Health Matters Newsletter


Health Center
LoGrasso Hall
State University of New York at Fredonia
Fredonia, NY 14063
(716) 673-3131 or
(716) 673-3132
(716) 673-4722 (fax)

October 2009
Keeping You Safe And Healthy

Welcome to the October 2009 issue of the Health Matters Newsletter, published monthly by the Health Center and part of the weekly Campus Report.  It's purpose is to share information regarding pertinent medical issues with students, faculty and staff here at SUNY Fredonia.  This month's topics include:

 Staying Healthy in College - Stop the spread of germs

 A Fun Halloween – How to Avoid the Dirty Stare…

 Campus Safety Tips 

 National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week is in October!

 Alcohol Awareness: Think before you drink

 October is Breast Care Awareness Month

 

Staying Healthy in College

Going to college and living on your own is a living and learning experience. It's probably the only time in your life that you will ever be living with a community of people with the similar interests, goals, and, not to mention, germs.  Infectious organisms exist around us each and every day.  With germs so common, and almost everywhere, you should check out these simple habits that you can do to protect yourself from getting sick.

  • Practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing.  Bathrooms in our residence halls are equipped with adequate supply of soap and paper towels to promote frequent hand washing.  Alcohol-based hand cleaners also are effective. Extra hand sanitizers are being installed throughout campus and in the resident halls.  
  • Practice respiratory etiquette by covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.  If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow or shoulder, not into your hands.  Avoid toughing your eyes, nose or mouth; germs are spread this way.
  • Get vaccinated.  Immunizations can drastically reduce your chances of contracting many diseases.  An annual flu shot will protect you against the seasonal flu.
  • Stay at home if you have signs and symptoms of an infection.  If you are vomiting, have diarrhea or are running a fever, you should not go to work or attend school.
  • Establish regular cleaning schedules for frequent cleaning of surfaces and items that are more likely to have frequent hand contact such as desks, door knobs, keyboards, or counters with cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas. Promote frequent cleaning of bathrooms and ensure adequate supplies of soap and paper towels.
  • Encourage students to frequently clean their living quarters.  Students living together should frequently clean commonly-used surfaces such as doorknobs, refrigerator handles, remote controls, and counter tops.
  • Be smart about food preparation.  Clean counters and other kitchen surfaces before and after preparing meals.
  • Practice safe sex. Use condoms . Condoms can aid in protecting you from sexually transmitted disease.
  • Don't share personal items. Use your own toothbrush, comb and razor blade. Avoid sharing drinking glasses or dinning utensils.
  • Travel wisely. Don't travel when you are ill. Illness can spread quickly due to the close proximity of many people in a confined area such as an airplane, bus or train.
  • Keep your pets healthy. Bring your pet to the veterinarian for regular care and vaccinations. Keep you pet's living area clean.

A Fun Halloween – How to Avoid the Dirty Stare…

By: John Gradel

Most college students would love to go out for a night of fun trick or treating.  However, have you ever gotten the dirty stare when you walked up and said trick or treat?  Yes, once you get out of high school you are simply too old!  The good news is you can avoid that.  There are alternative things to do on the SUNY Fredonia Campus! Here are some ideas on what you could do for the weekend of Halloween:

  • Visit Hamburg Fairgrounds for “Scare at the Fair”.   Begins October 1st, go to www.the-fairgrounds.com for more information.  Get a car pool of friends to go!
  • Visit The Great Pumpkin Farm. Begins Sept. 26th to Nov. 1st: Visit: www.greatpumpkinfarm.com for more information
  • Have you attended one of W.H.O.A. (Weekend Hangout Activities) Fredonia’s events?  Friday Oct. 31st starting at 10 PM in Cranston Marche located in University Commons you can come for a late night breakfast.  Cost?  1 meal.  What does this meal get you?  Over $500 in prizes and best costume prizes!  Come dressed up and ready for a good time!
  • Volunteer for Safe Halloween sponsored by Phi Mu Alpha!  Planned for October 31st, Mason Hall.  Volunteer to pass out candy to children in the community.  Contact them for more information.
  • If none of those interests you… try our five fun tips for Halloween!

Five Tips for a FUN Halloween Experience:

  1. Spookify your computer with a scary screensaver!
  2. Hollow out mini pumpkins and use a battery operated candle. They are inexpensive and look really great, you can even carve or paint faces in them!
  3. Keep your pumpkin seeds when gutting your pumpkin so you can roast them up later for a fun Halloween treat!  Look on the Internet for a good recipe.
  4. Watch a marathon of scary movies!  Ask a group of friends to bring one and you can watch them all in one night.
  5. Have a pumpkin carving party.  Who said carving a pumpkin was for the “kids?”  Buy some pumpkins at Tops, Wal-Mart or even a pumpkin patch.  Get some apple cider and donuts to have your own party!

Spooky Laugh Corner:

 Q: What's a MUMMY's favorite music?

  A: wRAP Music!

