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.

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)

Drunkorexia

Drunkorexia is a fairly new phenomenon where an individual limits daily calorie intake in order to be able to “drink” their calories.  Usually, this is done in an effort to drink alcohol without gaining weight. There are multiple risks associated with drunkorexia.  Drinking on an empty stomach will get you drunk faster, but this in turn reduces self-control and can lead to a night of making bad decisions.  Binge eating, however, may follow because the individual is extremely hungry and having trouble controlling urges.  Unfortunately, purging frequently follows the binge eating session. By limiting your daily calorie intake, individuals may not be getting nutrients needed to function properly during every day activities. 

If you find yourself struggling with drunkorexia, here are some helpful tips: Martini

Moderation: Eat in moderation and you will not have to worry about limiting your calories in order to enjoy a drink or two.

Limits: Set limits on how much you will drink, and keep track of how many drinks you consume throughout an evening. (As a general rule for low-risk drinking, try to keep it to no more than three drinks in one sitting).

Choices: Choose drinks with a lower calorie content. Many mixed drinks are filled with sugar and loaded with calories.There are many options for low calorie beer.

Healthy Lifestyle: Eating healthy and exercising on a regular basis are the best ways to manage weight- you do not need to deprive yourself a meal!

Support: If you find yourself struggling ask family, friends, or seek professional help.  UND offers free counseling services to students.

UND offers many resources to students beyond the University Counseling Center.  These resources include: Student Health Services, Residence Services, University Police Department, Dean of Students (CARE team).  If you would like to find out more information about these services look under the alcohol tab on the Heath & Wellness Hub homepage (http://und.edu/health-wellness/hub/alcohol.cfm).

What do you do when you’re sick with the flu?

We all get sick from time to time. Sometime it is just a minor cold – which is expected when living in this frozen tundra. Sometimes, however, it is the flu (AKA influenza) – a respiratory illness caused by a virus. Flu is highly contagious and is usually spread by people coughing and sneezing around you. The virus then becomes airborne and can be inhaled by anyone nearby. You can also get the flu if you touch a contaminated surface like a phone or a doorknob and then touch your nose or mouth.

Adults are contagious one day before getting symptoms and up to 7 days after becoming ill which means that you can spread the flu virus not even knowing that you are infected. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), between 5% and 20% of Americans get the flu each year.

So how do you know it is flu? The most common symptoms of the flu are:

- Fever: 100-102°F lasting 3-4 days

- Headaches

- Muscle or body aches

- Fatigue/weakness lasting 2-3 weeks

- Extreme exhaustion at onset of virus

- Chest discomfort and cough, especially if it becomes severe

- Rare: vomiting or diarrhea

- Occasional symptoms might include stuffy nose, sneezing, and sore throat. However, these symptoms are more likely to be the common cold rather than flu.

Complications of the flu can be life threatening, such as bacterial pneumonia, ear infection, sinus infection, dehydration, or worsening of chronic medical conditions like congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes. More than 200,000 people are hospitalized and 36,000 die annually because of flu in the United States, according to NIH.

To avoid these unpleasant symptoms and terrible complications that can prevent you from studying and having social life, there are a couple of things you can do to recover faster:

1. Blow your nose often and right away: gently blow while plugging the other nostril to avoid irritation.

2. Stay rested: sleeping and relaxing helps the body direct energy toward the immunity battle internally.

3. Gargle: moistens a sore throat and brings temporary relief, 1 tsp. of salt per cup of water 4 times per day.

4. Drink hot liquids: relieves nasal congestion and helps prevent dehydration, soothes inflamed membranes that line the nose and throat.

5. Take a steamy shower: moisturizes your nasal passages and relaxes you.

6. Apply hot/cold packs around congested sinuses: either temperature may help you feel more comfortable.

7. Sleep with an extra pillow under your head: helps drain nasal passages.

8. Don’t fly unless necessary: added air pressure puts more stress on your respiratory system.

9. Stay at home and rest 24 hours AFTER a fever has broken: prevent the spread of the flu!

The best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated early! Flu season usually starts in October and it takes about two weeks for the protective properties of the vaccine to take effect. By being vaccinated, you help your body to build antibodies to fight off the infection easier. To schedule your appointment, call Student Health at (701)777-4500.

