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.

5.26.2011

Congratulations to the Class of 2011!

5.26.2011
On behalf of the Center for Health Education and Wellness, congratulations to the graduating Class of 2011! You have all worked so hard and we wish you health, happiness, and success!


5.25.2011

Happy Hump Day!

5.25.2011
           

Do you see any differences between these two condoms?

The condom on top is a latex condom, as is the condom below it.  BUT, the condom on the bottom is also flavored (banana-yum)! 
 
Are flavored condoms different than non-flavored condoms?

Yes! Flavored condoms are primarily used for oral sex.  Since STIs/STDs can be transmitted through oral sex, it is important to use protection.  And with latex not always tasting that great on it's own (we can thank our dentists for that early lesson) flavored condoms are available to make the experience more enjoyable.

Flavored condoms are one of the best options for oral sex, but not necessarily the best for other forms of sexual activity.  While flavored condoms may be used, it is important to verify that the condoms do protect against STIs/STDs and unintended pregnancy.  And when it comes to vaginal and anal intercourse, flavored condoms may not be the way to go since they can negatively affect the pH balance of the cavity, which can cause yeast infections, or try a sugar-free flavored condom to avoid altering the balance level.


5.24.2011

Got Junk?

5.24.2011
Donate unwanted stuff from your summer move-out to the JH-U-Turn Community Yard Sale.

Currently collecting clothing, furniture, books, electronics and household items in cardboard donation boxes in the Homewood residence halls.Your things can get a second chance at the JHU-U-Turn community yard sale on Saturday June 11 at 8 a.m. on the Homewood campus. Proceeds from the sale will benefit the JHU Neighborhood Fund and the United Way of Central MD. Collections will run through the end of May. For more information on donation instructions and to volunteer at the sale click here.


5.19.2011

Tip of the Week: Think Small

5.19.2011

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Think Small.
How many times have you tried to change something about yourself, only to fail? Maybe you succeeded for a while, only to slide back into your old ways. Chances are it wasn’t what you wanted to change but how you tried to change that was the problem. People who don’t succeed at making changes often fail because they try to make too great a change too quickly – they try to “eat an elephant” all in one bite. Try taking smaller bites as in one step, one task, one measure, to achieve your overall goal.

5.18.2011

Chew on this: Summer Tanning Tip

5.18.2011

Turn down the base!


Summer is quickly approaching which means warmer weather, more time to spend with friends/family, and for some, tanning.  Some people believe developing a “base tan” through indoor tanning will ultimately help protect their skin from sunburn once outdoors.  However, there is little evidence to support this. 

Tanning can be dangerous due to the exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation which damages skin. This can be just as risky whether the exposure comes from tanning beds or natural sunlight. This damage increases the risk of skin cancer and premature skin aging” (i.e. wrinkles and age spots). Even scarier is the fact that most tanning beds emit mainly UVA rays, which penetrates deeper into the skin than UVB, and may increase the risk of melanoma.

As an alternative to working on a “base tan” this summer, try using sunless tanning products to achieve a tanned look, and use sunscreen frequently and liberally (spf of 30 or more is recommended) to avoid sunburn.

Information taken from Lawrence E. Gibson, M.D., Mayo Clinic
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/tanning/AN00589 

5.17.2011

In the News: Adderall - the New Study Buddy?

5.17.2011

To many the drug Adderall is a necessity because taking it allows them to process information more efficiently and enhances concentration. These people legitimately need to take it for a condition known as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). ADD and ADHD medications such as Adderall are amphetamines that serve as a stimulant to enhance focus for individuals with these conditions. For others it is used as a“study aid" or "study buddy.”

Adderall is classified as a schedule II narcotic which can be as dangerous as cocaine or meth. While Adderall is considered safe when taken as prescribed by a doctor, experts say it can be very addictive. Among 18 to 20-year-olds, full-time college students were twice as likely as their counterparts who didn’t attend college to use Adderall for non-medical purposes, according to a 2009 report based on The National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Britain's Academy of Medical Sciences, have characterized the use of "study drugs" as a form of cheating, akin to the use of steroids in sports. Do students who don't medically need to take Adderall have an unfair advantage? Sound off and tell us what you think.

