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.


SEE for Yourself: Sleep Well


SEE Tip: With finals around the corner, sleep may be the last thing on your to do list.  But, give sleep it's due!  Research has proven how vital it is for not only your physical health, but also your brain's functioning.  If you get your studying in before a restful night's sleep, your brain will do a better job of recalling the information when you need it versus pulling an all-nighter and struggling during test time to come up with the information you need for that last question.  Sleep well, Do well.


HKB DYK: Hookah use has become more popular in the past few years, whether it be at Hookah bars and cafes, on television, etc.  However, this fast growing trend is an unhealthy one.  Did you know that the smoke inhalation of a hookah is the equivalent of smoking 100 cigarettes or more?  The fruity taste and sweet aroma can be tempting, but keep in mind, it's just as harmful as cigarettes.

Mellow Out Monday: Sleep is key for keeping stress levels in check.  Another helpful tip is getting your weekly dose of human touch.  Reminisce on the childhood experience of hand holding with a friend, share a hug, even high five after your favorite NFL team drafted an awesome pick.  If you're still in search of that human touch or just need more stress relief, come by the MSE Library on Monday from 8-10pm for a 5-7 minute back rub from Stressbusters!


Sip Tip: Stressed Out Sipping


It's been a hard week and an even worse day with stress pushing hard on your shoulders.  If you choose to drink,  you might think you'll feel better, but a study from the University of Chicago would disagree.  A 2011 study of alcohol and stress found that the stress was only worsened by alcohol use.

The researchers noted that using alcohol to cope with stress will delay the body from coping naturally, which means that the stressed out feelings linger longer than they would without the use of alcohol.  In the other direction, stress effects alcohol use by decreasing the pleasurable benefits of alcohol use and driving a craving for more alcohol to reach a pleasure that won't be attained due to the lingering stress.  This might make it less likely for someone who is stressed out and drinking to stop at buzzed.

If you suspect a friend is stressed out and trying to "drink it away", suggest another activity that could help them process the stress in a healthy way, perhaps going to the gym together or checking out a free concert in the city- something to get them out of the environment that's stressing them out, but still allows their body the time and space it needs to de-stress naturally.  If your friend is set on drinking, try drinking water and offering your friend the same every now and then to keep them safer.  Also, be sure to stay together or stay with your group of friends- a stressed and inebriated person is more likely to fall into riskier situations- stick together and look out for one another as best as you can.

For more about the research at University of Chicago, read on here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110715163216.htm.


Denim Day: Support Sexual Violence Prevention and Awareness


April 25 is National Wear Denim Day in support of Sexual Violence Prevention, Education, and Awareness.  Will you wear your denim?


An 18-year old girl is picked up by her married 45-year old driving instructor for her very first lesson. He takes her to an isolated road, pulls her out of the car, wrestles her out of one leg of her jeans and forcefully rapes her. Threatened with death if she tells anyone, he makes her drive the car home. Later that night she tells her parents, and they help and support her to press charges. The perpetrator gets arrested and is prosecuted. He is convicted of rape and sentenced to jail.

He appeals the sentence. The case makes it’s all the way to the Italian Supreme Court. Within a matter of days the case against the driving instructor is overturned, dismissed, and the perpetrator released. In a statement by the Chief Judge, he argued, “because the victim wore very, very tight jeans, she had to help him remove them, and by removing the jeans it was no longer rape but consensual sex.”

Enraged by the verdict, within a matter of hours the women in the Italian Parliament launched into immediate action and protested by wearing jeans to work. This call to action motivated and emboldened the California Senate and Assembly to do the same, which in turn spread to Patricia Giggans, Executive Director of Peace Over Violence, and Denim Day in LA was born. The first Denim Day in LA was in April 1999, and has continued every year since.

Survivors deserve support and assistance, not shame and blame.

Wear denim and support survivors today.

