Disclaimer: The information, articles, and tips portrayed on this blog, while based on research, do not constitute medical advice. The opinions expressed are meant to educate and inform, but not to dictate lifestyle choices or personal beliefs. These articles are meant to provoke thought on issues surrounding college health and to inform the Hopkins community of healthy information and resources.

10.28.2010

Weekend Sip Tip

10.28.2010
Halloween is not just a time for ghosts and goblins to come out of hiding. Weary college students who have been holed up in dark rooms, tortured by hours of studying and paper writing, will at last come out in droves to make their way to Downtown Baltimore, particularly to Fells Point. Over the years it has become a hot spot for college students across Baltimore City and County. Literally, thousands of eager students crowd the streets to eat, drink, and be merry. While the sights and costumes are certainly something to admire, it may help to know a few of these tricks before you head out for treats.

First of all, the crowds will make cab use a difficult task. Many will drop you off blocks from the square and be prepared to walk just as far back to find an open cab back home. Also be aware that the bars that may have previously glanced past your fake ID are more aware this weekend that underage drinkers will attempt to sneak in. Plus, there will be plenty of officers present. There are punishments for possessing or providing fake IDs! If you dare to try yours, be prepared to be denied and ensure you have another way home. It's very easy to get separated from friends and the loud bars and crowds will make it difficult to hear any phone calls. Keep an emergency cash stash of at least $20 on you so you can grab a cab home solo if need be. Another casualty of the crowds- long lines. You will walk to the square, wait in lines to get into bars, wait in lines to get drinks at bars, and definitely wait to get into bathrooms as a results of those drinks at the bar. Wear comfy shoes, you will be on your feet a lot! Regardless of which area of the city you choose to venture (Fells, Fed, Canton, or PowerPlant), you will experience a similar scene regardless. Your best option may be to stick at home and have a Halloween party all your own! No matter where you celebrate, if you choose to drink, do so responsibly. There's nothing scarier than getting lost, arrested, or hospitalized as a result of Halloween fun. Don't be THAT guy or ghoul- Stop@Buzzed!

Want real Fells Point testimonials? Click to expand for real words of wisdom from real Hopkins students!

Tip of the Week: Divide and Conquer

Depending on your schedule, these past and upcoming weeks may demand you to utilize your multitasking skills. Juggling your commitments, studies, papers, and social life can prove difficult for even the most organized student. While it may seem time efficient to accomplish two (or more) things at once, the product could suffer as a result.

Turns out, your brain's prefrontal cortex is designed to optimally do one thing at a time, according to Adam Gazzaley, M.D. of the University of California at San Francisco. This area of your brain processes information. If you throw too many things at it at once, it gets overloaded. This results in a lower quality of work. If you have a long list of things to do, prioritize them and focus on doing each thing individually with the most important or first due task at the top. Designate a time to focus on the specific task at hand and push out other distractions (people, electronics, Facebook). It may seem like you aren't accomplishing much, but in reality, you will be more focused and it will show in your work. Instead of rereading, editing, or going back in your notes, you may breeze through your work and realize your to-do list is done!

10.27.2010

In the News: Four Loko, No Bueno

10.27.2010
Forget the Red Bull Vodkas. There's another crop of alcoholic energy drinks taking center stage recently. Nine students from Central Washington University found themselves hospitalized following an off campus party where a large quantity of the beverage Four Loko was consumed. The drink ranges in alcohol concentration from 6% to 12% alone. Despite this, many partying students added additional alcohol to the mix which resulted in students carrying a BAC of 0.12 up to 0.35 that night. While the hospitalized students have since recovered, the drama continues.

The incident resulted in the CWU president banning Four Loko on campus and the State Attorney General Rob McKenna to call for a ban on caffeinated malt liquors. The FDA has already brought the alcoholic energy drink industry under close scrutiny, questioning whether these drinks are actually safe for consumption. Over 25 companies have been notified by the FDA to provide evidence that their products are safe. To date, no definite conclusions or decisions have been made. Many questions swirl about the effects of caffeine and alcohol combinations, but studies have found that those who do choose to mix the two often find themselves in riskier situations. To protect your health, stick to one or other, and always remember to drink in moderation!