5.16.2011

SEE for Yourself on Monday

5.16.2011
Go to bed early one night this week. Sleep helps you process all the information you’re learning! A  study at Harvard Medical School demonstrates that sleep within 30 hours of learning new information or a new activity is absolutely required for improved performance. Subjects who were tested only a few hours later and subjects who were sleep deprived the next night did worse on the test than those who slept normally following the activity.  Stickgold, R., James, L., Hobson, J.A. Visual discrimination learning requires sleep after training. Nature Neuroscience. Dec2000, Vol. 3 Issue 12, p1237.


Quit on Monday tip: Learn what triggers your desire for a cigarette, such as stress, the end of a meal, entering a bar, etc. Avoid those triggers or if that's impossible, plan alternative ways to deal with the triggers.

Mellow Out Monday tip: Stressed out over upcoming exams? Take time to de-stress! Let Stressbusters melt your stress away. FREE 5-minute seated back rubs are available for the last time this semester tonight at the MSE library, Q-level from 8-9 pm. 

5.13.2011

Sip Tip: Pace yourself, avoid blackouts

5.13.2011


“Have you ever awoken after a night of drinking not able to remember things that you did or places that you went?” If you have, then you may have experienced what is known as, “a blackout”. A blackout is when you don’t recall everything or some of what happened while you were drunk. A blackout is different than passing out, since you still appear to be functioning while experiencing a blackout.
A study from the NIH found that 9.4% of the college students surveyed had blacked out within 2 weeks of being asked the above question. Of those that had blacked out, the students reported learning of a wide range of activities they had engaged in, which included vandalism, unprotected sex, and spending money.
Experiencing a blackout has serious risks, including engaging in dangerous behaviors, disrupted brain function, and impairments of the body and its functions. To avoid a blackout, try some of the following:
  • Pace yourself; it isn’t a race. Try the recommended one drink per hour, and no more than 3-4 drinks in a 24 hour period.
  • Hungry, why wait? Have a solid meal before you go out to a party or the bar. Try to eat foods high in carbohydrates and proteins to help coat your stomach.  
  • Stop@buzzed – Stay in the Blue Zone.

5.12.2011

Tip of the Week: Study Smart

5.12.2011

Finals Week. The name alone can spark fear in the hearts of even among the best and brightest college students (JHU). Suddenly everything you've spent months learning has been crammed into one short little exam that often weighs heavily on your final grade. It's very easy to get caught up in the stress of exam week. All-nighters, cramming, and marathon study groups may seem like the only way to survive. But there are ways to succeed without wearing yourself out. Here are some helpful study hints:

Don't cram: it is usually associated with lower academic achievement and higher stress. It also does not promote long term memory. Instead, keep a steady schedule of studying and take breaks to allow your brain to process what you have learned.

Organize: keeping facts in logical patterns as you study makes retrieval easier when it comes time to answer test questions.

Repeat: repetition increases learning and retention. Review your material at regular intervals, not just all at once. Flash cards are an excellent tool that allow you to review your material regularly in an organized manner.

Vary your techniques: utilizing different learning styles (visual, auditory, and kinesthetic) strengthens learning because the information is received in different ways. Try reading your notes, saying your notes, and copying your notes as you study.

Follow a pattern: pre-read, make notes, review your notes, and self-test. These techniques have been found to not only increase learning, but also long-term retention of the material.

Breathe: an estimated 15-20% of college students experience lower grades due to text anxiety. Instead of spending the 15 minutes before an exam to cram in information you will most likely forget, spend it mentally preparing for the exam. Close your eyes, take some deep breaths, and tell yourself some encouraging words. You CAN do this!