Information taken from (and more can be found at) http://denimdayusa.org


SEE for Yourself: Exercise


SEE Tip: Do you have plans this summer?  What about "Get Fit" plans?  Using something like the Five Components of Fitness can help you assess your fitness level. You may remember doing something things in K-12th grades to assess your levels of fitness, like running the mile, doing the sit and reach test.  These different "tests" were meant to assess your level of fitness.  These levels can always change though, based on what you are doing to work on your own fitness goals.

Using the 5 components of fitness- cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular endurance, muscular strength, flexibility, and body composition, use this summer to set fitness goals for yourself.  Perhaps you can run a mile in 12 minutes right now.  How about by the end of summer, your goal is to run the mile in 10 minutes?  And for muscular strength, perhaps right now you can use 3 lbs for free weight exercises so your goal might be to increase it to 4 lb free weights by increasing your strength.  Set some fitness goals for yourself this summer so you can come back stronger in the Fall.

HKB Tip: For our students who consider themselves "athletic", regular exercisers, or into some form of physical activity while at Hopkins- we're asking you- Do You Smoke?  Tell us, how your choice effects you (if at all).

Mellow Out Monday Tip:  Exercise is a great way to de-stress. But some of those exercises can leave us a bit sore from working our bodies hard. Treat yourself after a workout session (and perhaps after a quick shower) with a back rub from Stressbusters on Q Level.  Stressbusters will be at MSE tonight from 8-10 for 5-7 minute back rubs for FREE.  Come by and enjoy!!


Spring Fair Sip Tip


This weekend is looking incredibly fun with lots to do, see, and consume.  From the Vocal Chords amazing crepes to the bicycle powered smoothies- our eyes and stomachs will be swooning.  And let's not forget the famous JHU Beer Garden.  If you choose to drink during Spring Fair, remember some techniques to keep it fun for longer.
  1. Stay hydrated. Between the sun and alcohol, dehydration could be a real threat.  Be sure to keep the water flowing in your system throughout the whole weekend.
  2. Alternate alcohol and non-alcoholic beverages.  Try something in between the alcoholic beverages to give your body some time to metabolize.  Have a water, juice, or soda.  
  3. Plan ahead.  If you plan to buy beer garden tickets, consider splitting yours with a friend.  Just because you get 8 tickets doesn't mean you have to drink "your money's worth".  Consider splitting the cost with a friend and share the tickets so you can pace yourselves and enjoy the buzz you may be looking for, while listening to whoever's playing in the garden.
  4. Stop@buzzed.  By having 1-2 drinks an hour (depending on the person), you might still get the euphoric, buzzed feeling without the toppling over your orgo professor who's also enjoying a light refreshment in the beer garden.  Avoid the embarrassment and remember to stop@buzzed.
Have fun this weekend, and if you choose to drink, stop@buzzed and look out for one another.


Hump Day: Consent is Sexy


What is consent?
  • Consent is a voluntary, sober, imaginative, enthusiastic, creative, wanted, informed, mutual, honest, and verbal agreement
  • Consent is an active agreement: Consent cannot be coerced
  • Consent is a process, which must be asked for every step of the way; if you want to move to the next level of sexual intimacy, Just Ask
  • Consent is never implied and cannot be assumed, even in the context of a relationship. Just because you are in a relationship does not mean that you have permission to have sex with your partner
  • A person who is intoxicated cannot legally give consent. If you’re too drunk to make decisions and communicate with your partner, you’re too drunk to consent
  • The absence of a “no” doesn’t mean “yes”
  • Every person involved should be involved in the decision to have sex
  • Consent is an important part of healthy sexuality

Why is consent sexy?

  • Communication, respect, and honesty make sex and relationships better
  • Asking for and obtaining consent shows that you have respect for both yourself and your partner
  • Positive views on sex and sexuality are empowering
  • Questions traditional views about gender and sexuality
  • Eliminates the entitlement that one partner feels over the other. Neither your body nor your sexuality belongs to someone else
  • It is normal and healthy for women to expect to be included in the consent process

Information taken from http://www.scarleteen.com


SEE for Yourself- Eat Well. Eat Local.