 

Campus Safety Tips

 While walking around campus  

  • Survey the campus after dark to see that buildings, walkways, quadrangles and parking lots are adequately secured, lighted and patrolled.
  • Avoid walking alone if possible.
  • Walk with an air of confidence and stay alert.
  • Walk in lighted areas.
  • Keep your hand free, not overloaded.
  • Have your keys ready.
  • If you are being followed: cross the street, scream, run to an occupied residence or store, or flag down a car.

   At dorm room

  • Doors and windows to your residence hall should be equipped with quality locks. Room doors should have peepholes and deadbolts. 
  • Do not loan out your key. Never compromise your safety for a roommate or friend who wants the door left unlocked. Replace locks when a key is lost or stolen.
  • Use caution admitting strangers.
  • Have good lighting around entrances.
  • If you are a woman and live alone or with other women, use only your first initials on your mailbox and, when possible, in phone directories.
  • Report suspicious activity to campus police—or to the police if you live off-campus.

 While in your car

  • Keep windows up and doors locked.
  • Park in well-lighted areas and travel on populated, well-lighted streets.
  • Never pick up hitchhikers.
  • If you have car trouble, signal for help by raising the hood or tying a white handkerchief to the door handle.  

 

National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week is in October!

By: DJ Schier

On any college campus, college aged students drinking is an issue, and SUNY Fredonia is no exception. It effects student’s ability to excel in academics and can also affect their person well being, both physically and mentally. Every year, BACCHUS, which is an acronym for Boosting Alcohol Consciousness Concerning the Health of University Students, tries to get college campus’ across the country to participate in a weeklong event called National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week. The main goal and purpose of this week is to teach college students about the dangerous effects that alcohol has on them and promote being safe and finding alternative actions.

BACCHUS is a network of college students, leaders, and advisors across the country. They like to give out pamphlets, put up posters, and teach campuses programming to further promote their mission statement. Their main goal is to educate the college student base and campus on safety and health initiatives for them to practice, and potentially, teach other students as well. They can provide training opportunities for anyone who wants to be an educator, and is always accepting new members into its nationwide group and network.

Binge drinking and unsafe behavior go hand in hand on any college campus. Here at SUNY Fredonia, a good amount of students do abuse alcohol and do other things that are damaging to their health. By having SUNY Fredonia become one of the many college campuses across the country to be a part of the National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week, a difference and positive impact can be made on the students here. More than 3,000 colleges and universities around the country have enacted the week into their school year, and have seen nothing but positive results. Students react in a way that helps them when making decisions that could potentially harm them. They have different ways of coping and forward what they have learned throughout the week to other students who might not have been directly affected by it.

During the week, students can be a part of educational programs and lectures where they can learn about all the dangers alcohol can have on their body. The teach that there are many ways alcohol can affect you based on your gender, body weight, mood,  the type of alcohol, the amount one has eaten, speed of alcohol consumption, and  use of other types of drugs. The group also educates on how it effects them physically and mentally. Alcohol is a depressant and can make people feel very emotional and depressed. It has also been called a truth serum, making you more likely to say things you would be less likely to ever say to someone. Alcohol can also affect you physically. It impairs vision, hearing, ones level of judgment and coherence. Once any alcohol has been drank, driving is impaired as well are all motor skills, like reflex and reaction time.

SUNY Fredonia has a BACCHUS group that has been very active in the past, putting on demonstrations and helpful, fun, informative skits to educate the campus on the effects of alcohol. The group could always use more members and supporters, and that would be a great resource for our campus. SUNY Fredonia has the power to make a difference this month, and during the week of October 18th to the 24th, so does every college student on this campus. Think twice before you go to that party. By doing so, you may be able to prevent making a bad decision that can hurt not only yourself physically and mentally, but also someone else.

Some ideas that you can do during this week could be to go to a nice dinner with your friends instead of going downtown. Another suggestion is that all ones friends could have a nice movie and game night in. There are plenty of other options to do, and by promoting what this week stands for on campus, one can make a huge difference and impact on this college community.  

 

Alcohol: What You Don't Know Can Harm You

Going off to college is a monumental step in the life of a young adult. It is a stage of life marked by change and exploration. You move from your parents home into a dormitory or student housing unit, meet new friends, and discover what it truly is to be out on your own, making your own decisions, including the decision to drink alcohol. For many students, drinking is seen as a rite of passage, as part of having fun, of lowering social inhibitions.

Alcohol abuse is now a widespread problem on the nation's college campuses. The consequences of excessive drinking by college students are more significant, more destructive and more costly than many parents realize. Studies show that four out of five college students drink alcohol. Two out of five report binge drinking (defined as five or more drinks for men and four or more for women in one sitting). One in five students report three or more binge episodes over a period of two weeks.  

Statistics to make you think before you take another drink.....

Death: 1,700 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes.

Injury: 599,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 each year are unintentionally injured under the influence of alcohol.

Assault: More then 696,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 each year are assaulted by another student who has been drinking.  

Sexual Abuse: More than 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 each year are victims of alcohol-related

Do you really know how much you had to drink???

Most people don't know what counts as a standard drink, and therefore, don't realize how many standard drinks are in the containers in which these drinks are sold.  