As finals week comes to a close, be sure to rest, eat healthfully, and get some exercise to keep your mind and body healthy. It will all be over soon. Come some time next week, you are free to enjoy your summer vacation and prepare for your next academic adventure. Best of luck!

(Tips referenced from Study Without Stress: Mastering Medical Sciences by Eugenia G. Kelman and Kathleen C. Straker )

5.11.2011

Happy HUMP Day!

5.11.2011


Think Getting Drunk Is Sexy?

Think Again…too much alcohol can actually:
  • numb the nerve endings in both male and female genitalia.  
  • decrease female lubrication and can lead to painful sex.  
  • affect the rational processes of the brain.  Think beer goggles.
  • increase one's expectations for the sexual experience, yet decrease desire, arousal and satisfaction. Shakespeare put it best "it provokes the desire but it takes away the performance. Therefore much drink may be said to be an equivocator with lechery: it makes him and it mars him; it sets him on and it takes him off.”

5.10.2011

Finals 101: Relieving Stress

5.10.2011

Finals can mean a lot of things for JHU students, from the end of the semester, to graduation, to becoming zombie-like after long nights at the library.  Finals can also translate to stress.  Below are 10 tips to dealing with stress while you move through finals this week.

10 Tips for Dealing with Stress

1) Put your body in motion

Moving from the chair to the floor while re-reading your textbook is not being physically active! Physical activity is one of the most important ways to keep stress away by clearing your head and lifting your spirits. Physical activity also increases endorphin levels — the natural "feel-good" chemicals in the body that leave you with a naturally happy feeling.
Whether you like full-fledged games of football, tennis, or roller hockey, or you prefer walks friends or walks by yourself, it's important to get up, get out, and get moving!  Take a study break and enjoy the beautiful weather!

2) Fuel up

If your body was a car, you wouldn't go for a long drive without filling up the gas tank first. Likewise, begin each day by eating breakfast to give you the energy you need to tackle the day. Eating regular meals (this means no skipping dinner) and taking time to enjoy them will make you feel better too.

Make sure to fuel up with fruits, vegetables, proteins (peanut butter, a chicken sandwich, or a tuna salad) and grains (wheat bread, pasta, or some crackers) – these will give you the power you need to make it through these tough days.

Don't be fooled by the jolt of energy you get from sodas and sugary snacks — this only lasts a short time, and once it wears off, you may feel sluggish and more tired than usual. For that extra boost of energy to sail through your orgo notes, grab a banana, some string cheese, or a granola bar for some power-packed energy!

3) LOL (Laugh out loud)!

Some say that laughter is the best medicine — well, in many cases, it is! Did you know that it takes 15 facial muscles to laugh? Lots of laughing can make you feel good — and, that good feeling can stay with you even after the laughter stops. So, head off stress with regular doses of laughter by watching a funny movie or cartoons, reading a joke book (you may even learn some new jokes), or even make up your own riddles — laughter can make you feel like a new person!

Everyone has those days when they do something really silly or stupid — instead of getting upset with yourself, laugh out loud! No one's perfect! Life should be about having fun. So, lighten up!

4) Have fun with friends

Being with people you like is always a good way to ditch your stress. Get a group together to go to the movies, shoot some hoops, listen to music, or play a board game — or just hang out and talk. Friends can help you work through your problems and let you see the brighter side of things. 
You can even combine eating well with hanging with your friends to really reduce your stress!  Enjoy a group dinner with friends around campus before heading back to your study spots.

5) Spill to someone you trust

Instead of keeping your feelings bottled up inside, talk to someone you trust or respect about what's bothering you. It could be a friend, a parent, a friend's parent, someone in your family or from your religious community, a teacher, or a counselor. Talking out your problems and seeing them from a different view might help you figure out ways to deal with them. Just remember, you don't have to go at it alone!

6) Take time to chill

Pick a comfy spot to sit and read, daydream, or even take a snooze. Listen to your favorite music. Work on a relaxing project like putting together a puzzle or making jewelry.

