Tag Archives: South Carolina

National Lightning Safety Awareness Week

“When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!”

That’s the National Weather Service’s way saying that we must take thunderstorms and the lightning that accompanies them seriously. During this Lightning Safety Awareness Week, which runs June 18-24, take time to learn what to do — and not to do — when thunderstorms threaten.

Lightning ranks among the top storm-related killers in the United States. About two-thirds of lightning-related deaths are associated with outdoor recreational activities. Although lightning injuries and fatalities can occur during any time of the year, deaths caused by lightning are highest during the summer. Generally, July is the month when lightning is most active.

Seek shelter if you’re outside

It is critical to know what to do when thunderstorms head your way. If the forecast calls for thunderstorms, postpone outdoor plans or make sure adequate safe shelter is readily available.

When you hear thunder, go inside. You are not safe anywhere outside. Do not seek shelter under trees. Instead, run to a safe building or vehicle when you first hear thunder, see lightning or observe dark, threatening clouds developing overhead. Safe shelters include homes, offices, shopping centers, and hard-top vehicles with the windows rolled up. Stay inside until 30 minutes after you hear the last clap of thunder.

If you can’t make it inside or in a vehicle, take these precautions:

  • Avoid open fields, the top of a hill or a ridge top.
  • Stay away from tall, isolated trees or other tall objects.
  • If you are camping in an open area, set up camp in a valley, ravine or other low area. Tents do not protect you from lightning.
  • Stay away from water, wet items and metal objects (such as fences and poles). Electricity easily passes through water and metal.

Protect yourself while inside

If you are indoors, be aware that although your home is a safe shelter during a lightning storm, you might still be at risk. About one-third of lightning-strike injuries occur indoors.  When inside:

  • Avoid contact with corded phones, computers, laptops, game systems, washers, dryers or anything connected to an electrical outlet. Lightning can travel through electrical systems.
  • Do not wash your hands, do not take a shower, do not wash dishes, and do not do laundry. Lightning can travel through a building’s plumbing.
  • Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.
  • Do not lie on concrete floors and do not lean against concrete walls. Lightning also can travel through metal wires or bars in concrete walls or flooring.
  • Unplug electrical equipment.

For more information on thunderstorms and lightning safety, visit the following links:

www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/safety-overview.shtml

cdc.gov/disasters/lightning/index.html

 lightning.org/lsa-week/

Father’s Day Is Important, Dad. Get Screened.

Dads deserve the attention, accolades and gifts they get each Father’s Day. They also should give themselves and their families a gift in return: a lifelong dedication to healthy living.

That includes adopting healthy habits that help reduce the risk of developing cancer.FathersDayicon Cancer is a complex disease. Your risk of developing cancer isn’t based only on genetics or family history, although they do play a role. Have you ever wondered how much lifestyle affects cancer risk? Research shows that half of all cancer today could be prevented by practicing healthy habits.  Start by adopting one or two healthy behaviors.

Once you’ve gotten those down, move on to others:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise regularly
  • Don’t smoke
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Drink alcohol only in moderation, if at all
  • Protect yourself from the sun
  • Get screening tests

Healthy Weight & Good Nutrition. Less Cancer.

There are several research-proven ways to lower your cancer risk! One way is by maintaining a healthy weight. dadimagineNot sure how to begin? First focus on not gaining more weight, then on eating a healthier diet and exercising to achieve a healthy weight. Ask a health care provider for tips on how to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Check out these sites for healthy recipe options:

Healthy Father’s Day Recipes

Healthy Heart & Soul Recipe Book

Healthier Recipes – USDA Mixing Bowl

More Exercise. Less Cancer.

Regular exercise – just 30 minutes each day – will lower your risk of developing cancer. Whether you’re running on a treadmill or walking around the block, it all counts. Encourage your whole family to get up and move together. Exercise is especially important for cancer survivors. For some cancers, regular physical activity may lower the risk of recurrence and eliminate the risk of other chronic diseases. Visit http://eatsmartmovemoresc.org and click on Let’s Go! for information on parks and trails, and other resources.

 Fight Cancer. Don’t Smoke.