SEE tip:  Buying local has an impact on nearly every level, from the individual to the larger community and environment.  By reducing carbon emissions with markets within walking distance to improving individual health with exercise (walking to and from) and providing a nutrient rich display of healthy options.  With the spring here, farmers markets are beginning to open and delicious varieties of produce are ready for devouring.  Check them out and better your health and the health of the environment.

HKB Tip:  When thinking of fruit flavored items, we tend to think of juices, gum, or candy (watermelon jolly ranchers, anyone?).  However, a relatively new fruit flavored item is in the market- flavored cigars.  These tobacco products come in flavors like mango, papaya, pomegranate, and more.  But don't let the sweet taste fool you, these cigars are just as dangerous and addictive as other flavorless tobacco products.  Don't get caught in the smoke- avoid the cigar trap.

Mellow-Out Monday Tip: Feeling the crunch of papers and tests?  Stressed out?  Try taking care of your body with a healthy meal can keep you going strong and power you through.  Still feeling the stress, even after a delicious and nutritious meal?  Come to the MSE Library tonight from 8-10 for a 5-7 minute back rub from Stressbusters!


Weekend Sip Tip


Cigarettes are taxed, in part, at high rates as part of a health prevention effort to reduce tobacco use.  The UK's government is following a similar thought process to reduce binge drinking by establishing a minimum price to charge for purchasing alcohol, basing the cost on the "unit" being purchased.

It is thought that the cheap and accessible alcohol leads to binge drinking done primarily as a pre-party routine to cut down on the costs of buying drinks once out for the night.  The government has estimated that this behavior and the results of it have cost the tax-payers 4 billion dollars for health services, and it is their hope that with this policy change, these costs to the public will decrease and 210,000 binge-drinking deaths could be prevented.

As you may guess, retailers for alcohol, such as grocery stores and pubs, are not happy with this government proposal as it will likely affect their bottom line.  But what do you think?  Do you think increasing the cost of alcohol will reduce binge-drinking?  What about reducing alcohol consumption when it comes to pre-gaming?

Read more about it here: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/23/britain-alcohol-pricing-idUSL6E8EN4TA20120323


Hump Day: Savage U

What happened when noted sex columnist visited the neighboring University of Maryland?  Lots of laughs, questions, and hot sex advice.  Take note!


SEE for Yourself: Sleep Well


SEE Tip: Studies have shown that high quality, uninterrupted sleep can go along way, especially when it comes to preventing serious diseases, including cancer.  This study from 2008 identified the importance of melatonin in one's sleep, as well as, the impact sleep disturbances can have on the development of cancer.  Read on for details... 

Quit Tip:  By now, you've heard how smoking cigarettes causes cancer.  As a result of these messages, we've seen some smokers turn to other forms of tobacco for a fix, including pipes, cigars, hookah, snus, etc.  Don't be fooled, these can still be dangerous and put a person at risk for cancer and other diseases.  Tobacco use is a tough habit to break so if you haven't started- continue that path.  And if you have, but you're ready for a change look for resources to help you quit.

Mellow Out Monday Tip:  A good night's sleep is key for lots of health benefits from stress reduction to cancer prevention.  If you're looking for more than a good night's sleep to put your body in the happy zone, come by the MSE Library tonight for a back rub.  Your back will thank you and so will the rest of your body as you are put into a state of relaxation and happiness. Let the Stressbusters get you there from 8-10pm tonight on Q Level!


Weekend Sip Tip: poison vs overdose

Have you ever wondered...

Why is it called alcohol poisoning rather than an alcohol overdose?   CHEW investigates!

WebMD says:

Overdoses of drugs or chemicals can be either accidental or intentional. Drug overdoses occur when a person takes more than the medically recommended dose. However, some people may be more sensitive to certain medications so that the high end of the therapeutic range of a drug may be toxic for them.

Illicit drugs, used to get high, may be taken in overdose amounts when a person's metabolism cannot detoxify the drug fast enough to avoid unintended side effects.

Exposure to chemicals, plants, and other toxic substances that can cause harm are called poisonings. The higher the dose or the longer the exposure, the worse the poisoning. Two examples are carbon monoxide poisoning and mushroom poisoning.

