligible children and adults. Call 1-855-473-3432 to make an appointment.

To find a non-DHEC flu vaccine provider, go to http://vaccinefinder.org/ to search for the location closest to you, or talk to your health care provider.

Prepare ahead of time for possible tropical storms or hurricanes

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is encouraging citizens to get prepared for the Atlantic hurricane season, which is June 1 through November 30 each year.

Here is a list of preparedness tips from the CDC:

Visit the CDC website for more information on preparing for hurricanes or tropical storms. Also, many resources regarding hurricanes are available on the CDC Hurricanes website.

Protect Yourself Against Mosquito-borne Illnesses Such As West Nile Virus

With DHEC announcing on August 1 that an individual in South Carolina was reported to be sick from West Nile virus — the first such occurrence in the 2018 mosquito season  — it is important to protect yourself and your family against mosquito bites.

Be sure to pay attention to the most effective ways to prevent mosquito-borne illnesses:

  • Repellents help keep mosquitoes from biting. Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR 3535 according to label instructions.
  • Make sure that your doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep out mosquitoes.
  • Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property, including flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, birdbaths, old car tires, rain gutters and pet bowls.
  • Wearing light-colored clothing to cover the skin reduces the risk of bites.

“If you develop fever or other symptoms after being bitten by a mosquito, you should contact your health care provider,” said Dr. Linda Bell, SC State Epidemiologist.

What are the symptoms of West Nile virus disease?

  • Febrile illness in some people. About 1 in 5 people who are infected will develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Most people with this type of West Nile virus disease recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months.
  • Severe symptoms in a few people. Less than 1% of people who are infected will develop a serious neurologic illness such as encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues). The symptoms of neurologic illness can include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures, or paralysis.

For more information about preventing mosquito bites and the spread of West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses, go to www.scdhec.gov/mosquitoes. Learn more about West Nile virus at www.scdhec.gov/westnile.

DHEC in the News: HIV, hurricane season, Vitamin D supplements

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

Two thirds of patients with HIV had missed opportunities for prep

New findings from a retrospective cohort study revealed that 66% of patients newly diagnosed with HIV in South Carolina visited a health care facility before their diagnosis. The health care visits occurred after the CDC had issued interim guidance recommending daily pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, for patients at risk for HIV and, therefore, likely represent missed opportunities for its use, according to researchers.

General Interest

Hurricane season starts Friday. Here’s what forecasters predict will happen.

With surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean suggesting a less active hurricane season than previously thought, Tropical Meteorology Project lead scientist Phil Klotzbach on Thursday became the first of the forecasters to down-scale his earlier predictions.

He dropped one storm from each category which range from named-storms to catastrophic.

The numbers still suggest an active year.

Here’s How Vitamin D Supplements Can Help New Moms (And Newborns)

Vitamin D has been touted as a must-have vitamin in recent years as studies have shown that many Americans are deficient.

Getting vitamin D is important since it can help with calcium absorption and has roles in immune function and cell growth, among others. While the vitamin is found in some foods and can be obtained via ultraviolet light, nearly 50 percent of the population worldwide has insufficient levels, according to a 2012 study.

But understanding what’s the right amount of vitamin D for young children, pregnant women, and others, can be difficult.

From Other Blogs: Handwashing and food, arthritis, preparing for a hurricane or tropical storm & more

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

Give Yourself a Hand!

“Clean vs. dirty” is a concept that seems easy enough to understand. You know your jeans are dirty when they get grass stains on them, because you can easily see the stains. Seeing bacteria on your food is a different story. All foodborne bacteria are microscopic and can’t be seen with the naked eye, making it difficult to know if your foods have been cross-contaminated. Bacteria may come into contact with our foods from contaminated cooking equipment, utensils and even our hands. According to the 2016 FDA Food Safety Survey (PDF, 530 KB) Americans are doing well to prevent cross contamination from some common sources, but not all. — From the US Department of Agriculture blog

Five common myths about arthritis

More than 50 million Americans are affected by arthritis, a painful and often debilitating condition that limits quality of life. Arthritis is defined as inflammation involving a joint and is characterized by joint pain, stiffness, swelling and decreased range of motion. Some forms are also associated with damage to the heart, eyes, lungs, kidneys and skin. It is the leading cause of disability in the United States and accounts for 172 million missed days of work, translating to $165 billion in lost wages and medical bills. — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

UTI symptoms all women should know

Urinary tract infections are one of the most frequent clinical bacterial infections in women, according to the National Institutes of Health.

“If you are a woman, chances are you will have at least one urinary tract infection (UTI) during your lifetime,” said Katie Schill, nurse practitioner with Palmetto Health’s Mobile Clinic. “UTIs do not just afflict women. Men can develop UTIs as well, just not as commonly. And contrary to some belief, a UTI is not a reflection on one’s hygiene.” — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

Preparing for a Hurricane or a Tropical Storm

You can’t stop a tropical storm or hurricane, but you can take steps now to protect you and your family.

If you live in areas at risk, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages you to begin preparing for hurricane season. The Atlantic hurricane season is June 1 through November 30 each year. — From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Your Health — Your Environment blog

Women: Take Time for Self-Care. You’re Worth It!

My late grandmother, Ms. Anne E. Larkins, was an accomplished elementary school principal and teacher when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in the spring of 1983. In her typical solutions-focused way, she sought to understand the disease and how best to manage it. She modeled steps a cancer survivor must take to live a longer, healthier life. — From the CDC’s The Topic Is Cancer blog