Category Archives: Student Health Guru

General health questions answered, healthcare myth busting and important public health announcements provided by Student Health Services, Psychiatric Services, Health & Wellness Peers and Pharmacy.

A Party & Synthetic Marijuana

For my birthday, I hosted a bonfire at my house and everyone in my high school was invited; however, I did not think many people would show up, but a lot of people ended up coming! People started drinking and smoking and basically doing things that my parents would not have liked or approved of. I didn’t know what to do at the time, so I just let the people do what they wanted and tried to enjoy myself- it was my birthday, after all.

Later on in the evening, one of my best friends was offered synthetic marijuana from another female at the party. My friend took a few puffs and reacted terribly. She began having intense anxiety and freaky hallucinations. After the high wore off, she said it was the worst feeling she had ever experiences and she thought she was going to have to go to the hospital.

Synthetic marijuana is also known as K2 and spice. It contains a variety of different chemicals which are not tested for safety. A lot of people are deceived by this drug, and are told that it is “okay to use” or, “better for the body than regular marijuana.” In actuality, the chemicals in synthetic marijuana are much worse. Health effects can include severe anxiety, nausea, increased heartbeat, seizures, and hallucinations. Like any other emergency, call 911 immediately if a friend is experiencing any of the above symptoms.

Who Needs Sleep?

As college students we have all seen the impossible triangle of college life.  You might think that you can only pick one or two options between getting enough – sleep, good grades, or an exciting social life – I’m here to tell you that if you find balance in your life you can have all three!  College is not an easy transition for many incoming freshmen and many of them develop mental health issues and have irregular sleep cycles.  In a recent study done at North Dakota State University in 2011- incoming college freshmen had the highest average number of days a week where they woke up feeling unrested. The two main reasons for not getting enough sleep was because of they were studying late into the night (28.8%) or socializing with friends (22.7%).

Definitely, one night of staying up late to study or hang out won’t hurt you in the long run, but the problem lies when it is done repeatedly.  During sleep is your body’s time to rejuvenate itself, and if you don’t give it that time- all aspects of your life can suffer.  Bad sleep habits can link directly to poor grades, energy level, and personal health.  In a study done by Select Comfort, the discovered the mean GPA for college students was a 3.08 with poor sleeping habits, where as it is 3.27 for students who have developed consistent sleep tendencies. 

The one thing that can help you obtain all three corners of “the impossible triangle” is – time management skill.  This is what you can do to sharpen the skill:

  • Find out where you are wasting time. You can do that by tracking your daily activity. Ask yourself “How do I spend my week? How do I spend each day? What time am I actually wasting?” Remember that time management is about changing your behavior and not your time.
  • Determine your goals and plan your time. First, think about what your goals are for the semester. Then, prioritize what needs to be done this month and create a weekly schedule. By having a schedule and actually sticking to it- is a great way to be productive!
  • Use time management tools. You can use a program like Outlook to create your weekly calendar and get updates.

Celebrate for sticking to your schedule. Do not forget to treat yourself for the progress you are making and the schedule that is helping you!  By using these simple techniques you will be surprised have time you have for everything you need-  So is it possible to get enough sleep while having a good time at college and get good grades at the same time? Absolutely, yes!  It is all about having a plan and being committed to accomplishing your goals.

So…Do you want to?

Asking for consent before you engage in sexual activity is important because it will keep you and your partner comfortable and in control of what is going happening.  When asking your partner for consent, there is no right or wrong way.  You just have to say what feels most comfortable for you in the situation, whether that means you get straight to the point or sugar coat it.  Some ways to ask for consent are:

 

  • Can I kiss you?
  • What are you comfortable with?
  • May I …?
  • Would you like to try this with me?

 

If you still feel unsure on what to say, just remember to ask exactly what you would like to do with your partner and get a yes or no answer.  If your partner gives you a vague answer or seems hesitant on what to say, that may be a sign that they don’t want to engage in the activity.  If that happens, tell your partner that it is okay if they don’t want to engage in that activity or anything at all. 
 
Once you and your partner have given consent, that does not mean things can’t stop.  You and your partner always have a right to say “no”, even if an agreement was made beforehand.  Some examples of what a partner might be doing if they want you to stop are:

 

  • Lack of eye contact
  • No response
  • Discomfort or tensing up
  • Saying things like, “I’m not sure,” “I’m scared,” or “Wait, I…”

 

If your partner doesn’t show any of the signs listed above but you feel that they might want to stop, just ask.  Overall, taking the time to pay attention to how your partner is responding will make them feel comfortable and respected. 
It’ll also help you to know when you are doing something right because your partner is giving you “yes” signs. Some examples of a “yes” sign are:

 

  • Telling you to keep going
  • Directing you on how to do something
  • Telling you that they are okay with that

 

Just remember to ask for consent before engaging in any sexual activity, pay attention to the “yes” or “no” signals, and always stop if you or your partner don’t want to engage in the activity anymore.  
If you are going to be sexually active, make sure you are always using protection.  The only way to be 100% safe from sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancy is to abstain from sexual activity.  Information in this blog was found from Think About It.   ​

UND Students Stay with the Same Friends When They Party!

