Tag Archives: summer

DHEC in the News: Population health, flooding hot spots, bees and honey

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

The Alliance for a Healthier SC Selected for Prestigious Population Health Challenge

The Alliance for a Healthier South Carolina, a coalition of more than 50 diverse organizations across the state working together to improve population health, is happy to announce that they are one of 15 finalists for the “States of Solutions” program, an effort convened by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

This small group of finalists will lay a foundation to advance equity by instituting improvement strategies and pursuing systemic changes in their state as part of Phase I of this initiative. Finalists that show substantial progress will move to Phase II, where they will engage in equity action labs and pursue initiatives to advance strategic and coordinated actions across sectors and communities to improve health equity.

General Interest

Flooding Hot Spots: Why Seas Are Rising Faster on the U.S. East Coast

Seen from a pedestrian footbridge overlooking Myrtle Park — a sliver of land that Norfolk, Virginia is allowing to revert to wetlands — the panorama of surrounding homes illustrates the accelerating sea level rise that has beleaguered this neighborhood along the Lafayette River.

A grey house, among the first raised in the area, is slightly elevated on cinderblocks, standing 2 feet off the ground. Nearby, owners of a white-sided house with black shutters have lifted their dwelling about 4 feet above ground level. And on the right, a brick house resting on cinderblocks rises incongruously 11 feet above the street.

The roads circling Myrtle Park are cracked and disintegrating due to frequent flooding. Tidal grasses like Spartina are springing up. The boulevard a block away, which leads to the world’s largest naval base, floods several times a year and the frequency is increasing.

Summer heat means more bees and honey

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – Southwest Georgia beekeepers said, if you’re looking to buy honey or bees, this is the time of year to do so.

From Other Blogs: High-quality summer meals for children, environmental justice, staying safe in a tornado & more

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

‘Turnip the Beet’ Recognizes High-Quality Summer Meals for our Nation’s Kids

There are millions of America’s youth who do not have access to nutritious meals when school is not in session. Offering nutritious meals to our nation’s children and teens that are appetizing, appealing and wholesome is a responsibility USDA takes very seriously. — From the US Department of Agriculture blog

Achieving Tangible Results for Vulnerable Communities

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its Environmental Justice FY2017 Progress Report today. It is noteworthy that 2017 marked the 25th anniversary of the founding of EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice. The accomplishments highlighted in the report affirm through action how, after a quarter century of progress, environmental justice (EJ) is deeply ingrained in EPA’s fabric. — From the Environmental Protection Agency/s (EPA) blog

Staying Safe in a Tornado

To stay safe during a tornado, prepare a plan and an emergency kit, stay aware of weather conditions during thunderstorms, know the best places to shelter both indoors and outdoors, and always protect your head. — From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Your Health — Your Environment blog

It’s a Small World After All

The United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has proclaimed April 2018 as Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month. The goal of IPPDAM is to: increase public awareness of invasive species; provide tips to prevent their spread; and, encourage residents to report signs of them. Today we highlight USDA’s Heather Coady. Ms. Coady, and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) employees like her, assist other countries in their pest control efforts by working to stop pests at the source. — From the USDA blog

The U.S. Drought Monitor: A Resource for Farmers, Ranchers and Foresters

Even before the Dust Bowl days of the 1930s, agricultural producers have recognized the economic and emotional devastation that drought can cause. Recently, the focus has shifted from dealing with drought as an unexpected hazard, to more proactive planning for the inevitability of drought. One of the tools available to producers is the U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM), a weekly map of drought conditions produced jointly by the USDA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. — From the USDA blog

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.

Tips for a Healthy and Safe 4th of July

 

S.C. Department of Health and Environmental wishes everyone a happy and healthy 4th of July. Here are a few tips to keep the festivities fun.

