Concussions: More than a game changer

By Stephen Hudson

If it’s August, then it must be football season in the Palmetto State. As players take to the gridiron with football practice and games this fall, it remains important to take precaution when it comes to reducing the risk of concussions.

A common injury in athletes, a concussion is a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) with serious, sometimes lethal, repercussions.  A study recently released by the Colorado School of Public Health and the University of Colorado at Denver found that five to six concussions occur among high school football players per 10,000 games or practices each year.

And it’s not just football players. Many of our young athletes in other sports are also susceptible to head traumas. For instance, soccer players can get concussions when hitting the ball with their head. In addition, research shows that female athletes often suffer from sports-related concussions more often than males, and recover slower.

Concussions need to be taken seriously, both on and off the field. Here in South Carolina TBI leads to 11,500 emergency room visits each year, mostly due to falls and motor vehicle accidents. Teachers, coaches, parents and athletes should all know the warning signs of a concussion. Some key signs to be aware of include difficulty remembering, headaches, sensitivity to light and irritability.

If you suspect someone is suffering from a TBI, please get them medical attention quickly.

Text4Baby Challenge Update

By Jamie Shuster

text4baby-imageLast month we announced that our four regional Public Health teams were launching a twelve-week challenge to enroll our clients in Text4Baby, which is a free cell phone text messaging service for pregnant women and new moms. Moms and dads can sign up by texting “BABY” to 511411. They then receive text messages three times a week on how to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. The messages are timed to the pregnant woman’s due date or the baby’s date of birth.

Our public health teams across the state have been hard at work to help our clients sign up for this innovative health education service since the challenge started on August 1. They’ve done such a great job that during the first two weeks of the challenge, South Carolina led the nation among medium sized states in the number of signups for Text4Baby.

So far, our Midlands team is leading the way, signing up 103 new moms for the service between August 1 and 9. Upstate came in second with 44 new signups, followed by Lowcountry with 35 signups and Pee Dee with 33.

Thank you to all of our Public Health staff members who are helping connect new moms to this free health education service and keep up the great work.

Back-to-School and Immunizations

back-to-school-immunizationsBy Stephen Hudson

It’s hard to believe school starts next week. Regardless if your child is heading to kindergarten this year, or is a returning student, they are well prepared with books, paper, pencils and most importantly their immunizations. Yes, immunizations for students are an important part of their success this school year.

To attend school students need updated vaccinations, and DHEC is reminding parents and guardians now is the time to get your children vaccinated before the new school year starts to ensure they stay healthy and ready to learn. With a new school year brings new adventures and new friends. Let it also mean our state’s children and properly vaccinated and ready for the new year.

Check with your child’s pediatrician or visit the CDC for a listing of vaccines needed for school. We have a complete listing of immunizations your child will need for enrollment in a South Carolina school on our website.