Tag Archives: South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control

DHEC in the News: DHEC mobile care unit, flu, opioids and meth

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

DHEC’s mobile care unit deploying to counties facing severe flooding

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WPDE) — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control will use its WIC Mobile Clinic to help those who can’t get to local health departments due to recent flooding from Hurricane Florence.

Later this week the mobile care van will travel to the Cheraw and Marion areas to provide adult immunizations and nutrition services for eligible women and children.

DHEC to deploy mobile care unit to SC flood stricken areas

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) – The South Carolina Department of Health says it will roll out its WIC mobile clinic to help residents in areas recovering from the flood.

General Interest

80,000 deaths caused by flu last season, CDC says

(CNN)An estimated 80,000 Americans died of flu and its complications last winter, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This means it was the deadliest season in more than four decades — since 1976, the date of the first published paper reporting total seasonal flu deaths, said CDC Spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund.

In previous seasons, flu-related deaths have ranged from a low of about 12,000 during the 2011-2012 season to a high of about 56,000 during the 2012-2013.

While America wages war on opioids, meth makes its comeback

(CNN)For Capt. Mark Wollmershauser Jr. and the Tulsa Police Department, the late-2000s and early 2010s were an extremely dangerous time.

In Oklahoma, a state that is no stranger to the scourge of methamphetamine addiction, those years were the heyday of the “shake and bake” method — a rudimentary way of making meth using just cold medicine, some toxic chemicals and an empty two-liter bottle.

The technique is simple enough that many addicts can cook their own meth, but with one tiny misstep, the chemical reaction that occurs inside can cause deadly explosions.

You Can Help #EndRabies: Share the Message. Save a Life

By Travis Shealy
SC DHEC Rabies Prevention Program Manager

Share the message. Save a life. World Rabies Day, Sept. 28, is an international event that seeks to raise awareness about rabies in order to enhance prevention and control efforts. Rabies is a deadly virus that kills humans, pets, and wildlife across the globe. Education and regular vaccinations are the key to #EndRabies. This year, SC DHEC is asking South Carolinians to submit photos of their vaccinated pets and livestock to be included in our World Rabies Day 2018 Photo Album. For more information on submission details, please visit our website.

What is Rabies?

Rabies is a virus (Lyssavirus) that can be transmitted when saliva or neural tissue of an infected animal is introduced into the body of a healthy person or animal. It infects cells in the central nervous system, causing disease in the brain and, ultimately, death. Any animal with rabies has the ability to transmit the disease to humans or pets. In South Carolina, rabies is most often found in wildlife such as raccoons, skunks, foxes, and bats. Keep in mind, pets are just as susceptible to the virus as wild animals.

Rabies in S.C.

Since 2013, South Carolina has averaged approximately 110 confirmed cases of rabies in animals a year. The SC Rabies by the Numbers Map provides statistics of rabies cases by county, species, and year. View rabies statistics from across the state here

Rabies Prevention

Join us in the fight to #EndRabies by keeping your pets up-to-date on their rabies vaccination. This not only protects your pet, it protects you and your family from this deadly virus.

Another great way to safeguard against rabies is to avoid wild animals, particularly wild animals acting tame and tame animals acting wild, and to educate your children on the dangers of handling unknown animals. If you see an animal that appears sick, contact your local animal control office, wildlife control operatorrehabilitation group, or veterinarian for help. Never handle strays or wildlife, and make sure to keep them away from your family pets. You can learn more about rabies symptoms here.

Bats: Rabid bats have been known to transmit the rabies virus to humans and pets. People don’t always realize they’ve been bitten since bat teeth are tiny and bites are easy to overlook. Because of this, you should always assume a person has potentially been bitten when:

  • They wake up to find a bat in the room or tent;
  • A bat is found where children, pets, or persons with impaired mental capacity (intoxicated or mentally disabled) have been left unattended;
  • A person or pet has been in direct contact with a bat.

Any bat that could have had potential contact with people, pets, or livestock should be safely trapped in a sealed container and not touched. Contact your local DHEC Environmental Health Services’ office to report the incident. Never release a bat that has potentially exposed a person or pet. Once a bat is released, it cannot be tested for rabies. Similarly, never handle a bat or any wild or stray animal, alive or dead, with your bare hands.

Reporting Possible Rabies Exposure

If you’re bitten or scratched by a wild, stray, or unvaccinated animal care for the wound properly and contact your health care provider immediately. The health care provider is required by the Rabies Control Act to report the incident to DHEC.

