Tag Archives: virus

Here are a few basic things you should know about the flu

No matter how healthy you are, you can be affected by the flu. No one is immune.

Keep that in mind as we move further into the 2017-18 flu season. If you have not gotten your yearly flu vaccine, now is a good time to do so because it can take up to two weeks for your body to develop a protective response and it is the best way to prevent the flu.

Here are some tips to help protect you and your loved ones from the flu this season.

  1. The flu and how is it spread

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. The flu can cause mild to severe, even deadly illness — especially in vulnerable people. Symptoms can include fever, dry cough, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, sore throat, and nasal congestion or stuffiness. 

Seasonal flu is usually spread from person to person. People who have the flu may spread it to others from about one day before they develop symptoms for up to seven days after.  Flu viruses are spread when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk spread respiratory droplets. Others become infected when these droplets are inhaled or enter the nose or mouth by touching with hands that have been soiled by the respiratory droplets.

  1. Some people at higher risk

While anyone, including healthy people, can get the flu, certain people are at greater risk for serious complications if they get the flu. This includes older people (especially people 65 years of age and older), young children, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease). While it is important for everyone to receive their yearly flu vaccine, it is especially important for people in these high risk groups to do so.

  1. Ways you can help prevent the flu

Remember, the best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get your flu vaccine each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and DHEC recommend that everyone 6 months of age and older get a yearly flu vaccine.

In addition, South Carolinians are encouraged to take the following preventive measures:

  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home from work, school and errands if you are sick to avoid getting others sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Use a tissue if one is handy; throw it away immediately after use. Otherwise, use the crook of your elbow to cover yourself.
  • Wash your hands often and thoroughly.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when someone touches something that is covered with germs and then touches one of those areas.

Other good habits include getting plenty of exercise and sleep, managing your stress, drinking water and eating good food to help you stay healthy in the winter and all year.

  1. Places where you can get the flu vaccine

It’s important to get the flu vaccine not only to protect yourself, but also your loved ones from the seasonal flu. Even if you don’t have a regular health care provider you can still get the flu vaccine. In addition to DHEC, many local providers — including doctors’ offices, clinics, pharmacies, college health centers, schools and workplaces — now offer flu vaccines. We encourage everyone to find the facility that works best for them.

Once again this flu season, like last season, the CDC recommends that the intranasal live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV), also known as the “nasal spray,” should not be used.

To find the DHEC seasonal flu clinic nearest you, click here.

For more information: www.scdhec.gov/flu.

DHEC in the News: Eastern Equine Encephalitis, City of Beaufort flooding problems, EMT and paramedic shortage

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

DHEC confirms case of Triple E Virus in Conway area

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Aerial mosquito spraying took place Thursday night in a neighborhood in the Conway area after it was a confirmed that a horse died a few weeks ago from the Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus, according to Horry County officials.

Kelly Brosky, interim spokesperson for Horry County, said it is the only confirmed case of the Triple E Virus locally so far this year.

City of Beaufort to fix flooding problems with new task force

BEAUFORT, SC. (WSAV) – Tropical Storm Irma brought flooding to homes across the City of Beaufort, many families had just moved back in after recovering from Matthew’s flooding 11 months earlier.

“We’ve had people who’ve lost their houses twice in one year, that’s wrong,” said Mayor Billy Keyserling.

That’s why the state, county and, city are taking action. South Carolina State Representative Shannon Erickson put together a task force at the beginning of September to survey the issues and find a permanent solution.

South Carolina faces EMT and paramedic shortage, HGTC program answers to needs

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – A statewide meeting was held Wednesday to discuss the shortage of EMT and paramedic-trained professionals in South Carolina.

Officials within the health field and the Department of Health and Environmental Control are working on ways to solve the problem.

DHEC urges South Carolinians to protect against mosquito bites in light of confirmed West Nile virus cases

COLUMBIA, S.C. – An Anderson County individual has died from West Nile virus, the first such occurrence in South Carolina this year, and DHEC is urging residents to take precautions.

In 2017, DHEC has confirmed seven human cases of West Nile virus, along with detection in 10 birds and 55 mosquito samples.

The risk of serious illness or death from West Nile Virus is low. Less than one percent of people infected develop a potentially fatal swelling of the brain, known as encephalitis. Most people infected with West Nile virus have no symptoms. About one in five people infected becomes ill within two to 14 days with symptoms including fever, headache, joint pain, muscle pain, and occasionally nausea and vomiting. They may often experience sensitivity to light and inflammation of the eyelids, and some may have a rash.

“If you develop fever or other symptoms after being bitten by a mosquito, you should contact your health care provider,” said Dr. Melissa Overman, SC Assistant State Epidemiologist.

Protect yourself 

DHEC stresses the importance of paying attention to the most effective ways to prevent mosquito-borne illnesses, including West Nile Virus:

  • Repellents help keep mosquitoes from biting. Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR 3535 according to label instructions.
  • Make sure that your doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep out mosquitoes.
  • Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property, including flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, birdbaths, old car tires, rain gutters and pet bowls.
  • Wearing light-colored clothing to cover the skin reduces the risk of bites.

Information on West Nile is available

DHEC in the News: West Nile virus, new operating room, Palmetto Health fine

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

Avoid mosquito bites to defend against the West Nile virus

It is mosquito season and West Nile virus has made its way to Beaufort County. Now is the time to take action to protect ourselves from becoming infected with West Nile or other mosquito-borne diseases.

Working together, we can reduce the chances of people getting the disease among the many who live, work and play in this wonderful coastal community. Every local government, business, school, neighborhood association, community organization and individual has a role to play.

OR open for business

The Williamsburg Regional Hospital (WRH) was no match for the October 2015 flood. Severe damage to key areas of the building forced administration to close her doors. Since then a temporary hospital was constructed on the same site. The facility functions as a regular hospital with the exception of an operating room. Fortunately, that changed on August 8.

“We are so excited,” said WRH CEO Sharon Poston after a final inspection of the new operating room by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).

Palmetto Health fined for mishandling hazardous waste

The Palmetto Health Richland has been fined $28,000 by DHEC for mishandling hazardous materials.

Among the violations were that hospital staff failed to keep containers holding hazardous waste closed during storage; failed to mark containers of hazardous waste; failed to maintain aisle space to allow the unobstructed movement of personnel and emergency equipment; and failed to properly keep manifests of the materials.

DHEC ordered the hospital to rectify the situations, keep proper records and institute a training program in addition to the fine.

DHEC in the News: Richland County dams, West Nile, Atlantic storm

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

Richland County dams show signs of improvement nearly 2 years post flood

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – As the two-(year) anniversary of the devastating October flood creeps near, a lengthy list of damaged and destroyed dams shrinks.

According to South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control, six of the 24 dams within the Gills Creek Watershed have been repaired, including the Spring Lake Dam where the road connecting neighbors on each side of the lake was reopened 20 months post-flood.

Mosquitoes testing positive for West Nile Virus still being monitored in Beaufort Co.

BEAUFORT CO., SC (WTOC) – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control says they are still closely monitoring Beaufort County after mosquitoes tested positive for West Nile Virus in late June.

They say while it’s not uncommon for some of their trapped mosquitoes to test positive, they are still taking all of the appropriate steps to make sure local residents are not at risk.

General Interest

Atlantic storm could mean tropical threat for South Carolina

Another bedeviling storm in the far Atlantic Ocean off Africa should turn into a tropical system by the end of the week, U.S. forecasters said Monday. This one is a wait-and-watch for the Southeast coast.

It could become the fourth named storm of the hurricane season.

The National Hurricane Center put the odds at 70 percent that it could become a tropical depression — a storm not as powerful as a tropical storm — within five days.