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.

1.31.2014

Sip Tip: Sipping Safer in Sub-Zero Temps

1.31.2014

Recently, a University of Minnesota college student had all of her fingers, her two thumbs, and most of her toes amputated.  After a night out with friends, she played drinking games, did shots, and later was dropped off at her house.  Unfortunately, for an unknown reason, police believe she stumbled back outside of the house, and eventually ended up on her neighbor's porch.  She spent the night outside in the below zero temps, causing her hypothermia and frostbite.  The frostbite was so severe that it led to the amputations and her continued stay in the hospital (over a month already).  To read more her situation, click here.

The winter is especially biting, and while we're lucky not to live in a place that drops below zero too often, we can still be mindful of ways to be safer while out this winter.

If you're hosting a party, consider having a room just for coats, and make sure it's secure so people feel safe leaving their coats there.  It's cold and being able to go to a party with a coat on will make it that much more likely that people will attend.  Also, be sure to provide plenty of water, as people may misjudge how dehydrated they may actually be due to the cold temps.

If you're thinking of going out, dress in layers and protect your body from mother nature.  Wear gloves, hats, scarves-- whatever will keep you warm.  There may be a place to stash those items when you get to your destination.  If you would rather dress for the company than the weather, consider ways to stay warm in between- can you take a car from one place to another to avoid the cold?  What about wearing something that has less value to you?  This way, if it gets ruined or lost, it won't devastate you, but you'll be warm while you have it.


When alcohol is thrown into the mix of going out, it can throw a few more concerns up. If you're thinking of drinking, try to stay in the blue zone.  This means, sticking to about 1 to 2 drinks an hour with water in between each one.  If you want to warm up, try having a cup of tea or even hot chocolate (it is winter after all).  In terms of warmth, don't be fooled by the warmth that comes from alcohol.  “When you drink, it dilates the peripheral blood vessels near your skin, which means more blood – and heat – flows to these vessels,” says Professor Colin Drummond, head of the Section of Alcohol Research at King’s College London. “That takes blood and heat away from the core of your body. So while it feels like you’re warm because your skin is warm, your vital organs aren’t as warm as you might think they are."  This can lead to hypothermia, particularly if a person tries to walk outside for a while or gets stuck outside as the young woman in the story above did.  Lastly, be sure to stay with the group of friends you came with-- be accountable to each other and check in with each other throughout the night, as well.

Winter doesn't mean the end of going out, but there are ways to do so safely.  Have fun, stay warm, and party safer.



1.29.2014

Hump Day Presents: Ask Me Underwear

1.29.2014


Would you wear underwear that says "Let's Talk About Sex"?  What about a pair that says "No Means No"?  Based on a movement from over a year ago called "Pink Loves Consent", where people believed that Victoria's Secret was promoting consent-driven underwear.  In reality, this movement was started by the group FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture, not Victoria's Secret.  There was so much confusion and a bit of disappointment when people learned that they could not purchase these and help support the cause.

One person decided to change that.  A college student from Canada decided to start producing the underwear.  Amulya Sanagavarapu began a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds in hope of selling the underwear to the interested public.  She calls her project, "Feminist Style" and explains that by putting feminist/consent driven messages to the public, it provides an alternative to the current culture.

While underwear isn't seen by everyone, given it's location on the body-- it could serve as a useful reminder about consent.  For those engaging in sexual activity, it could serve as a reminder to check in with a partner.  It can also help to educate... or be a conversation piece... albeit, a pants-less conversation, but still- learning can take place in the most randomness of places and times, right?

For more information about this campaign, check out her Kickstarter page.

1.27.2014

SEE: A sleep filled semester

1.27.2014

SEE Tip: Spring semester is officially here.  Before time flies, get your sleep schedule on point.  Choose a time that works for you to try to get to bed each night.  Find a time that gives you 7-9 hours of sleep each night in order to be your best self each day.  Before going to bed each night, follow a routine or form habits to make sleeping even easier.  Calm your mind with some light reading and turn off the laptop and phone for a bit.  Or try listening to soothing music instead of watching TV.  Give your mind and body time to calm down so falling asleep can happen with ease.  You'll wake up rested and ready to tackle the day ahead.



HKB Tip: Sometimes the mind confuses the need for a cigarette with the need for more sleep.  Instead, try taking a sip of water and getting some shut eye if you can put off the craving.  If not, be sure to avoid smoking in bed, as it is the leading cause of accidental house/apartment fires.



Mellow Out Monday Tip:  Before the stress of the Spring semester sets in, try getting some ZZZ's.  Getting 7-9 hours of sleep can help reduce stress, improve mood, and increase productivity and brain functioning.  Sleep may be the solution you've been searching for in order to have the least stressful semester yet.

Want to feel less stressed and help others do the same?  Apply to be a Stressbuster!  We're taking applications now and want you to help us CALM the CAMPUS.  Apply here.