SC Gaining Traction on Preteen Vaccinations

By Jamie Shuster

Preteen VaccinationsThe CDC just released the results of their National Immunization Survey-Teen and there is good news for South Carolina students. The percentage of young people ages 13-17 who received a Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) vaccine rose from 64.9% to 71.9% between 2012 and 2013. During this same time period, meningococcal coverage also rose from 58.5% to 68.7%.

But the biggest gain came in HPV coverage. South Carolina saw an 18.5% increase in females who received one or more doses of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine between 2012 and 2013, jumping from 41.9% to 60.4% and prompting national recognition from the CDC for our impressive increase in coverage rates.

So how did we achieve this success? Continue reading

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.