Stress can sometimes make you feel like a tight rubber band — stretched to the limit! If this happens, take a few deep breaths to help yourself unwind. If you've been studying endlessly, take a break! Finding time to relax after (and sometimes during) a hectic day or week can make all the difference.

7) Catch some zzz’s

Fatigue is a best friend to stress. When you don't get enough sleep, it's hard to deal — you may feel tired, cranky, or you may have trouble thinking clearly. When you're overtired, a problem may seem much bigger than it actually is. You may have a hard time focusing on school work that usually seems easy, you don't do your best in sports or any physical activity, or you may have an argument with your friends over something really stupid.

Sleep is a big deal! Getting the right amount of sleep is especially important for students. Most need between 8.5 and just over 9 hours of sleep each night. Because your body (and mind) is changing and developing, it requires more sleep to re-charge for the next day. So don't resist, get those zzz's!

8) Keep a journal

Create your own personalized Journal page to print out!>
If you're having one of those crazy days when nothing goes right, it's a good idea to write things down in a journal to get it off your chest — like how you feel, what's going on in your life, and things you'd like to accomplish. You could even write down what you do when you're faced with a stressful situation, and then look back and think about how you handled it later. So, find a quiet spot, grab a notebook and pen, and start writing!

9) Get it together

Too much to do but not enough time?  Feeling overwhelmed or forgetful? Being unprepared for exams, practice, or other activities can make for a very stressful day!

Getting everything done can be a challenge, but all you have to do is plan a little and get organized.

10) Learn ways to better deal with anger

It is totally normal to be angry sometimes – everyone gets mad at some point. And as a college student, the stress of finals and other aspects of life can get the best of you sometimes. The important thing is to deal with your anger in a healthy way. It will help to cool down first and then focus on positive solutions to problems. This will help you to communicate better with the people in your life, and you can even earn more respect along the way. So, the next time something really has you stressed out, try these steps:
  1. Try to calm yourself down before doing or saying anything.
  2. Tell the other person what the problem is and how it makes you feel.
  3. Try to think of some solutions. What would the good and bad results of those solutions be?
  4. Explain your solution to the person you are upset with and try to put it into action together.
Explain your solution to the other person and, together, try to put it into action.

5.09.2011

SEE for Yourself on Monday!

5.09.2011
This week, strengthen your body while strengthening your mind! Take study walk-breaks. When you are studying for long periods of time, try to stand up once an hour for a few minutes. The University of Pittsburg School of Medicine has found that short bouts of exercise enhance weight loss and cardio-respiratory fitness. Click here for more information.


Quit on Monday from HKB: Quit now, work later! With the state of the economy, recent graduates have found it increasingly difficult to find work. Want to get a leg up on some competition? Be a non-smoker. More employers are beginning to show preference to or even requiring non-smokers for their company. Just think about it; non-smokers take fewer breaks, take less sick days, and are generally healthier than their smoking counterparts. Commit to quit now and you may find a healthier and weathlier life ahead! Click here if you are  in support of a smoke-free campus.


Have you been working on a paper for three days straight now? Can you even see what you're writing anymore for your chemistry lab? You could be stressed because you're being too focused on getting everything done. Don't forget that your brain is like a muscle, and even it needs a break! Take a break from all the studying and go for a walk or hop on the Collegetown Shuttle and spend a few hours at the Inner Harbor. Of course getting a free back rub from Stressbusters is another great way to melt your stress away. FREE five-minute seated back rubs are available every Monday night at the MSE library, Q-level from 8-10 pm.

Minimize Monday Tip: Unconsume. Be a conscious consumer and save. For things that you know you will not be able to reuse or recycle in the future (especially for people making the summer move) pass it on to someone else who might be able to have better use for it. Have a yard sale, donate it to Goodwill (or the upcoming JH-U-Turn), or give away your stuff to your friends.

5.06.2011

Weekend Sip Tip: Knowing your limits, not testing them.

5.06.2011

Now that classes are wrapping up, you may be heading out this weekend to relax and let loose before finals.  Letting loose doesn't have to mean losing your lunch.  If you decide to drink, don’t test your limits; know them.  