Also, don’t forget to wash your hands, eat healthy, exercise, and clean your work space. It will greatly reduce your risk of getting the flu. Stay healthy and away from this virus!

Spring Break Survival

Spring Break Survival is an exciting event encouraging UND students to make safe, healthy, and informed decisions over Spring Break. The event will include Bear Pong (not a tHUB_SpringBreakSurvival_Screen_Portriatypo!), condom races, booths, activities, and presentations on a variety of health and wellness topics, as well as a FREE taco in a bag. The topics that will be discussed at the booths include date rape drugs, drinking games (and protective behaviors!), alternative activities to do in Grand Forks over spring break, calories in alcoholic beverages, STD’s and STI’s, sun care, and staying hydrated. Students will be given a passport when they enter the event.  Students will visit each booth and activity at Spring Break Survival, where they will receive a stamp for engaging in each activity. Once they have received a stamp from every station, they can get their free taco in a bag and be entered into a drawing for VISA gift cards!

This event is sponsored by the Health & Wellness Hub at UND. We hope to see you there!

Be sure to “like” us on Facebook to learn about more exciting Health & Wellness opportunities and events this semester

Spring Break Safety: Are You Ready?

After a long and painfully cold winter, spring break for UND students cannot come any faster! With all of the build up for a vacation from school and hopefully spending some time in the sun, how will you have fun while keeping yourself safe? For some students, taking a vacation or having a break from school might seem like the perfect time to have a few drinks, but what happens when pressure from our friends makes us feel like we should drink more? What do you do?! There are a lot of options in this situation and some things for students to be aware of.

When consuming alcohol it is important to do so responsibly, and at a pace which allows our body to process it.  Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is the amount of alcohol that is in our blood stream and can be calculated by looking at the chart below. It takes our body about 1 hour to process one standard drink [12oz beer, 5oz wine,  1.5oz hard liquor], so if you decide to drink over spring break, remember to give yourself some recovery time. Getting a good meal in beforehand and staying hydrated are also key things to remember if you are going to use alcohol.

If you are taking a vacation or plan to be around other people who are consuming alcohol that you do not know, it is especially important for you to keep yourself safe. Alcohol is the number one date rape drug, so stay in control and look out for yourself and others. More information on how to have a safe spring break and other resources are listed below.

Don’t forget to check out the Spring Break Survival event in the Memorial Union Loading Dock, Wednesday, March 12th from 6:30-9:30pm for games, food, and fun learning activities for how you can have a safe spring break!

Other Campus and Community Resources:

http://und.edu/health-wellness/

http://www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov/

http://www.cdc.gov/family/springbreak/

http://www.safespringbreak.org/safety-tips/

Misuse of Prescription Drugs

Many of us have had days where we were over loaded with homework, having fights with our parents and friends, or just feeling unenthusiastic. Sometimes we are able to break the depressing cycle and focus on the great things that are happening in our lives, other times we turn to things like alcohol or drugs to help us cope with life.drugs

Studies have shown that the misuse of prescription medications in college students is on the rise. Many students are using prescribed medications (like Adderall, which is a stimulant prescribed to patients who have ADHD, Xanax, which is a sedative prescribed to patients who suffer from anxiety and panic attacks, and Vicodin, which is a morphine prescribed to patients who have severe pain) to feel better and “manage” their daily lives. When prescribed by a doctor for a certain use, the medicine can be beneficial to a person, but when a person starts overdosing on a medication and taking it with other drugs and/or alcohol the effects can be deadly. Abusing prescription medication can lead to organ damage, seizures, heart attacks, strokes, and even death. When students start abusing medications their chances for becoming binge drinkers, misusers of drugs like marijuana and cocaine, and drug addicts increases dramatically. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the misuse of prescription drugs. 

One of the best ways to relieve stress is by exercising. In the words of Elle Woods from Legally Blond, “I just don’t think that Brooke could’ve done this. Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.” Happy people are also more able to cope with the struggles of life. One other thing that a person could do is seek-out counseling services. Most college campuses, like ours, offer free counseling to students who may be feeling stressed, dealing with medication abuse, and dealing with alcohol abuse. Although it may be hard to step out of your comfort zone, the benefits of living a healthy, drug free lifestyle are definitely worth it.

More information on prescription abuse can be found at http://www.talkaboutrx.org

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