SEE for Yourself on Monday

SEE Tip: Turn those ZZZ's into A's! According to the National Institute of Health’s Guide to Healthy Sleep, short naps can improve alertness and focus, but naps that last longer than an hour can make you groggy and disrupt sleeping patterns. For more, visit http://tiny.cc/ktkiv 

Quit Tip from HKB: Quit smoking to save your heart, lungs, and brain! A recent study found that your Alzheimer's risk spikes 157% with heavy smoking. Heavy smoking in mid-life has been linked to dramatic increases in dementia and Alzheimer's disease, most likely associated with inflammation caused by tobacco use. Save your health now and your brain later. Stop smoking now!

Mellow Out Monday: Coffee raises levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, while green tea offers numerous health benefits including stress reduction.  Try some chamomile tea which is good for calming the mind and lowering stress. Not a big fan of green tea? According to researchers black tea may be a stress-fighter too. Study participants who drank regular black tea displayed lower levels of cortisol, and reported feeling calmer during six weeks of stressful situations than those who drank a placebo with the same amount of caffeine. So instead of reaching for a big cup of Joe you may want to consider a cup of tea in its place.   You can also let Stressbusters melt your stress away. FREE 5-minute seated back rubs are available every Monday night at the MSE library, Q-level from 8-10 pm.

Minimize Monday: A serious advocate for a sustainable world should be concerned about their water usage and work to reduce it. This task is not always easy especially when it comes to forcing yourself out of a nice hot shower. The good news is you can start with a small change. For every minute and a half you cut from your average daily shower time, you will save 150 gallons of water a month. Try cutting a minute and a half from your shower time every day this week; you may wind up adopting a sustainable habit! For more information on this tip and other water saving tips, visit The Daily Green.

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10.21.2010

Weekend Sip Tip

10.21.2010
Many typical scenes play out at college parties when alcohol is involved. There's the one where there's a dance off. There's another where someone spills a drink on so-and-so. And hopefully there's the one where a group of friends went out, drank responsibly, and got home safely. But there is another scene that can be found at parties that is extremely dangerous. Perhaps you've seen it. The one where a young girl is drunk, separated from her friends, and made extremely vulnerable. Enter the overeager male who uses this situation to his advantage. He feeds her drinks, convinces her he's a nice guy, and takes her home. She wakes up with little memory but a whole lot of regret. This scene- is sexual assault. One in four college aged women will be a victim of rape or attempted rape. And 90% of college rapes involve alcohol by the victim, assailant, or both.

It's sad when bad decisions result in this scenario, but fortunately as bystanders, there is something everyone can do to help- stand up and step up. It's easy to get caught up in our own lives and our own situations, but if you ever spot a situation that doesn't look right or feel right to you- it probably isn't right. It just takes one person to ask, "Are you ok? Do you know how to get home? Where are your friends?" and potentially stop that girl from becoming a victim. Statistics can change and you can help by becoming an empowered bystander. What would you do?


video
 For more information on bystanders, or to check out the full article and extended clip, click here.

In the News: Craving Candy

Halloween- an American past-time for parties, costumes, and a whole lot of delicious candy! While finding the sweets comes easily, resisting them can prove to be quite difficult. Before you vilify the trick-or-treats, remember that there's nothing wrong with the occasional indulgence, just keep it in control!

It wouldn't be fair to say that one type of candy is 'better' for you than another. Really, an overload of sugar wouldn't be healthy for anyone. But there are some options out there with a bit more nutritional value than others. Dark chocolate offers antioxidants and contains more mood boosting serotonin over it's milk chocolate counterpart. Candies that take a longer time to eat (think caramels, lollypops, etc) give you the sugar rush and sweet flavor, but you are less likely to gorge yourself on an entire handful. If torn between two candies, check the nutritional label. The ingredient lists are labeled by weight. If your label reads: Milk Chocolate, Peanuts, Cocoa- that means those three ingredients are there in the highest quantities. If the first few ingredients are impossible to pronounce, you may want to choose something more natural. Some find it impossible to resist certain treats, so to ensure you don't wipe out an entire bag of Snickers, portion yourself. Get a small bowl or bag and limit yourself to what you have. It's find to treat yourself, but don't get tricked into unhealthy eating habits! For more tips, check out this article!