Using the BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) table can help reduce your chances of being that guy or that girl by staying “in the Blue Zone”.  The Blue Zone is considered to be a safer drinking level based on a person's BAC remaining under .06.  In the blue zone, students can feel the euphoric effects they may be looking for, without the negative consequences that can result from too much alcohol.  Remember to Stop@Buzzed by staying in the Blue Zone.


Using the charts below, you can select the number of drinks you plan to consume or have already consumed, then find your approximate weight at the top, and at the intersection of these two values, you will find your personal BAC.  For example if you are a 120 lb. female drinking seven drinks in one hour, your BAC is a .25.



**1 drink = 12oz Beer  = 1.5 oz shot (80 proof liquor)  = 5 oz of wine **


By knowing your limits now, it’ll be one less test to stress over. 

*Remember no level of drinking is considered safe while operating a vehicle so never drink and drive. Plan ahead for your night if you require a vehicle; designate a sober driver or use public transportation. 



5.05.2011

RECESS on the BEACH

5.05.2011
RECESS on the BEACH!

Take a break from being a college student and join PEEPs and APTT on the Beach this Friday, May 6 from 11-4 pm for Recess. Travel back to your elementary days with sack lunches, field day games, tons of free food, an inflatable obstacle course, fun giveaways and back rubs! It's happening this Friday, May 6 from 11-4 pm so grab your jacks, jump ropes, kickball gear, and come join us as we celebrate the last day of classes!!

Sponsored by the JHU Center for Health Education & Wellness (CHEW) and the Counseling Center.



5.04.2011

In the News

5.04.2011
FDA, FTC Act to Remove Fraudulent STD
Products from the Market


FDA and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) jointly launched the "Fraudulent STD Products Initiative," which targets over-the-counter products bought online or in retail stores that make unproven claims to prevent, cure, and/or treat sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). These products have not been evaluated by the FDA for safety and effectiveness. These illegal products may pose significant public health risk since individuals could be inaccurately treated, leading to delays in getting medical help and increasing the possibility of spreading disease to a sexual partner. Consumers and health professionals should be warned there are no over-the-counter or online drugs or dietary supplements available to treat or prevent STDs. Appropriate diagnosis and/or treatment of STDs can only occur under the supervision of a health care professional.




Please visit the following websites for additional information:


www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm253619.htm

www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm253455.htm

www.fda.gov/stdfraud

Happy HUMP Day!


Sex & Intimacy. What's the Diff?

Intimacy is defined as something of a personal and private nature. Too often, people confuse sex with intimacy. While sex achieves a certain level of physical intimacy, emotional intimacy is often a much more significant element of a healthy relationship.

Sexuality is only one form of intimacy. Non-sexual ways you can be intimate with your partner include:

Sharing feelings: Discuss your feelings with your partner. Talking and listening can help you both better understand each other and may bring you closer.

Participating in common interests: Couples that play together often stay together, so the saying goes. studying sporting activities, or hobbies can bring couples closer together when they share interests.

Making time to be alone together: Try taking a bath together, sharing a candlelight dinner, taking a walk, or just holding each other in bed.

There are many additional ways of creating non-sexual intimacy. Explore various things that you and your partner can do together to bring you closer.

Deciding to become sexually active or practice abstinence is a personal choice and it is important to discuss your reasons with your partner. Communication is the key to becoming informed about sex and to making the right decision.

(Source: SmarterSex.org)

Relaxation 101

Hello, world! It’s the last week of classes and you’re probably wondering how you can possibly get through it with so much work. I, too, am barely getting by, and am struggling to see the end in sight. It helps, though, to take some time and put things in perspective with some relaxation. It’s hard to find time for “you”, but we all procrastinate, so here I am, dreaming up solutions to productively procrastinate. I’m just a student like everyone else, so these are time-tried ways that I take time out of my work, but don’t wreck my GPA in the process.