89.1% of UND students stay with their same group of friends when they party.

stay_with_friends

This is a social norm that has begun to spread across campus. If you are anything like me, your initial reaction might have been along the lines of “… Okay? …” This social norm can be a little confusing if you are not aware of what protective behaviors are related to drinking. It might seem odd that we’re telling you about students drinking, but what it is really saying is that UND students are being safe when they party!

Staying with your friends when you go out drinking is what we call a protective behavior. It’s important to always have people you know and trust around so that they can lookout for you if you ever need help, or are too drunk to recognize a dangerous situation; and you can do the same for them. Essentially, what we’re doing is using the “Buddy System.”

However, staying with your friends is not the only protective behavior out there…
There are many other actions you can take to keep yourself safe when you drink. A few of these include:

  1. Setting limits on how many drinks you will have in one evening;
  2. Limiting your drinking sessions to certain days and times;
  3. Eating before and during drinking;
  4. Avoiding risky or heavy drinking situations;
  5. Spacing out your drinks and alternating in non-alcoholic drinks; and,
  6. Making a pre-determined plan about how to get home at the end of the night that does not involve driving yourself.

These are just a few things to keep in mind the next time you go out drinking. Hopefully, this is helpful in explaining why it is good that students stay with their friends when out partying.

KNOW the facts

KNOW

What do you know about alcohol use?

Do you know what the standard drink size is for beer, hard liquor, and wine?

Can you name 3 factors that influence your Blood Alcohol Content, or 3 protective behaviors?

If these questions are difficult for you, you may not be as informed on alcohol use as you could be. What does it matter, you say? Well, Cash Cab is coming to YOU on UND’s campus, April 28th through May 2nd, and knowing facts about alcohol is the only way for you to WIN! So brush up on your knowledge of alcohol use, stop by the Health & Wellness Hub for more information on alcohol, and look for the Cash Cab golf cart driving down University for your chance to show what you KNOW!

KNOW How to Help

Many students think that partying ONLY leads to a great time. Unfortunately, sometimes people take it too far and drink way too much, which can lead to some serious issues. It is important for all of us to KNOW How to Help if a dangerous situation were to arise. Check out more information on the KNOW Campaign!

Here are some great tips for knowing how to help your buddies out when they drink.  One helpful acronym that we use to remember the signs of alcohol over dose is C.A.N.S. CANS

Now, sometimes students in North Dakota are afraid to seek medical attention for themselves or a friend if they have drank too much because they do not want to get in trouble with the law. Fortunately, North Dakota passed a law called the North Dakota Medical Amnesty Law. This law states that if you contact law enforcement or emergency services for yourself or someone else, who is underage because there is a need for medical assistance due to alcohol consumption, AND you wait for and cooperate with emergency responders, up to five people are immune from criminal prosecution in North Dakota. Although a person may not get in trouble with the law, they could get in trouble with the university if they are a student.

Last but not least, know that every minute matters. If someone needs medical attention due to alcohol overdose do not hesitate to get them help! Some important numbers to have in your phone include:

  • The ambulance, fire, and police (9-1-1)
  • The Care Team (day: 701-777-2664, night/weekend: 701-777-3491)
  • Campus Police (701-777-3491).

Keep these helpful tips in mind so that if you or a friend ever find yourself in a serious situation, you will KNOW How to Help.

What’s New with Stickman?

Holy-smokes! I never thought hosting a root-beer pong tournament in the residence halls would be so exhilarating. From set up to take down, Kelsie (an AOD peer educator) and myself saw residents of Bek Hall play, laugh, and whether they liked it or not, learn a thing or two. Before I get ahead of myself, let me take a step back for a minute. The Health & Wellness Hub is conducting outreach to provide information about low-risk drinking so students may be able to make informed, responsible decisions when it comes to alcohol.

Stickman

Our outreach program consisted of a character named “Stickman.” Party with Stickman is a comic strip with a stick figure that explains college life experiences dealing with alcohol, binge drinking, and partying. The goal of this event was to talk about the cost of partying, blood alcohol content, and protective behaviors.

After a presentation and some gasp stricken expressions, we began a root-beer pong tournament; EXCEPT, this tournament had a little twist. As soon as a cup was made players had to pour the content of the cup into a jug that measured Standard Drink Units (SDU’s) for beer (5% alcohol for every 12 ounces). By doing this, participants were able to see how much alcohol is typically consumed during ONE drinking game. Lying on the table was also a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) chart where residents of Bek Hall were able to see their potential Blood Alcohol Content per game and how that level may impair their cognitive and physical abilities.

