Tag Archives: temperatures

DHEC in the News: Cold weather tips, infant mortality, E. coli outbreak

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

Health experts offer tips during cooler weather, warn about carbon monoxide exposure

Last week brought freezing temperatures, snow and ice across South Carolina, even as far as the Palmetto State’s coastal region when a winter storm blanketed beaches and palm trees with snow and ice.

When temperatures drop in cooler months, health experts often share a familiar message to residents in families – bundle up, stay warm and indoors (when necessary) to prevent cold-related illnesses.

A good way to be prepared for cold-weather health problems includes taking a first aid and emergency resuscitation (CPR) course, as well as taking preventative action by preparing homes and cars in advance for winter emergencies, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says on cdc.gov.

Health in brief: CDC publishes updated infant mortality data, national rate shows no improvement

The rate of babies who die during their first year of birth has improved nationally in the last decade, but in recent years, improvement in this key public health metric has plateaued.

New data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows there was no change in the national rate of infant mortality between 2014 and 2015, the most recent years for which it has published numbers.

South Carolina has a middling rate overall, compared to other states.

General Interest

CDC: E. coli outbreak could be linked to romaine lettuce

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, are investigating reports of E. coli illnesses in 13 states possibly linked to romaine lettuce or other leafy greens, according to a statement issued by the CDC.

Arizona and California produce about 90% of the lettuce and other leafy greens grown in the United States. The produce also comes from Mexico.

Avoid Carbon Monoxide Dangers During Cold Weather

January is National Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Awareness Month and with recent temperatures becoming frigid across the state, DHEC has some helpful tips to prevent your family from becoming victims to a silent killer, carbon monoxide.

Temperatures are dropping, forcing many families to use space heaters in efforts to stay warm, but it’s these colder months that pose a threat to families.

You Can Prevent Carbon Monoxide Exposure by:

  • Having your heating system, water heater, and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
  • Installing a battery-operated or battery back-up CO detector in your home and check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. If the detector sounds leave your home immediately and call 911.
  • Seeking prompt medical attention if you suspect CO poisoning and are feeling dizzy, light-headed, or nauseated.
  • Not using a generator, charcoal grill, camp stove, or other gasoline or charcoal-burning device inside your home, basement, or garage or near a window.
  • Not running your car or truck inside a garage attached to your house, even if you leave the door open.
  • Not burning anything in or using a stove or fireplace that isn’t vented.
  • Not heating your house with a gas oven.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a silent killer. It is an odorless and colorless gas that can cause sudden illness and death if inhaled.

On average, nine South Carolinians die every year from carbon monoxide poisoning and these types of preventable events annually result in 243 hospitalizations and 1,713 visits to the emergency department. Annually, carbon monoxide poisonings cost the state of South Carolina about $7.5 million in hospitalizations and emergency room visits.

Hospitalizations and ED visits due to carbon monoxide poisoning have risen since 2000, by an average of 5 percent each year, which is statistically significant. Hospitalization rates due to CO poisoning have risen by 60 percent since 2000.

Sources of CO poisoning include gas-powered generators, charcoal grills, propane stoves, and charcoal briquettes for both cooking and heating indoors, motor vehicles, fire, boats, and power washers and other gas powered tools.

At-risk populations include babies and infants, the elderly, and people with chronic heart disease, anemia or respiratory illness.

To find answers to frequently asked questions about carbon monoxide or links to find additional prevention tips, please visit cdc.gov/co/guidelines.htm.

NEVER leave a child in a parked car

Some things should never, ever happen. Leaving a child in a parked car, even if the windows are open, is one of those things.

And don’t leave pets in that dangerous situation either.

Despite the many warnings and, tragically, the child deaths reported due to being left in a hot car, there are still those who take the chance. Again, don’t.

Here’s what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about infants and children and heat:

Keep children cool and hydrated

  • Dress infants and children in loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Make sure they drink plenty of fluids. Avoid really cold drinks or drinks with too much sugar.
  • Follow additional tips on how to prevent heat-related illness.

Never leave children in a parked car

  • Even when it feels cool outside, cars can heat up to dangerous temperatures very quickly.
  • Leaving a window open is not enough: Temperatures inside the car can rise almost 20 degrees Fahrenheit within the first 10 minutes.
  • Children who are left unattended in parked cars are at greatest risk for heat stroke, and possibly death.

Tips for traveling with children

  • Never leave infants or children in a parked car, even if the windows are cracked open.
  • When leaving your car, check to be sure everyone is out of the car. Do not overlook any children who have fallen asleep in the car.

Visit the CDC’s website for information on symptoms of heat-related illness.

It’s Hot: Take steps to help stay cool

Over the next day or two, the National Weather Service is forecasting temperatures in the mid- to upper-90s in some parts of South Carolina, with the heat index reaching above 100 degrees.

The heat index indicates how hot it actually feels to the body when relative humidity is combined with the air temperature. The heat index increases as the air temperature and relative humidity increase. Humid conditions make the body feel warmer.

When the body gets too hot, it uses sweat to cool off.  If that sweat is not able to evaporate, the body cannot regulate its temperature and struggles to cool itself.  When sweat evaporates, it reduces the body’s temperature

As you move about during these and other hot days to come, DHEC urges you to follow the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s three tips for preventing heat-related illnesses: Stay cool. Stay hydrated. Stay informed.

Stay cool:

  • Wear appropriate, lightweight clothing
  • Stay in an air-conditioned place as much as possible
  • Schedule outdoor activities carefully
  • Pace yourself; cut down on exercising when it is hot
  • Wear sunscreen

DO NOT LEAVE CHILDREN OR PETS IN CARS, EVEN IF THE WINDOW IS CRACKED!

Stay Hydrated

  • Drink plenty of fluids (Avoid very sugary or alcoholic drinks)
  • Replace salt and minerals lost due to sweating
  • Keep your pets hydrated

Stay Informed

  • Check for weather updates via local news
  • Know the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses
  • Monitor those at high risk:
  • Infants and young children
  • People 65 years of age or older
  • People who are overweight
  • People who overexert during work or exercise
  • People who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure, or who take certain medications, such as for depression or poor circulation
  • Visit and closely watch adults at risk at least twice a day

Visit the CDC website for more information on extreme heat.

DHEC in the News: Older residents and heat, ticks, demolition of dilapidated apartments

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

Stay cool: SCDHEC warns of dangers of rising temperatures to older residents

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Heat-related deaths and illnesses can affect anyone, but people over 65 are especially at risk, unless they take steps to protect themselves.

According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, heatstroke is the most serious heat-related illness and can damage the brain, heart, kidneys and muscles. If not treated quickly, it can cause serious complications or death.

Check for ticks: CDC warns of rise in tick-borne diseases

COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) — Tick season is in and there’s been a rise in the amount of tick-borne diseases. The Center for Disease Control has issued a warning this spring that people are more prone to tick bites and tick-borne diseases this year, than any other year in the United States. …

Common symptoms of Lyme include fever, aches and a bulls-eye rash. See symptoms of other tick-borne illnesses here.

“It’s important to examine your skin and properly remove it with tweezers,” Dr. Linda Bell of DHEC says.

Hartsville begins demolition of dilapidated apartments

HARTSVILLE, SC (WMBF) – The city of Hartsville is knocking down the Lincoln Village Apartments, eight dilapidated buildings that have sat empty for more than 20 years.

Demolition began Wednesday afternoon on the eyesore that has been plaguing the Hartsville community. …

The city of Hartsville did asbestos studies with the state Department of Health and Environmental Control first before a bid went out for demolition, along with the grant application process, to the Department of Commerce.