10.20.2010

Tip of the Week: Stress Less!

10.20.2010
If midterms have you feeling stressed, you are not alone. You can walk through campus and see the stress on many faces. One of the worst things you can do when you're stressed is fail to give yourself a break. Spending endless hours studying without sleep, food, or exercise is only going to put your body even further under negative stress. If you really want to excel, take a break! In fact, take a break today:

DE-STRESS FEST
Today, October 20th
1:00-4:00pm
Levering Lounge
*No books allowed*

There will be FREE food, drinks, massages, an acupuncturist, herbalist, games, music and more! Take an hour to unwind and socialize. You may find it gives you the boost you need to get back to the books!

10.18.2010

SEE for Yourself on Monday!

10.18.2010
SEE Tip: Go for a jog! A study of college students showed that a short aerobic activity enhanced information processing speed, even if it’s not a regular thing. Source: Short-term effects of aerobic exercise on executive processing, memory, and emotion. American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting, Indianapolis, Indiana, June 2-5, 2004. Tomporowski, P. D., Stueck, M. G., University of Georgia, Athens.

Quit Tip from HKB: Get involved in the fight against tobacco! HKB is holding a meeting tonight in the AMR-I TV Lounge. Stop by from 6-7 to learn more about HKB, discuss upcoming events, and join in!

Mellow Out Monday: Therapeutic massage has been used to improve health and increase a feeling of well-being for centuries. A new study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health found that "light touch massage" produced more feel-good hormones than deeper massage sessions. Volunteers were randomly assigned to either receive a  45-minute session Swedish massage or a session of light massage. Subjects who received the light touch experienced greater increases in oxytocin, a hormone that is connected to contentment than those who received the deep tissue massage. In addition the researchers found that both subjects had biological benefits from just one session. So whether you get a massage through the Health Center or a free five minute back rub from a Stressbuster you are sure to gain positive benefits.

Minimize Monday: Anyone who pays for heat and electricity in their home knows energy costs are rising. Reducing your energy consumption will not only save you money, but also reduce your carbon footprint. The first things you need to know to reduce your energy consumption are how much you energy you consume and what consumes energy in your home. You can learn everything you need to know by conducting your own home energy audit. Visit The Daily Green for more information on doing a home energy audit yourself.

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10.15.2010

Weekend Sip Tip

10.15.2010
We've already talked about how to take care of a drunk friend and what to watch for in case of alcohol poisoning. Need a refresher? Remember your ABC's. A = Airway. Check to make sure that the airway is clear and not blocked by vomit. B = Breathing. Watch their breathing and decide if it is slower than 8 breaths a minute or if it is erratic. C = Circulation. Touch your friends wrist. Can you feel their pulse? Is it strong and steady? Also check that their skin is warm and dry to the touch. D = Don't leave them alone. Keep an eye on them and check the ABC's every 15 minutes to ensure they are constant. If anything changes, then E = Emergency assistance. Even one warning sign is enough to call for help. As said, it's always better to be safe than sorry! While watching out for your friend, use the Bacchus Maneuver (click right) to position them. It keeps a clear airway in case they do happen to vomit. Once the morning comes and they awake, greet them with a big glass of water, but steer clear of the aspirin. The active ingredient (acetaminophen) can cause liver damage and the night before has already done plenty of that! While watching your drunk friend sleep it off may not sound like your idea of a fun night, know that you helped to potentially save a life. Good friends look out for each other. Be a good friend yourself and be sure not to overdo it, Stop@Buzzed!

10.13.2010

In the News: Study Abroad or Party Abroad?