Smoking is a leading cause of cancer and death from cancer. It causes cancers of the lung, esophagus, larynx, mouth, throat, kidney, bladder, liver, pancreas, stomach, cervix, colon, and rectum, as well as acute myeloid leukemia. Many of the chemicals found in cigarettes have been shown to cause DNA damage, including key genes that protect us against cancer. For cancer patients, studies also find that smoking hinders cancer treatment. For help with smoking, contact the SC Tobacco Quitline.

Lung Cancer

Most cases of lung cancer are caused by smoking. Lung cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer in the U.S. and the leading cause of cancer death in men and women. Three screening tests have been studied to see if they decrease the risk of dying from lung cancer: 1) Low-dose spiral CT scan (LDCT scan), 2) Chest X-ray; and 3) Sputum whitebowcytology. Screening with low-dose spiral CT scans has been shown to decrease the risk of dying from lung cancer in heavy smokers. Screening with chest X-rays and/or sputum cytology does not decrease the risk of dying from lung cancer. Talk with your doctor about the risks of lung cancer screening.

More Education. Less Cancer.

Prostate Cancer

There is no standard or routine screening test for prostate cancer. Talk with yourbluebow doctor about the digital rectal exam (DRE) and prostate-specific antigen test (PSA) for prostate cancer. The South Carolina Cancer Alliance is a resource for education trainings and opportunities. Visit their website for patient care information and volunteer opportunities.

More Screenings. Less Cancer.dadnote

It is important to remember that your doctor does not necessarily think you have cancer if he or she suggests a screening test. Screening tests are given when you have no cancer symptoms.

Colorectal Cancer

Screenings are essential to catching some cancers early and can help prevent purplebowexisting cancers from spreading. Speak with your doctor about tests to detect colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of non-skin cancer in men (after prostate cancer and lung cancer).

Prevention. Less Cancer

Cancer prevention starts with education, screening, and a healthy lifestyle. Take control of your health, and encourage your family to do the same.

Happy Father’s Day.

‘Tis the season to have an emergency plan and the 2017 S.C. Hurricane Guide

The official Atlantic hurricane season began June 1 and runs through November 30. If you live on or near the South Carolina coast it’s particularly important for you to understand and be prepared for the dangers these storms can pose.

Although we can’t prevent hurricanes, we can take steps to protect ourselves and our families. It’s important to stay informed, prepare emergency kits, have emergency plans and take other actions that will keep you safe.

To help you prepare for the 2017 hurricane season, we encourage you to pick up or download the official 2017 S.C. Hurricane Guide. The guide — produced by the S.C. Emergency Management Division in coordination with state, federal, local and volunteer agencies — includes hurricane preparation tips, coastal evacuation maps, emergency information, tips on returning home after a storm and much more.

The Hurricane Guide, which also was released via South Carolina newspapers, is available at all South Carolina Welcome Centers, at any Walgreen’s store statewide and at SCDMV offices in Bamberg, Beaufort, Bluffton, Charleston, Conway, Dillon, Florence, Georgetown, Kingstree, Ladson, Lake City, Little River, Mullins, Moncks Corner, Mount Pleasant, Myrtle Beach, North Charleston, Saint George and Varnville.

Click here to download the 2017 Hurricane Guide, which is valid from June 1 until November 30.

For more information about hurricane and disaster preparedness, visit the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control website or go to scemd.org.

Be safe and have fun this Memorial Day, and all summer

By Adrianna Bradley

Warmer temperatures and longer days mean more families are heading outdoors to have fun in the sun. But don’t let the tranquil weather fool you. This time of year holds significant health and safety hazards, and DHEC wants to make sure your Memorial Day and summer plans are, above all, safe and fun.

Stay safe when swimming

Memorial weekend is traditionally the unofficial start of summer, which includes the openings of swimming pools and other outdoor water activities. It’s this time of year that many families from within and outside of South Carolina hit the roads to visit our state’s beautiful coastal beaches.ocean-water-quality--blog

Swimming in an ocean or pool is an excellent outdoor activity for the whole family and it’s important to make sure everyone is equipped with sunscreen.  The sun is fun when you protect yourself from harmful, burning ultraviolet (UV) rays. Practicing sun safety plays an important role in the prevention of skin cancer, the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States. Apply broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15 before going outdoors. Reapply sunscreen if it wears off after swimming, sweating or toweling off.