READ ON THE BEACH- If you have a book you’ve been dying to read, go take the chance to relax on the beach (after you’ve covered yourself in sunscreen!) for an hour. Not only will you take your mind off of work, but you’ll get to have fun and soak up some sun.

TAKE A SHORT NAP- Thirty minutes is all it takes- you don’t actually have to fall asleep too! What I do is that I come back from class, get changed into pajamas (or something similar, to put myself in the sleep frame of mind), climb into bed, cover myself in blankets, grab my giant stuffed Eeyore, put on a sleep mask, and close my eyes. First, I try to empty my mind of all thoughts. To do that, I try really hard to think about the most irrelevant things, from a cute pair of shoes to something tasty. Finally, I drift off into thoughts like feeling sand between my toes…and I actively just let go of everything. Even if I don’t fall asleep, I feel much better, and certainly refreshed!

GO WORK OUT- Before the semester got crazy; I was a Bikram Yoga fiend. Now I try to take some time to at least go on a long walk every evening to clear my mind. Exercise releases endorphins…and you know what that does  Maybe take an hour to go for a run around campus, work out in the Rec Center, just get out of your room, or the library for that matter.

MEDITATE- I grew up in a culture that advocated meditation as a part of daily life, but until recently, I really couldn’t get into it because I always felt trapped in my mind. (see earlier blog entry Can’t Get Out of My Head) Even if you’re not the spiritual type, taking some time to just sit in a quiet space, close your eyes, and reflect on just being is a powerful experience.

DO WHAT YOU WANT- Watch a movie on Netflix, go to bed an hour early, eat a scoop of ice cream, just take some time to do what makes you happy. If you’re feeling better, you’ll be more productive. No one likes to do work while down in the dumps.

So here’s to the end of classes! We’ve had a great semester and I’m looking forward to more!

In health,
Aishwarya, a member of PEEPs

5.02.2011

SEE for Yourself on Monday - Sleep

5.02.2011
SEE Tip: A common sleep myth is that sleep is not important. Many feel they can get by on just a few hours. In actuality sleep is vital to our health and well-being, and is just as important as eating well and exercise. Research shows that all mammals need sleep. Sleep regulates mood and is related to learning and memory functions. Not only will getting enough sleep help you learn a new skill, stay on task or be productive, it may also be a critical factor in your health, weight and energy level. So do your mind and body good and get more sleep!


  
Quit on Monday: Smoking is associated with a disruption of the basic structure of sleep called sleep architecture. This is the pattern of sleep stages that occur during the night. In a research study it was shown that current smokers take slightly longer to fall asleep (called the sleep latency), sleep less, and have less deep sleep (called slow wave sleep). For those who quit smoking, these differences in sleep architecture do not persist.
If you smoke and have disrupted sleep, this may be yet another reason why you should quit for your health and well-being.

  
Mellow Out Monday tip: Got Stress? Get more sleep. With the right amount of sleep, life becomes easier. People are more energetic and daily problems are less stressful. Life's busy schedule is easier to cope with when we are rested. When stress is removed, normal sleep patterns are usually restored. To get better sleep try some of these suggestions:
  • Maintain a standard bedtime for each day.
  • Set your alarm for the same time each day.
  • Walk for ten minutes a day or take regular exercise each day.
  • Set your thermostat for a comfortable bedroom temperature.
  • Turn off the TV, radio and otherwise keep your bedroom quiet.
  • Close your curtains/drapes and maintain a bedroom dark enough to sleep.
  • Don't watch TV, eat or read in bed. Use your bed for sleep and sex.
Of course getting a free back rub from Stressbusters is another great way to melt your stress away. FREE five-minute seated back rubs are available every Monday night at the MSE library, Q-level from 8-10 pm.


Minimize Monday tip: Springtime warmth is finally here. Which brings us to this tip: before getting in your car, think to yourself whether you could really just walk or bike the distance (or even just take a bus). Save money on gas and use more sustainable modes of transportation while enjoying the weather.