Text4Baby Challenge

By Jamie Shuster

Providing health education to our clients and the communities that we serve is one of our top priorities at DHEC. With the rise in popularity of smart phones and texting, our outreach efforts are evolving to better serve our clients and connect more South Carolinians to health education resources by reaching out to them directly via text messages.

Starting August 1, DHEC’s regional public health teams will be launching an eight-week challenge to enroll clients in Text4Baby, which is a free cell phone text messaging service for pregnant women and new moms. Text messages are sent three times a week with information on how to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. The text messages are timed to the pregnant woman’s due date or the baby’s date of birth. Continue reading

Protect yourself from mosquito bites

By Jennifer Read

Mosquito Prevention

A few days ago DHEC Public Health confirmed the first case of chikungunya virus this year in a South Carolina resident. The case occurred in an Upstate resident who recently returned from a trip to Haiti.

Chikungunya virus, a mosquito-borne illness traditionally found in Africa and Asia, was recently identified in the Caribbean. The symptoms of chikungunya are headache, fever, rash, joint swelling or muscle pain.

So far, the virus has only been identified in the United States in individuals who recently traveled internationally. If you recently traveled to the Caribbean and believe you have been infected by a mosquito-borne illness, you should contact your health care provider.​

Prevent the Bite

To protect yourself and your family from any mosquito-borne illnesses, DHEC Public Health recommends following “the four Ds” to prevent bites:

  1. DEET - Apply insect repellent on exposed skin and clothing when you go outdoors. Use an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellent. Permethrin sprayed on clothing provides protection through several washes. Don’t spray repellent on skin under clothing and don’t use permethrin on skin.
  2. Dress - Cover up. Wear long sleeve shirts and long pants and socks while outdoors to prevent mosquito bites.
  3. Dawn and dusk - Reduce exposure to mosquitoes during the early morning and evening hours when they are most active. It is important to wear repellent at that time.
  4. Drain - Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property where mosquitoes can lay their eggs, including flowerpots, old car tires and pet bowls.

For more information on how to prevent mosquito bites this summer, check out our website.

Fourth of July Safety

By Jamie Shuster

Nothing says 4th of July here in South Carolina like grilling out and spending time with friends and family. One way people celebrate our nation’s birthday is with fireworks, and our Division of Injury and Violence Prevention is urging anyone using fireworks this holiday weekend to do so safely.

Every year thousands of people across the country are injured by improperly handling fireworks and South Carolinians are no different. In 2010 there were 182 injuries, including serious burns, contusions, and other trauma resulting in 177 people treated in hospital emergency rooms across the state.

Here are some more statistics you should know:

The risk of fireworks injury is highest among people ages 15-24.  

83% of those injured were men 

23% were under the age of 18.

With National Fireworks Safety Month running June 1 through July 4, it’s important for everyone to remember that fireworks can be very dangerous if misused. Neal Martin, health educator with the Division of Injury and Violence Prevention, offers these tips to stay safe this Independence Day: Continue reading