Protect yourself from insect bites

Sunscreen isn’t all you should arm yourself with: Use an insect repellent containing SprayHands-Zika2Deet to protect your family from insects while outdoors.  The repellent is safe and, when used as directed, is the best way to protect against mosquito bites, ticks and other biting insects; children and pregnant women should protect themselves also.

Watch out for rip currents

It’s also important to be knowledgeable about rip currents or rip tides at the beach. Rip currents are responsible for many deaths on our nation’s beaches every year and can occur in any body of water that has breaking waves, not just the ocean. Currents at the beach can move to different locations along the coast and can be deadly both to swimmers and those in waist deep water where the rip current occurs. Be sure to check in with lifeguards, who can alert you to areas that have rip current potential.

Be aware of ocean life

While most jellyfish in South Carolina’s coastal waters carry a mild sting, it’s still important to avoid touching all jellyfish in the water or washed on the beach. Do not try to touch or pick them up. Many have tentacles that can discharge venom-filled stingers into your skin, causing a sting. Another marine creature showing up on our coast recently are Portuguese Man of War. Like jellyfish, these creatures also have stinging cells that are capable of stinging even after they are dead. Do not touch them. If you do get stung, rinse the affected area with vinegar or apply baking soda and then soak in warm water.

Small sharks are also common in shallow ocean water and typically do not pose a threat to humans.  Be sure not to swim near fishing piers as these areas tend to attract more sharks.

Below are some more tips to keep you and your family safe and healthy at the beach or pool:iStock_51595250_XXLARGE cute kids swim class

  • Always supervise children when in or around water.
  • Dress in loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing if it is hot outside. Stay cool with cool showers or baths. Seek medical care immediately if anyone has symptoms of heat-related illness, including a headache, nausea, dizziness, heavy sweating, and an elevated body temperature.
  • Stay hydrated. Your body loses fluids through sweat. Drink more water than usual — two to four cups of water every hour you are outside. Also, try to avoid alcohol intake to prevent dehydration.
  • Cover up. Clothing that covers your skin helps protect against UV rays. Be sure to apply sunscreen to exposed skin.
  • Be aware of swim and water quality advisories and avoid swimming in those areas.
  • Do not enter the water with cuts, open sores or lesions; naturally-occurring bacteria in the water may cause infection.
  • Do not swim in or allow children to play in swashes of water or near storm water drainage pipes. These shallow pools are caused by runoff from paved surfaces and often contain much higher levels of bacteria and pollutants than the ocean. Permanent water quality advisories are indicated by signs in these areas.
  • Do not swim in the ocean during or immediately following rainfall. Heavy rain can wash bacteria and possibly harmful pollutants into the surf. To reduce the risk of illness, wait at least 12 hours after a heavy rain to resume swimming.

Be sure to check your local news and weather forecast for information on heat and beach advisories before planning any type of outdoor activities.

As you gear up for outside activities, watch out for mosquitoes

As the weather continues to warm up and summer hastens our way, so do the prospects of us spending more and more time participating in outdoor activities — from camping trips to cookouts to sports contests and sporting events.

While outdoor fun is great, don’t forget that mosquito season is fast-approaching as well. Be sure to take precautions to protect yourself against mosquito bites and the mosquito-borne diseases, such as Zika, the insect can spread.

Here are a few tips to help you protect yourself:

  • When you go outside, apply an EPA-recommended mosquito repellent to your skin or wear protective clothing.
  • Wear light colors and avoid wearing scented products outdoors.
  • Be careful when applying insect repellents to children and babies:

Spray repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child’s face.
Do not apply repellent to a child’s hands, mouth, cut or irritated skin.
Do not use Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus on children younger than 3 years old. Do not use repellents containing DEET on babies younger than 2 months old.

  • Keep car windows rolled up and garage doors closed at night.
  • Make sure all screens on windows and doors are intact and installed properly.

Visit the DHEC website for more information on how to protect yourself and your home against mosquitoes.