Any idea where alcohol falls in the definition above?

The Mayo Clinic says:

Alcohol poisoning is a serious — and sometimes deadly — consequence of drinking large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time. Drinking too much too quickly can affect your breathing, heart rate and gag reflex and potentially lead to coma and death.

Binge drinking — rapidly downing five or more drinks in a row — is a main cause of alcohol poisoning. Alcohol poisoning can also occur when you accidentally or intentionally drink household products that contain alcohol.

NIH says:
In a recent study, the NIH uses the term "alcohol and drug overdose" when speaking of hospitalizations of college students for this issue.  NIH saw a dramatic increase in hospitalizations for these issues, either alone or combined, between 1998-2008.  They had this to say: "Alcohol overdoses alone caused 29,000 hospitalizations, combined alcohol and other drug overdoses caused 29,000, and drug overdoses alone caused another 114,000. The cost of these hospitalizations now exceeds $1.2 billion per year just for 18-24-year-olds. "

And when we compare the symptoms, here's what we see:

Overdose Symptoms
  • Problems with vital signs (temperature, pulse rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure) are possible and can be life threatening. Vital sign values can be increased, decreased, or completely absent.
  • Sleepiness, confusion, and coma are common and can be dangerous if the person breathes vomit into the lungs (aspirated).
  • Skin can be cool and sweaty, or hot and dry.
  • Chest pain is possible and can be caused by heart or lung damage. Shortness of breath may occur. Breathing may get rapid, slow, deep, or shallow.
  • Abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are possible. Vomiting blood, or blood in bowel movements, can be life threatening.
  • Specific drugs can damage specific organs, depending on the drug.
Alcohol Poisoning Symptoms
  • Confusion, stupor
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Slow breathing (less than eight breaths a minute)
  • Irregular breathing (a gap of more than 10 seconds between breaths)
  • Blue-tinged skin or pale skin
  • Low body temperature (hypothermia)
  • Unconsciousness ("passing out"), and can't be roused
*The corresponding colors indicate matching symptoms.*

To answer our question, it seems to depend on who's dong the talking/writing.  Mostly, we've found "alcohol poisoning" to be the most commonly used phrase for drinking too the point of death or near death.  Yet, we're still not sure if there's a legitimate difference to why it's called poisoning instead of an overdose based on what we've seen defined and explained in the symptoms.  What do you think it should be called and why?

And no matter what it's called, if you ever see someone exhibiting the symptoms above, call for help and use this maneuver to try to keep them safe.

Information taken from WebMD, Mayo Clinic, and NIH websites


Hump Day: Heart healthy benefits of sex

Want to know how having sex can be beneficial to your health?  How about how many years it can add to your life?  Check out this video from Dr. Drew and Dr. Oz for that and more!


SEE for Yourself: Exercise Well


SEE for yourself Myth and Fact Check: It is a common misperception that if people aren't sweating then they aren't working hard enough.  The reality is sweat is not the only indicator of a good workout session since sweat is only produced to cool the body.  A person can still burn calories, rev their metabolism and get the benefits of a good workout without leaving the gym drenched.  Want more myths and facts? Exercise your way to better health with PEEPs for a free SEE water bottle filled with info and goodies on the breezeway from 1:30-3pm today.

And if you think you needed motivation to workout, check out this funny commercial to see how some found theirs!

HKB Quit tip:  Exercise is crucial for health, especially when it comes to matters of the heart and lung health.  However, smoking can put a huge damper on one's ability to get a workout in.  Want a better workout, try cutting down on the cigarettes smoked. Start small- if you smoke about 12 a week, try cutting it down to 10 or whatever you think you can do.  Small changes can make a big impact.

Mellow Out Monday Tip: Stressed after just one week back from Spring Break?  Try adding some exercise into your day for a stress reliever.  If you're feeling sore or could just use another stress reliever (because it's just one of those days) come by Mellow Out Monday with Stressbusters tonight from 8-10pm on Q-level at the MSE Library for a FREE back rub!