Tag Archives: South Carolina

DHEC in the News: Rooftop air pollution sensors, National Health Security Preparedness Index, Isle of Palms renourishment project

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

Rooftop sensors on U.S. embassies are warning the world about ‘crazy bad’ air pollution

In October 2010, as heavy smog hung over Beijing, the U.S. embassy’s Twitter feed said its rooftop pollution sensor had detected “crazy bad” levels of hazardous microparticles. So-called PM2.5 had shot up to about 550 micrograms per cubic meter—a level to which programmers had given the sardonic label because they thought it would never be reached. …

By now, rooftop sensors like those that drew attention to Beijing’s pollution sprout from 26 diplomatic posts in 16 countries. Their immediate goal is to protect the health of U.S. diplomats. But they are raising concerns about air pollution from Sarajevo to New Delhi and supplying data to research efforts. The “little-air-monitor-that-could,” as physicist and former U.S. diplomat David Roberts calls it, has become a worldwide watchdog. …

Findings are radiating into other disciplines. During a stint at the U.S. consulate in São Paulo, Brazil, Tommy Flynn, a program manager with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, is providing technical assistance on the monitors.

General Interest

Is the U.S. Prepared for a Public Health Emergency?

The National Health Security Preparedness Index shows that overall, the United States’ day-to-day readiness for managing a public health crisis last year improved by 11 percent since the index’s first iteration in 2013, scoring a 7.1 on a 10-point scale. Thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia also boosted their overall health security in the last year, with Maryland scoring an 8.0 to outpace all other states.

“Threats to America’s health security are on the rise, but so is our nation’s preparedness to deal with these emergencies,” Dr. Alonzo Plough, chief science officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said in a press release. “The Index shows how prepared public and private stakeholders are to tackle health security challenges and sheds light on areas for improvement.”

Isle of Palms gets $1.3 million federal grant to restore sand taken by Tropical Storm Irma

The sand that Tropical Storm Irma washed away from Isle of Palms has been restored, and the federal government just kicked in $1.3 million to help foot the bill.

The city had been working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency since the storm struck late last year, and the city hoped to save money by piggybacking off of earlier renourishment work.

DHEC in the News: Champions of the Environment, opioids, Earth Day

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

Champions of the Environment

In its 25th year, the Champions of the Environment program has granted over $380,000 to 320 school groups across the state, and made a significant impact in the lives of children and the environment.

General Interest

Americans are Filling Fewer Opioid Prescriptions

(TRENTON, N.J.) — New data show that the number of prescriptions for opioid painkillers filled in the U.S. fell dramatically last year. They showed their biggest drop in 25 years.

The decline comes amid increasing legal restrictions and public awareness of the dangers of addiction.

Students at Lakewood Elementary celebrate Earth Day

Horry County, S.C. (WPDE) — It’s never too early to start learning about our planet, and that’s exactly what students at Lakewood Elementary School did Saturday.

Hundreds of students gathered with their outdoor inquiry teacher, Marie Valentine, for the celebration.

DHEC encourages STD testing during National STD Awareness Month

April is National STD Awareness Month and DHEC is encouraging South Carolinians to get STD screenings.

Free testing at public health clinics

To assist in these prevention efforts, DHEC’s public health clinics will be offering free testing on April 18. Appointments are encouraged. Please call 1-855-4-SCDHEC (472-3432) to schedule your appointment. The department urges those at risk for any STD to talk with their healthcare professional about getting tested or request testing at one of the public health clinics.

This year’s theme for National STD Awareness Month is “Treat Me Right.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the theme presents an opportunity for providers to ensure they have the needed tools to properly detect and treat infections. It also encourages patients to learn about STDs and prevention while empowering them to ask their provider what they can do and how they can work together to stay safe and healthy.

Testing helps prevent spread of disease

Studies show that people who have STDs such as gonorrhea, herpes, and syphilis are more likely to get HIV compared to people who are STD-free. The same behaviors that increase the risk of acquiring these STDs also increase the risk for getting HIV. When left untreated, STDs can have severe health consequences to the person with the STD and to babies born to an infected mother. STD and HIV testing is a critical step in preventing the spread of disease.

According to 2016 data, there were just over 29,000 cases of chlamydia, nearly 9,400 cases of gonorrhea, and over 300 cases of primary and secondary syphilis in South Carolina.

For more information about STDs and sites that provide screenings, call DHEC’s STD/HIV Hotline at 1-800-322-AIDS (2437), or visit DHEC’s website at www.scdhec.gov/stdhiv.

DHEC in the News: National STD Awareness Month, rabies vaccination clinics, opioids

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

DHEC to provide free STD testing for Awareness Month

(WIS) – In honor of April being National STD Awareness Month, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control will be offering free STD testing on April 18.

The tests will be conducted at DHEC’s public health clinics. Appointments are encouraged.

Rabies vaccination clinics set for April

Veterinarians across South Carolina are joining forces with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control this spring to help owners protect themselves, families, communities, and pets against rabies.

Florence Rotarians hear all about the war on drugs

FLORENCE, S.C. – The national opioid problem is a crisis that involves heroin and an epidemic that involves prescription pain medicine.

But the biggest enemy in an epic war on drugs is fentanyl.

From Other Blogs: Seasonal allergies, preparing for spring weather, flood safety tips & more

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

Nip your seasonal allergies in the bud

Have you noticed the distinct yellow layer of pollen outside lately? It is everywhere! Along with pollen, comes seasonal allergies. Katie Schill, nurse practitioner with Palmetto Health’s Mobile Clinic, offers some helpful tips to manage seasonal allergies.

The key to managing your allergies is preventing and limiting exposure to the allergen. — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

Prepare for Spring Weather

Spring is the time of year when many things change—including the weather. Temperatures can swing back and forth between balmy and frigid. Sunny days may be followed by a week of stormy weather. Sometimes extreme weather changes can occur even within the same day. Mark Twain once said, “In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours.”

Thunderstorms cause most of the severe spring weather. They can bring lightningtornadoes, and flooding. Whenever warm, moist air collides with cool, dry air, thunderstorms can occur. For much of the world, this happens in spring and summer. — From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Your Health — Your Environment blog

Flood Safety Tips

Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than any other hazard related to thunderstorms. The most common flood deaths occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water. Fortunately, you can take steps to protect yourself, your family, and your home.  —  From the CDC’s Your Health — Your Environment blog

3 Weird Things About Acetaldehyde

Acetaldehyde can cause cancer, and the more acetaldehyde you are exposed to, the higher your cancer risk. But what is acetaldehyde? — From the CDC’s The Topic Is Cancer blog

Ototoxicant Chemicals and Workplace Hearing Loss

Since the 19th century, many therapeutic drugs have been known to affect hearing. Known as ototoxic drugs, many are used today in clinical situations despite these negative side effects because they are effective in treating serious, sometimes life-threatening conditions. Research has shown that exposure to certain chemicals in the workplace may also negatively affect how the ear functions, potentially causing hearing loss or balance problems, regardless of noise exposure. Substances containing ototoxicants include certain pesticides, solvents, metals and pharmaceuticals. The risk of hearing loss they pose can be increased when workers are exposed to these chemicals while working around elevated noise levels.  This combination often results in hearing loss that can be temporary or permanent, depending on the level of noise, the dose of the chemical, and the duration of the exposure. This hearing impairment affects many occupations and industries, from machinists to firefighters. — From the CDC’s NIOSH Science blog