Packing the perfect cooler

  • Everyone gets thirsty on hot days. Use a separate cooler for drinks so the one containing food isn’t opened as much and can keep food at the perfect temperature.
  • When using a cooler, keep it out of the direct sun by placing it in the shade or shelter.
  • Avoid opening the lid too often, which lets cold air out and warm air in.
  • Pack raw meats, poultry, or seafood on the bottom of the cooler and wrap them in plastic. This will reduce the risk of bacteria from raw juices dripping on other foods.
  • Pack coolers until they are full. A full cooler will stay cold longer than one that is partially full.
  • Use an insulated cooler with sufficient ice or ice packs to keep the food at 40 °F or below.
  • Pack food right from the refrigerator into the cooler immediately before leaving home.
  • Only take out the meat and poultry that will immediately be placed on the grill.

4th_of_july

Travel like a backyard bbq pro

  • When transporting food to another location, keep it cold to minimize bacterial growth.
  • Put the cooler in an air-conditioned car not a hot trunk.
  • Bring extra plates, grilling utensils and napkins and use different platters and utensils for raw and cooked meat and poultry.
  • Keep raw meats seperate from fresh produce and ready-to-eat foods.
  • Wash hands, work area, and all utensils before, during, and after preparing food.
  • If you’re eating away from home, find out if there’s a source of clean water. If not, bring water for preparation and cleaning. Or pack clean cloths, and moist towelettes for cleaning surfaces and hands.
  • Refrigerate any leftovers promptly in shallow containers. Discard any food left out more than 2 hours (1 hour if temperatures are above 90 °F).

Firework Safety Tips

  • Leave it to the professionals. There are many great displays across state, so just sit back and enjoy the oohs and ahhs. 
  • Adults only. Never let children play with fireworks. Even sparklers, a firework often considered by many to be the ideal “safe” device for the young children, burn at very high temperatures.
  • Take a seat. If you’re setting of fireworks, don’t allow running or horseplay while lighting them.Be sure other people are standing at a safe range before lighting fireworks.
  • Set off fireworks outdoors in a clear area on a flat, solid surface so that fireworks don’t tip over or shoot into areas where there are houses, dry leaves, grass and other flammable materials.
  • Never have any portion of your body directly over a firework while lighting. Don’t look over/into a “dud.”
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby.
  • Do not try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.
  • Never light fireworks in a container, especially a glass or metal container.
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.Check instructions for special storage directions.
  • Keep our beaches and neighborhoods clean. Fireworks produce debris and litter. Be sure to clean up your litter by the next morning and dispose of it in a trash can.

 

 

 

 

 

Stay Healthy on Famously Hot Days

South Carolina is a beautiful place to spend the summer months, but it can be quite hot at times, too. Heat can cause health problems for some of us, and can even be deadly. Stay cool and prevent heat-related health issues. It’s your best defense.

Although anyone, at any time, can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Check regularly on:

  • Infants and young children
  • People aged 65 or older
  • People who have a mental illness
  • Those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure.

Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illnesses, but it can be troubling. Be aware of the warning signs of heat exhaustion, which can include heavy sweating, cramps, dizziness and nausea. If left untreated, heat exhaustion can progress into heat stroke.

You should seek immediate medical help if your symptoms become severe or you have heart problems or high blood pressure.

Tips:

  • Drink cool, nonalcoholic beverages (and those directed by your physician), regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
  • Avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol and large amounts of sugar. These beverages actually cause your body to LOSE more fluids! Avoid very cold drinks, too, because they can cause stomach cramps.
  • Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If you must be outside when temps are high, avoid prolonged exposure by seeking shade or air conditioning every hour or so.
  • Electric fans may provide comfort, but fans will not prevent heat-related illness in extremely hot weather. Taking a cool shower or bath, or moving to an air-conditioned place, is a much better way to cool off.
  • If your home does not have air conditioning, go to public places with A/C during the heat of the day – someplace like a library or shopping mall. This is especially important for those in high-risk groups like the elderly who easily suffer health effects from being in the heat for prolonged periods.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • NEVER leave children or pets in a closed, parked vehicle.

Safe Kids York County temp sign
For more information about preventing heat-related illnesses, visit www.scdhec.gov/Health/DiseasesandConditions/HeatRelatedIllness/.