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.


Hump Day gets Savage

Dan Savage makes another appearance on our blog with his trip to Rhodes College, a small, private liberal arts college in Memphis, TN.  Like Hopkins, the students are serious about academics and their sex lives.  Watch here as Dan answers questions about dating within the same social circle, dating after HPV, conquering and embracing the fear of sex, and so much more.

If Dan Savage came to Hopkins, what would you want to know?


It's Getting Hot out There, So...


Common Skin Protection Mistakes to Avoid

It's already hot, humid, and blazing out there.  Keep your skin protected and avoid some common mistakes when it comes to protecting your skin.

1. Expensive Sunscreen
The Mistake: You grab the priciest sunscreen, figuring it's the best.
Some expensive sunscreens don't contain the key ingredients that can keep your skin safe, while some cheaper brands do. Look for sunscreens with labels stating that they provide "broad-spectrum protection," which means they contain ingredients that block both UVA and UVB rays. UVBs are the primary cause of burning; but UVAs, in addition to burning the skin, penetrate deeper, causing genetic damage in cells and suppressing the immune system.

2. SPF Facts
The Mistake: You think "sun protection factor" (SPF) protects against everything.
It doesn't. The ingredients that provide SPF will shield you from only UVB rays. Even so, the protection SPF provides is critical, because UVBs (along with UVAs) play a role in the development of skin cancer.
Experts advise wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Those who burn easily  should opt for SPF 30. (Research shows that SPFs above 30 do not significantly increase protection.)

3. Bug Spray and Sunscreen
The Mistake: You put on bug spray before sunscreen.
Sunscreen needs to bind with clean, dry skin in order to be effective, so anything you apply beforehand (including lotion or makeup) may reduce its effectiveness. In addition, because sunscreen is highly absorptive, putting it on top of repellent may cause your skin to soak up more of the chemicals in the bug spray.
The best advice: Apply sunscreen first, wait 20 minutes, and then mist skin lightly with insect repellent.

4. All-Day Sun Protection
The Mistake: You always wear sunscreen, so you can stay in the sun all day long.
Even the best sunscreens don't offer complete protection. If you're going to be outside for more than a few hours, wear a wide-brimmed hat and seek as much shade as possible -- particularly from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when the sun's rays are strongest. And re-apply every few hours!

5. Sunscreen Application
The Mistake: You apply sunscreen the minute you get outside.
It takes at least 20 minutes for sunscreen to be absorbed into your skin and begin working; by then you can be on your way to a burn. Apply it at least 15 minutes before you leave home.

6. Tanning Booth Myths
The Mistake: You pre-tan at a booth to prevent burning.
Don't be misled by those ads that claim tanning-booth rays are safer than the sun -- they also expose you to UVA and UVB rays and can cause the same damage to your skin. A base tan can boost the likelihood of a burn because you may be fooled into believing you can stay in the sun longer. Whether you get it in a booth or at the beach, there is no such thing as a safe tan.

Information and text taken from Fitness Magazine.  See more common mistakes in this article: http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/fitness/printableStory.jsp?catref=ftn162&storyid=/templatedata/fitness/story/data/1149103108672.xml


Hump Day goes Long Distance

School is over, does it mean your relationship is over, too?  You live in Maryland and your significant other lives states away.  Are you planning to stay together or go your separate ways (both physically and emotionally)?

Dan Savage has some thoughts on the subject and we're curious to know what your reaction is to his thoughts on LDR.


Weekend Sip Tip

Finals are over! For some of us, graduation is here!  So much celebrating is going on this weekend and throughout the upcoming week that it's becoming tough to keep track.  If you choose to drink, remember to keep it classy, not trashy.

Classy tip #1:  Know what glassware to use for the kind of drinking you might partake in.  Be knowledgeable about it.  Not sure if a lager is in a regular mug or if it has it has a specific glass?  You aren't the only one.  Luckily, this article can help guide you and give you the details.

Why is glassware important? A drink can be best appreciated through it's proper glassware mate.  For example, a glass of pinot noir can best be enjoyed in a bowl shaped glass.  This shape allows this type of wine to aerate at the proper rate and provide the best taste.  

Classy tip #2: Know how much to pour in each glass for one drink.  The glasses may come in different sizes, but a standard drink size remains the same.  For beer it's 12 oz for a standard drink, wine is 5 oz, and 80 proof liquor (either in a shot or in a mixed drink) is 1.5 oz.  If a 32 oz glass is being used for "one" beer- consider how many drinks that is given the ounces per standard drink.

Classy tip #3: Stop@buzzed.  By stopping at buzzed, a person can feel the more euphoric effects of alcohol and reduce the risks that can come with drinking.