10.13.2010
A study abroad experience offers students a great opportunity to get cultured, educated, and according to a new study, drunk. A study published in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors found that students studying abroad consumed double the amount abroad as they would at home- roughly 8 drinks per week!

The study surveyed 177 University of Washington students about their drinking habits before, during and after their time spent abroad (3-5 months). The amount consumed did depend on the countries of travel. The top drinking locations were Europe, New Zealand, and Australia while Middle Eastern countries had lower rates. While most students returned to their pre-travel amount of drinking, those that drank heavily abroad tended to bring the behavior back home with them. For more on the study, click here.
 
While lower drinking ages and a sense of curiosity of a new land may contribute to the increase in drinking, it's important to note the dangers that accompany such behavior. Without familiarity of the area and language, students may find it easier to be separated, lost, and vulnerable. If you choose to drink abroad, play is safe. Stick with your group, stay in well lit and well trafficked areas, and always know your route back to safety. Remember you're there to learn, not to nurse a hangover! Enjoy the trip, but Stop@Buzzed!

SEE for Yourself... this week!

SEE Tip: It's rare at Hopkins to get a day off from classes, so why spend your day cramped up inside your room pouring over notes and readings? Instead, use today to make time for the things you may have pushed aside throughout your hectic schedule. Sleep in, sit down for a nice healthy meal, and get out and get active with some exercise! A healthy body boosts a healthy mind. You may find that by focusing your energy on healthy habits, you have more energy to use throughout the week. Don't believe us, get out there and SEE for Yourself!

Quit Tip from HKB: It's pretty hard to smoke without a cigarette, so avoid carrying them around! Consider how often you are off-campus. If you don't keep a pack of cigarettes on you, you may not be tempted to smoke. If you do get the craving, you would be forced to bum one off someone else which can be uncomfortable. Instead, keep gum or lollypops in your bag. If you start to crave a cigarette, focus your attention elsewhere!

Mellow Out Monday: Let Stressbusters melt your stress away. FREE 5-minute seated back rubs are available every Monday night at the MSE library, Q-level from 8-10 pm.

Minimize Monday: Halloween is only a few weeks away. If you don’t have a costume yet, why not try creating your own. You could reduce your environmental footprint this Halloween by reusing one your old costumes. You could also reuse odds and ends around the house to come up with an original, cost-free, waste-free costume. For some homemade costume ideas, visit The Daily Green.

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10.07.2010

Weekend Sip Tip

10.07.2010
Let's say you decide to go out with some friends this weekend and make the healthy choice to Stop@Buzzed. You pace your drinks to one an hour, alternate drinks with water, and you ate a full meal before heading out. You find yourself having a great time at the party and know you'll be feeling fine in the morning. Unfortunately, your roommate is not in the same situation. They did not Stop@Buzzed. In fact, they have still not stopped at wasted. Suddenly your fun is over because your friend is in need of some assistance. What can you do when a friend's drinking becomes your problem? It's never fun to take care of a drunken friend, but hey, that's what good friends do. There are a few things you can do to help them out and make the night easier.  Steer them clear of any more alcohol, help them avoid anyone they may have issues with (i.e. avoid fights or arguments), get them drinking water as soon as you can, don’t let them out of your sight, and help get them home and safely into bed. If you are unsure of how much they drank, DO NOT LEAVE THEM ALONE! The majority of deaths from alcohol poisoning occur from persons choking on their own vomit when left alone. Keep an eye on them and check them for steady breathing, a strong pulse, normal skin coloration, and that they are not vomiting. If you notice any changes, get help immediately. Remember that it's better to be safe than sorry. If you choose to drink, don't ruin your friend's night because you lose control of yours. Keep yourself in check, Stop@Buzzed!

PS: Several of our alcohol awareness signs were stolen from the upper quad yesterday! We are very glad that they are so well liked people wanted to steal them, but unfortunately, they are ours and we do not have an unlimited supply or budget to replace them. If you took them, or know of anyone who took them, please return them home. We miss them. Plus, it's really not that funny to steal signs...

