Wishing You a Safe and Healthy Holiday Season
Welcome to the December 2010 issue of the Health Matters Newsletter. The Health Matters Newsletter is published on a monthly basis on the Health Center home page, and is linked to the weekly Campus Report. The purpose of the newsletter is to share information, regarding pertinent medical issues and health and wellness suggestions with the students, faculty, and staff here at SUNY Fredonia. This month's topics include:
Every day, 36 people in the United States die, and approximately 700 more are injured, in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol or drugged impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 45 minutes. In one year, over 1.4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.
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.
Protect Yourself and Your Family and Friends
During the holiday season, and year-round , take steps to make sure that you and everyone you celebrate with avoids driving under the influence of alcohol.
What is the difference between a cold and the flu?
How many times have we dismissed sniffles as “just a cold: and carried on with a stuffy nose and sinus congestion assuming that the symptoms would eventually subside? Because flu symptoms are quite similar to cold symptoms, it’s often hard to tell the difference. Flu symptoms hit you quick and are more intense then that of a typical cold. The common cold eventually fizzles, but the flu can be deadly. It is important to know the differences, and to seek medical attention appropriately.
The flu is a viral infection caused by the influenza virus. The common cold is also a viral infection caused by the adenovirus or coronavirus and there are many, many subsets with a lot of variability of both. This is why there is no cure for the common cold and no vaccine available. The flu is known to be from influenza and is preventable with vaccination.
Flu symptoms usually come on quickly (within 3-6 hours) and consist of a fever, body aches, dry cough and extreme tiredness. Colds are less severe and people experience a runny nose, congestion, and sore throat. The flu can cause an epidemic or a pandemic with the potential for mortality, whereas the common cold is just a nuisance for us.
The following chart can help you compare flu symptoms with cold symptoms. Remember that if you are experiencing flu like symptoms, it is best to contact your medical provider or the student health center for assistance in managing these symptoms.
How to Keep Yourself Healthy during the Cold and Flu Season .
1) Don’t panic. First, don’t panic about what you hear on the media. Take a deep breath. Keep in mind that our bodies are capable of fighting viruses and illnesses. A positive outlook on life can go a long way. Happy people seem to be sick less often than unhappy people.
2) Get plenty of Zzzzzzzzzzzz. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation can make you more susceptible to illness by reducing the number of cells in your body dedicated to fighting things like microbes or infections. The average adult needs about 6-8 hours of sleep each day.
3) Bust a move. Exercising helps boost your immune system and overall makes you look and feel better.
4) Engage in germ warfare. Be obsessive about keeping your hands clean, since this is the major way that germs and viruses are spread. Research has shown that frequent hand washing (5 or more times a day) can reduce the chances of getting sick by almost 50%.
Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. Sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice while vigorously lathering the palms, between fingers , around nail beds, and the backs of hands. Pay close attention to hand hygiene before and after each meal, after playing outside, using the bathroom, handling pets, blowing noses, and after being anywhere in public.
Sneeze and cough into your arm or a tissue. Coughing into your hands puts the germs right where you can spread them to any object or person you touch.
5) Drink up. Drink lots of water. Staying hydrated flushes out germs, and improves the moisture level in your skin. Hydration also helps the immune system to work properly. Limit alcohol and caffeine, since they can actually dry out your body even more.
6) Air out. Open a window or two in your home just a crack for a few minutes each day. You will let out indoor air pollutants that may be stressing your immune systems as well as chase away germs.
7) Keep it cool. An overheated home promotes dry air, the perfect environment for viruses to thrive. This dry air can affect your mucous membranes as well. When the mucous membranes in your nose, mouth and tonsils are dry, they can’t trap germs very well. By lowering the heat in your house just 5 degrees and using a humidifier, you will be well on your way to a healthier level of humidity for fighting back on infections.
8) Pump up with produce. Eating a well balanced diet including fruits, veggies, proteins, and healthy fats is needed for immune function and maintenance.
9) Go easy on the sweets. Sugar makes the body acidic, just the way pathogens like it (they thrive on sugar).
10) Quit smoking. If you smoke, quit. Smoking suppresses immune cells from doing their jobs. Immune function starts improving 30 days after a person stops smoking.
11) Take a daily multivitamin. A daily multivitamin is fine for good health, but don’t overload yourself with Vitamin C, Zinc, and other herbal remedies valued for immune support. There is a thin line between just enough and too much. Too much of anything is going to suppress rather than boost.
12) Bundle Up. When it is extremely cold, your blood leaves your arms and your legs, and heads for your core in order to keep your vital organs warm. If you are cold and shivering, your system will concentrate all available energy into raising your core temperature rather than fighting germs, so you are much more apt to get sick. Gloves, hats, scarves, and thick socks all work to keep you warm and well.
What is HIV?
HIV stands for 'human immunodeficiency virus'. HIV is a virus (of the type called retrovirus) that infects cells of the human immune system (mainly CD4 positive T cells and macrophages—key components of the cellular immune system), and destroys or impairs their function. Infection with this virus results in the progressive deterioration of the immune system, leading to 'immune deficiency'. The immune system is considered deficient when it can no longer fulfill its role of fighting off infections and diseases. Immunodeficient people are more susceptible to a wide range of infections, most of which are rare among people without immune deficiency. Infections associated with severe immunodeficiency are known as 'opportunistic infections', because they take advantage of a weakened immune system.
What are the symptoms of HIV?
-Most people infected with HIV do not know that they have become infected, because they do not feel ill immediately after infection. However, some people at the time of seroconversion develop “Acute retroviral syndrome” which is a glandular fever-like illness with fever, rash, joint pains and enlarged lymph nodes.
-Seroconversion refers to the development of antibodies to HIV and usually takes place between 1 and 6 weeks after HIV infection has happened.
-Whether or not HIV infection causes initial symptoms, an HIV-infected person is highly infectious during this initial period and can transmit the virus to another person. The only way to determine whether HIV is present in a person's body is by testing for HIV antibodies or for HIV itself.
-After HIV has caused progressive deterioration of the immune system, increased susceptibility to infections may lead to symptoms.
-HIV is staged on the basis of certain signs, symptoms, infections, and cancers grouped by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Most of these conditions are opportunistic infections that can be treated easily in healthy people.
What is AIDS?
Who is at risk for developing AIDS?
The length of time can vary widely between individuals. The majority of people infected with HIV, if not treated, develop signs of HIV-related illness within 5-10 years, but the time between infection with HIV and being diagnosed with AIDS can be 10–15 years, sometimes longer. Antiretroviral therapy can slow down disease progression to AIDS by decreasing the infected person’s viral load. WHO recommends initiation of antiretroviral therapy for all HIV-infected adolescents and adults who are at clinical stage 4 or have a CD4 positive T cell count below 200 per mm3, and for some persons who are at clinical stage 3.
For more information about HIV and AIDS: