Tag Archives: water

DHEC in the News: Beach Water Advisories, Champions of the Environment

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

What state health officials want beach-goers to know about water advisories

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WPDE) — It’s officially beach season in Myrtle Beach and with that comes water advisories. However, officials with the South Carolina Department of Health say bacteria in the water advisories don’t mean the beach is closed for swimming.

DHEC’s Champions of the Environment Program

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) – Each year eight schools statewide are awarded a Champions of the Environment Grant for their environmental education projects.

Midlands Rivers Coalition Kicks Off 3rd Year of Water Quality Monitoring

By: Bureau of Water

May 1, 2019, marks the third year the Midlands Rivers Coalition will monitor water quality health in the major rivers of the Midlands of South Carolina. Weekly monitoring will be conducted from May through September and site data will be posted every Thursday on howsmyscriver.org.

The Midlands Rivers Coalition brings together outfitters, recreation providers, environmental organizations, state and local government, academia, industry, property owners, and other users of the rivers. The group was formed in 2016 to educate river users about the water quality of the Broad, Lower Saluda, and Congaree Rivers. These rivers are attractive destinations for public fishing, canoeing, kayaking, tubing, swimming, and wading. Short-term events such as heavy rain or sewer overflows can sometimes negatively affect water quality. Stormwater runoff picks up chemicals, trash, and other pollutants and flows into a storm sewer system or directly into a lake, stream, or river. Anything that enters a storm sewer system is discharged, untreated, into the waterbodies we use for recreating. Bacteria and other pathogens can wash into recreational areas and create health hazards, prompting an advisory to be issued.

Coalition members provide funding to support water quality monitoring and assessment of bacteria levels in the three rivers. If a water quality sample comes back above the state bacteria standard for swimming, a Coalition advisory is issued. Subsequent sampling is conducted the following day and results are reported the next afternoon. Providing current, easily accessible information about water quality health empowers the public to make decisions about when to recreate on the river.

As the Coalition enters its third year of monitoring, it’s celebrating some milestones. In 2018, over 300 water quality samples were collected, an increase of nearly 200 samples from 2017. In the 2019 season, the Coalition will increase information accessibility by placing 21 informational signs in heavy public use locations around the Midlands’ rivers. Most of the signs can be changed to indicate a water quality advisory when elevated bacteria levels are detected. The signs will also feature a Quick Response code that river users can scan for more information.

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The Coalition hopes river-related stakeholders across the state will imitate this initiative as a model to enhance public awareness of the impact of stormwater runoff and commit to informing citizens about water quality health. For more information about the Coalition, and to review water quality conditions, visit howsmyscriver.org.

Handwashing: A Simple, Effective, Painless Way To Help Fight Germs

Want to know a simple, effective, painless way to protect yourself and others and put a stop to the spread of germs? Wash your hands.

Regular handwashing is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick and keep from spreading germs to others. It is particularly important to wash your hands at appropriate times before, during and after preparing food, after using the toilet and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

It’s flu season. While getting the annual flu vaccine is the single best way to protect yourself and your loved ones, it’s also important to wash your hands. Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water.

So, how should you wash your hands to make sure they are clean? Here’s what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says:

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. If you need a timer, hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

If clean, running water is not accessible, use soap and available water. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol to clean your hands.

Visit the CDC’s website for more information on handwashing.

From Other Blogs: Breast Cancer Awareness Month, protect your hearing, flu & more.

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

Be Informed. Be Empowered.

Do you ever find yourself wondering what is right for you when it comes to breast cancer screening or treatment? Having the right information about prevention, screening, and treatment for breast cancer can help you decide what’s best for you.

As we observe Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I want to highlight how promoting the right tools not only gets the word out about breast cancer, but also empowers you in making the best decisions for your health.  —  From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s The Topic Is Cancer blog

October is “National Protect Your Hearing Month.”

October is “Better Hearing and Speech Month,” a time to raise awareness about what you need to do to protect your hearing.

Did You Know?

Repeated exposure to loud noise over the years can damage your hearing—long after exposure has stopped.

This is just one of the many informative facts available on CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health’s new hearing loss website: https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/hearing_loss/default.html. — From the CDC’s Your Health — Your Environment blog

Never Miss a Flu Vaccine. Here Are the Reasons #WhyIFightFlu

The reason #WhyIFightFlu? It saves lives.

Americans experienced one of the most severe flu seasons in four decades last year with flu activity remaining high well into March 2018. Millions of Americans became sick with the flu, an estimated 900,000 were hospitalized, and 80,000 died from flu and its complications. — From the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) blog

3 Reasons Why Handwashing Should Matter to You

Most of us are familiar with the parental-like voice in the back of our minds that helps guide our decision-making—asking us questions like, “Have you called your grandmother lately?” For many that voice serves as a gentle, yet constant reminder to wash our hands.

Handwashing with soap and water is one of the most important steps you can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to loved ones. — From the CDC’s Public Health Matters blog

School Lunch: Lots 2 Love

While many students were busy enjoying summer vacation, our nation’s hardworking school nutrition professionals were also staying busy, dedicating their time to training and meal planning for the upcoming school year. During National School Lunch Week (October 15-19), USDA recognizes the tireless effort and love that goes into preparing school lunches for 30 million children.

Well before our youngsters headed back to class, this past summer both the Minnesota Department of Education and the Montana Department of Public Instruction made the most of their Team Nutrition Training Grant funding. This is important funding that provides culinary job skills training for their respective school nutrition professionals. The trainings help school managers and cooks prepare healthy meals that use local foods in their menus, while reflecting regional and local food preferences. — From the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) blog

5 tips to get more fruits and vegetables in your diet

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), more than 90 percent of adults and children do not consume the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. Palmetto Health Heart Hospital dietitian Lisa Akly offers these tips to get more fruits and vegetables into your diet. — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

World Mosquito Day: Protect Yourself And Your Family

World Mosquito Day (August 20) isn’t a day off for the pesky insects that can transmit diseases. Neither should you take the day off from avoiding bites and ridding your homes and WorldMosquitoDayImageyards of areas where mosquitoes breed.

Mosquitoes can spread diseases such as West Nile. The most common diseases that could potentially be carried by mosquitoes in South Carolina, home to at least 61 different species, include: West NileEastern Equine EncephalitisLa Crosse encephalitis, Saint Louis encephalitis virus, and dog/cat heartworm.

Although August 20 is the mosquito’s day, so to speak, DHEC urges residents to not feed or house the insects. Take precautions to avoid mosquito bites and rid your home and yard of areas where they breed.

Reduce the numbers of adult mosquitoes around your home.

  • Drain, fill or eliminate sites that have standing water.
  • Empty or throw away containers — from bottles and jars to tires and kiddie pools — that have standing water.

Keep mosquitoes outside: Use air conditioning or make sure that you repair and use window/door screens.

Avoid Mosquitoes: Most mosquito species bite during dawn, dusk, twilight hours and night. Some species bite during the day, especially in wooded or other shaded areas. Avoid exposure during these times and in these areas.

Wear insect repellent: When used as directed, the proper insect repellent is the BEST way to protect yourself from mosquito bites — even children and pregnant women should protect themselves.

Cover up: When weather permits, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants.

So, apply the repellent, empty or get rid of containers in your yard holding water and have a Happy World Mosquito Day.

Click here to learn more about protecting yourself and your home from mosquitoes.

Visit the DHEC website to learn more about mosquitoes and the diseases they can spread.