After the tournament, residents continued to practice and play until it was time to pack up. The most fulfilling part of the night was hearing students use terms from my presentation. One student even said, “I didn’t know how much I normally drink until know- I’m definitely going to watch myself from now on.” This brought a smile to my face, as I know the goal is to inform, but I never thought changing someone’s perception would also change my own. I learned teaching others is the first step to prevention. The more we know, the better we are as a whole. We all had a blast playing pong, meeting new people, and learning some new facts about alcohol. No matter how you have a good time, it was great partying with Stickman in Bek Hall!

Spring into Seasonal Fruit and Vegetables

It is hard to believe that spring is here (literally). With the start of a new season means different fruits and vegetables are in season as well. As far as fruits and vegetables go, spring is considered to be March, April and May. When a fruit or vegetable is in season it means is at its peak of flavor or harvest. Not only will the flavor be optimal the price will be the cheapest. Next time you head out to the grocery store be sure to try some of the following items that are in season right now!

strawberriessnow peasmango

Remember, you can enjoy the taste of any fruit or vegetable year-round by using fresh, frozen, canned, dried, and 100% juice – it all counts!

Apricots 
Artichokes 
Asparagus 
Barbados Cherries
Belgian Endive
Bitter Melon
Broccoli
Butter Lettuce
Cactus
Chayote Squash 
Cherimoya
Chives
Collard Greens
Corn
Fava Beans
Fennel
Fiddlehead Ferns
Green Beans
Honeydew
Jackfruit
Limes
Lychee 
Mango
Manoa Lettuce
Morel Mushrooms
Mustard Greens
Oranges 
Pea Pods
Peas
Pineapple
Purple Asparagus
Radicchio
Ramps
Red Leaf Lettuce
Rhubarb 
Snow Peas
Sorrel
Spinach
Spring Baby Lettuce
Strawberries
Swiss Chard
Vidalia Onions
Watercress
White Asparagus
 
limesartichokeswiss chardpineapple

Reference: http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.com

 

Sip, Swallow, and Chug: Watch what you drink on prescription drugs!

It might sound crazy to some, but in fact, a lot of a prescription drugs are affected by what you drink.  ImageAccording to the FDA (the Food and Drug Administration), “what you eat and drink can affect the way your medicines work” (fda.org).  This could mean a number of different things, from the development of a side effect previously unaffiliated with the medication or causing the medication to not work or do its job properly.  Interactions between prescription medications and food and drink are not something we usually think about.  Instead, we either only pay attention to what interactions may occur with whatever other medications and herbs we are presently taking, or we don’t think about it at all.

There are numerous dangers to mixing alcohol with prescription medications. Some of these dangers include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Memory trouble after having a drink or taking medicine
  • Loss of coordination (walking unsteadily, frequent falls)
  • Changes in sleeping habits 
  • Unexplained bruises 
  • Being unsure of yourself 
  • Irritability, sadness, depression 
  • Unexplained chronic pain
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Wanting to stay alone a lot of the time
  • Failing to bathe or keep clean
  • Having trouble finishing sentences 
  • Having trouble concentrating 
  • Difficulty staying in touch with family or friends
  • Lack of interest in usual activities (niaa.nih.gov)

What makes mixing with medications an even greater threat is that some medications already include alcohol, as much as 10% (niaaa.nih.gov). 

The below link is a guide published through the FDA that tells you prescriptions to avoid mixing with alcoholic beverages. I would encourage everyone to check it out and abide by what it has to say.

http://www.fda.gov/downloads/drugs/resourcesforyou/consumers/buyingusingmedicinesafely/ensuringsafeuseofmedicine/generaluseofmedicine/ucm229033.pdf

Kick the Butts’ Butt

On Wednesday, March 19th, anti-tobacco activists everywhere will be acknowledging the annual “Kick Butts Day.” Kick Butts Day is a day focused on standing up and speaking out against both tobacco use and the tobacco industry. All across the world, people will be holding all kinds of different anti-tobacco related events.  The primary goal of most of these events is to encourage current tobacco users to quit using tobacco for good. whatisincig

The benefits of quitting tobacco use are numerous, and it is important to investigate the options out there for helping you quit if you choose. Here at UND, there are plenty of resources. At the Health and Wellness Hub, located in the Memorial Union, users will find “Quit Kits” available.  Users can also check out Student Health Services to discuss the process of quitting tobacco, and perhaps get a check up to see how at risk you might be for tobacco induced health problems. Across North Dakota, the Department of Health has also established the “ND Quits” campaign.  Users interested in quitting can check out the campaign’s website or dial the toll free number to get access to free resources available for quitting.

The good news is that all across the U.S., tobacco use is decreasing. Compared to 42% of the population reporting regular tobacco use in 1965, in 2012, the percentage was reported to be 10%. (kickbuttsday.org) So, if you’re interested in quitting, please do your lungs a favor and check out these fabulous resources!

www.kickbuttsday.org (the official website for “Kick Butts Day”)

http://www.ndhealth.gov/ndquits/  (the official website for the ND Quits campaign)

1.800.784.8669 (ND Quits hotline)

701-777-2605 (UND Student Health Services)

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