For beer, the approximate number of standard drinks in:

12 oz can/bottle = 1 standard drink
16 oz can/bottle = 1.3 standard drinks
22 oz can/bottle = 2 standard drinks
40 oz can/bottle = 3.3 standard drinks  

For malt liquor, the approximate number of standard drinks in:

12 oz malt liquor = 1.5 standard drinks
16 oz malt liquor = 2 standard drinks
22 oz malt liquor = 2.5 standard drinks
40 oz malt liquor = 4.5 standard drink

For table wine, the approximate number of standard drinks in:

A standard 750 ml (25 oz) bottle of wine = 5 standard drinks

For 80-proof spirits or "hard liquor", the approximate number of standard drinks in:

a mixed drink = 1 or more standard drinks
a fifth (25 oz) = 17 standard drinks
a pint (16oz) = 11 standard drinks
1.75 L (59 oz) = 39 standard drinks

Past the point of possible no return......

Excessive drinking can be hazardous to everyone's health!!! Some people laugh at the behavior of others who are drunk. Some think that it's even funnier when they pass out. As you are laughing about the drunk who has passed out in the corner, there a couple of things that you should know.

It is common for someone who has indulged in an excessive amount of alcohol to vomit since the alcohol is an irritant. Alcohol depresses nerves that control involuntary actions such as breathing and the ability to gag (which prevent choking). Typically, one of the biggest concerns when someone vomits, and is unable to control their gag reflex to prevent choking, is aspiration of the vomit. When vomit is aspirated, the lungs are flooded with foul material which blocks the ability for oxygen to get in and out. If not treated, this could eventually lead to death .

Common myths about sobering up include drinking black coffee, taking a cold bath or sleeping it off or walking it off. These are just myths. The only thing that reduces the affects of alcohol in your system is TIME. And time is something that you do not have enough of when you are suffering from alcohol poisoning.

 

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast Cancer is the most common type of cancer among women in this country.  Each year, more than 211,000 women and 1,700 men in the United States learn that they have Breast Cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, in 2008,  it is estimated that 182,460 females and 1990 males will be diagnosed with Breast Cancer, and 40,480 women and 450 men will die from breast cancer.

Research from the National Academy of Sciences concludes that lifestyle and diet is responsible for up to 60% of cancers in women.  A strong link suggests that a lower estrogen level reduces the risk for developing breast cancer.  It appears that estrogen, a natural female hormone, induces and promotes mammary (breast) tumors.   This happens when too much fat in the diet upsets the estrogen balance in women.  Also, women who have several close maternal relatives (ie., grandmother, mother, aunt, sister) who develop breast cancer before menopause, the risk may be as high as 50%.

The best prevention is eating a low fat, high fiber diet, limiting or avoiding alcohol, not smoking, and exercising regularly.   Not only does the dietary regime reduce the risk of breast cancer but it may help prevent many other types of cancer.

The most common sign of breast cancer is a lump or thickening in the breast.   Other signs  include swelling, puckering or dimpling of the skin, or redness or soreness in the skin.    The nipple may become drawn into the chest, change shape, become crusty or emit a discharge.  Some early breast cancers are painless.  Any pain or tenderness that lasts throughout the 28 day menstrual cycle should be reported to your physician.

Mammography, as a diagnostic tool, remains a woman's best defense against breast cancer.   A mammogram can find a breast lump when they are extremely small, too small in many cases to be detected in a physical exam.    There is a 97% cure rate in early diagnosis where the cancer has not spread.  Remember 4 out of 5 lumps are benign and not cancerous. According to the American Cancer Society, a woman should have her first (baseline) mammogram between the ages of 35 and 39.  Then one should be done every one to two years between the ages of 40 and 50 and annually thereafter. 

Cancer is a multistage process.  Ones best defense is to block the process throughout your lifetime with a healthy lifestyle.

Self breast exams are the simplest, the least time consuming and the first line for women to detect abnormalities in their breast.  Monthly self breast exams performed 7 to 10 days after the start of the menstrual cycle,  can familiarize the woman with her own breasts and make it easier to detect any abnormalities.

How to perform a self breast exam :

  1. Lay down and place a pillow under your right shoulder. Next, place your right arm under your head.
  2. Using your three middle fingers of your left hand, massage your right breast with the pads of your fingers. Check for any lumps or abnormalities. You can move in a circular motion, or up and down. Make sure you use the same motion every month.
  3. Continue the motion, extending to the outside of the breast to your underarm.
  4. Repeat on left side.
  5. Next, repeat exam standing up, with one arm behind your shoulder as you examine each breast. Standing or sitting up allows you to feel the outside of the breast more accurately.
  6. For added precaution, stand in front of a mirror and squeeze each nipple. Look for any discharge.
  7. Take note of any dimpling, redness or swelling.

Tips:

1. You can do a portion of the exam while you are in the shower.  Incorporating it into a normal activity can make it easier to do, and less of a time constraint.  Remember to mark your calendar every month as a reminder. 

2. Do the self breast exam every month at the same time.  Menstruating women should perform it a few days after their period.  Women taking oral contraceptives should do the exam on the first day of starting a new pack of pills.

3. Report any changes to your physician, even if you feel it is minor.


Page modified 11/26/14