If you or your child is bitten, scratched, or otherwise exposed and you do not seek medical treatment for the wound, you are required by the Rabies Control Act to report the bite to DHEC by the end of the following business day.

Contact information for the Environmental Health Services’ office in your area can be found on our website at www.scdhec.gov/ea-regional-offices.

For more information on rabies, visit www.scdhec.gov/rabies.

World Rabies Day is co-sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC).

Beware of the hazards caused by flood waters and standing water

Although Florence has exited South Carolina, the storm dumped a large amount of rain that now has some areas of the state facing a high risk of flooding.

Flood waters are nothing to play with or to take for granted. Exercise caution.

Turn Around, Don’t Drown!

No matter how harmless it might appear, avoid driving, wading or walking in flood waters. Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.

Beware of hazards below

All too often, danger lurks within and beneath flood waters and standing water.

DHEC urges everyone not to use area streams, rivers or the ocean for drinking, bathing or swimming due to the possibility of bacteria, waste water or other contaminants. Avoid wading through standing water due to the possibility of sharp objects, power lines or other hazardous debris that might be under the surface.

Follow these steps if you come into contact with flood waters or standing waters:

  • Avoid or limit direct contact.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap, especially before drinking and eating.
  • Do not allow children to play in flood water, or play with toys contaminated with flood water.
  • Report cuts or open wounds, and report all symptoms of illness. (Keep vaccinations current.)

For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s webpage on risks associated with flood waters and standing water. You can also visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s website for more information on avoiding contact with flood waters.

Emergence Of Tropical Storm Florence A Reminder Of The Need To Create An Emergency Kit And Family Disaster Plan

It is uncertain how South Carolina might be affected, if at all, by Tropical Storm Florence, which is currently churning out in the Atlantic Ocean on an uncertain path. But the emergence of Florence, projected to become a hurricane, serves as a good reminder of the need to stay prepared for disasters and emergencies of all kinds.

First and foremost, it’s important to have a plan. DHEC is encouraging all South Carolina residents and visitors to build an emergency kit and have a family disaster plan in place. Your emergency supply kit should include:

  • A week’s supply of water; at least one gallon per person per day
  • A four-week supply of prescription medications in their original bottles
  • A list of the medical equipment used and the phone numbers of your supplier
  • A first aid kit
  • Insect repellent.

Also, in the case of evacuation, don’t forget to “Know Your Zone.”

If you have special medical needs, consult a physician regarding the best place to be during the storm, and make sure that you have adequate access to proper medications, medical supplies and equipment.  American Red Cross shelters and DHEC Special Medical Needs Shelters (SMNS) should be your last resort and used only when no other option is available.

In conjunction with partnering state agencies, DHEC plays a supporting role during statewide emergencies, like tropical storms and hurricanes. The South Carolina Emergency Management Division (EMD) is the coordinating agency responsible for the statewide emergency management program.  For up-to-date information about hurricane preparation and possible developments, visit EMD’s website. You can also follow their tweets, at @SCEMD.

Hurricane season lasts through November 30. To help you prepare for the remainder of the 2017 season, download EMD’s official 2018 S.C. Hurricane Guide. EMD produces the guide in coordination with state, federal, local and volunteer agencies; it includes hurricane preparation tips, coastal evacuation maps, emergency information, tips on returning home after a storm and much more.

For more information about hurricane and disaster preparedness, visit the DHEC website or go to scemd.org.

DHEC in the News: Tracking mosquitoes, opioid crisis, flu

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

Black cups in your neighborhood? How DHEC is tracking mosquitoes in your area

COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control says fortunately here we are having what they call a normal season. But the department did see its first case of West Nile virus earlier this month in the Pee Dee region.

South Carolina is home to at least 61 different species of mosquitoes, which can carry diseases like West Nile and Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

General Interest

CDC tackles the opioid crisis in the workplace

The Centers for Disease Control, along with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, released a new guide for employers to fight the opioid epidemic.

The move was sparked by workplace overdoses on the rise.

5 Things To Know About Flu Vaccines This Year

Even though we’re in the midst of Labor Day Weekend, health experts say it’s time to start thinking about protecting you and your family from the flu.

  1. When You Should Get Your Shot

The CDC encourages everyone to get their flu vaccine by the end of October.