In the News: National Survey of Sex

Extra, extra! Read all about It! The Journal of Sexual Medicine just released the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior this week. This 118-page document includes research on the sexual activity and behaviors of nearly 6,000 adults and adolescents ages 14 to 94. The questions range from sexual preference to preferred sexual position. This survey not only offers an inside look into the sexual lives of Americans, but also features editorials and commentaries from many sexual-health experts. Michael Reece, director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University explains,“This survey is one of the most expansive nationally representative studies of sexual behavior and condom use ever conducted, given the 80-year span of ages.”

While the research is extensive, some notable findings include:
  • About 85% of men report that their partner had an orgasm at the most recent sexual event; this compares to the 64% of women who report having had an orgasm at their most recent sexual event.
  • While about 7% of adult women and 8% of men identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual, the proportion of individuals in the U.S. who have had same-gender sexual interactions at some point in their lives is higher.
  • 1 of 4 acts of vaginal intercourse are condom protected in the U.S. (1 in 3 among singles)- both a rate that could use improvement!
  • Adults using a condom for intercourse were just as likely to rate the sexual extent positively in terms of arousal, pleasure and orgasm than when having intercourse without one.
To read more on the National Survey, click here. The scientists found a need for greater use of condoms within the sexually active population. Protect yourself and your partners. Use Condom Sense!

10.06.2010

SHWC Flu Shot Clinic Today!

10.06.2010
Flu Season is almost upon us! Get your flu shot TODAY!

Wednesday, 10/6
MSE Library, C-Level
2:00-6:00pm
JHU Students Only
$15 non-SHWC Insured Students
$8 SHWC Insured Students

Protect your health and your GPA by preventing the flu from infecting you!

10.05.2010

Tip of the Week: Feel Your Boobies!

10.05.2010
October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In 2010 alone, over 200,000 women and 1,900 men were diagnosed and over 39,000 women and nearly 400 men will die as a result of this disease. Despite millions of dollars and hours spent in research, this disease continues to be one of the leading killers among US women.

Despite the mortality rates of breast cancer, early detection vastly improves one's chance of survival. While few cases are diagnosed in college-aged women and men, it is never too early to get into good habits. A simple self-breast exam once a month can get you feeling comfortable with your breast tissue's normal feel. By feeling confident in the knowledge of your body, you are better prepared to notice any subtle changes. Use this BSA (Breast Self Awareness) card for prevention and exam information. Remember, this disease can effect both women and men, so males should check their breast tissues as often as their testicles for any abnormalities or changes. Early detection can save lives, so take a few minutes once a month to protect your health.

For more information on breast cancer, or ways to make a donation to support the cause, visit the Susan G. Koman Foundation or the American Cancer Society. Save the TaTas!!

10.04.2010

SEE for Yourself on Monday!

10.04.2010
SEE Tip: A recent study from Cornell University found that we make more than 200 food-related decisions every day. The next time you are deciding what to put on your plate, choose the healthier options! Certain foods offer greater nutritional value than others. Opt for foods that are rich in nutrients, fiber, and protein- not rich in empty calories. Healthier foods can result in a healthier mind and body!

Quit Tip from HKB: Hey fellas, if you want less trouble getting it up, perhaps you shouldn't be lighting up! A Chinese study of nearly 5,000 men found that men who smoked more than a pack a day were 60% more likely to experience erectile dysfunction than their nonsmoking counterparts. Another fun fact- the majority of people prefer kissing nonsmokers. Quit now and you may improve your health and your love life!

Mellow Out Monday: Let Stressbusters melt your stress away. FREE 5-minute seated back rubs are available every Monday night at the MSE library, Q-level from 8-10 pm.

Minimize Monday: Save some change while saving the environment! If you often head to Cafe Q, Pura Vida, or Starbucks for your caffeine fix, consider investing in a travel mug. If you buy your daily cup of coffee in a disposable container, you are generating about 22.75 pounds of waste per year. Many places (like Starbucks) offer discounts for using your own cups. Want to save even more? Brew your own coffee at home! Read more tips at The Daily Green.

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