Hump Day:Relationship Advice

This gem from Jon Hamm popped up recently with some dating advice that could be amusing and possibly helpful right about now (not to mention a welcome study break, we hope).  So enjoy and post questions below if you'd like us to consider them for the Hump Day blogs in the future.  Thanks!


Anonymous or not?


Google Cyberbullying.

A lot of what you might find is directed at younger people or parents.  It's not talked about in college as much, and that's not right.  It happens here-- it happens through gossip sites that exist to talk tear others down and provide a forum for doing so.  It also happens as anonymous comments for articles or on sites like reddit.

One of those sites recently pulled a switch on it's users/viewers and posted who was saying what messages.  As you might imagine, there was a lot of backlash, a lot of angry emails, but also some positive.  This was done in order to call people out for cyber-bullying and show how easy it can be to do it through the veil of being anonymous, while also calling attention to how much hurt can be caused from those comments.

How much do you think anonymity plays into people's willingness to engage in cyberbullying?  And how prevalent do you think cyberbullying is at JHU?


Weekend Sip Tip: Don't mix the Rx


If you choose to drink alcohol, have you ever wondered about how your current medications might interact with the alcohol?  It turns out that many college students don't believe or check the warning labels on their prescription bottles.  However, not doing this can result in some serious risks.  See the info-graphic below for details and be sure to check your Rx label for warnings about any sort of health complication, particularly when it comes to drinking alcohol.

Infographic: Alcohol Abuse Makes Prescription Drug Use More Likely
Courtesy of: The Internet Drug Side Effects Database


Protect the skin you're in.


It’s burning up out there, but don’t let your skin take the heavy hit! Make sure to protect yourself this season using these three useful tips.

1) Wear a hat when in direct sunlight. Rep Hopkins and sport your lacrosse cap while lounging on the Beach! Excessive exposure to sunlight on your face can cause pre-mature aging… don’t want wrinkles when you’re 35? Wear a hat!

2) Sit in the shade between prime sun hours between 10 AM and 4 PM. That way, you still get the benefit of being outdoors, but don’t have to deal with the all the nasty repercussions of a sunburn.

3) Wear Sunscreen. Yes, sometimes it’s annoying, but sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 is a fantastic way to avoid sun burns, age spots, and helps to reduce the risk of skin cancer. Make sure to reapply if you’ve gotten wet and about every 3 hours if you’ve been in the sun for a long time!


PEEPs on Sleep

A message from one of the PEEPs about sleep...

The spring semester is almost over, and you know what that means…. SUMMER BREAK IS NEARLY UPON US! However, before we get to taste that sweet freedom that only summer can bring us, there are a few monsters to face. They are known as: finals, term papers and any other final assignments.  In your mission to make the best of your time remaining for this semester (including finding time for work/studying as well as time for your friends and social life) remember to the find time for sleep.


Homecoming Weekend Sip Tip


This weekend marks the end of classes and homecoming.  Two huge reasons to celebrate, relax, and enjoy the time before finals set in.  What will you be doing this weekend?  Going to the Hop-Army game to cheer on the Blue Jays?  Planning to spend some quality hours in the library getting in some studying?  Think you might spend some time "partying"?  

Some might consider "partying" this weekend, and if you're planning to be one of those people letting loose, you might be interested to know what your classmates reportedly do to keep themselves safer while drinking alcohol.  

The majority of Johns Hopkins students report that...

...they eat before and/or while drinking.

...they keep track of the number of drinks they are consuming.

...they stay with their same group of friends for the entire time they are "partying".

...they use more than one safer drinking technique to keep them from some of the less positive sides of drinking.  

If you decide to drink this weekend, what do you plan to do to keep yourself on the safer side?


Make it or Break it: Finals Week Hump Day Edition


Reading period and finals week are quickly approaching, and the incoming stress that is mounting may be affecting more than your personal health.  Your relationships with your friends, parents, and significant others could be heading for a nose dive.  Be proactive and keep those relationships clear of the red zone while you work for those A's by following these tips:

  • Communicate.  If you can't hang out or talk on the phone- a quick text or call to let the other person know that you are thinking of them, but just can't tear away from the books can go a long way.  It will also be much more appreciated than avoiding or forgetting to contact them at all.
  • Use your time wisely.  Find time in your packed study schedule to connect with those that are important to you.  You need the break and the time together can enhance your relationship. 
  • Plan ahead.  Knowing that these next two weeks will be awful, give people the heads up. If you're someone that hibernates in the library for the entire time, warn people that you will be out of touch and will get in touch with them on a certain day.  This can keep them from distracting you before you are ready for a distraction and allows them to know what they can do to help you.
  • Stress relief is key. Meet up with your partner for a run, hold hands while walking through the BMA garden, release some dopamine in a (safer) sack session. 
Remember to keep your loved ones in mind as you embark on a stressful two weeks.  They'll be even happier to celebrate all you've done when it's in the past.