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)

March 2014


Let's Get Ready for Spring Break

 

Spring Break is coming up and students are itching to kick back and relax , or party to their heart's content.  This break from classes is much needed before the last stretch of the school year, so it's very important to take precautions in your adventures , while still having fun.  Here are some good topics to read about before jumping into Spring Break.

Keeping you safe during Spring Break
 
Travel Tips for Students
 
SUN, SAND, & SURF
 
Drugs that can hurt you without knowing it
 

 

Keeping you safe during Spring Break

 

General Safety

Not only during spring break, but anytime, it is always smart to use the buddy system while out with friends.  The buddy system means that before going out, you will designate which friends will stay together and make sure that no one ends up alone and/or in a compromising situation.

  • Safety in numbers. Go out in groups and make sure that no one is ever left alone or behind.
  • Don't ever leave your drink out of sight. If you take your eyes off of it, discard it.
  • Wear sunscreen
  • Always keep emergency money in a separate place other than your purse or wallet.
  • Only accept drinks from a licensed bartender or drinks that you pour yourself. Do not accept drinks from strangers unless you watch it being poured. You put yourself at risk for receiving an altered beverage if you don't know the source of the drink.
  • Do not travel with illegal substances
  • Avoid casual intimate relationships with someone you just met and make sure that you practice safe sex.
  • Never leave an intoxicated friend.  If a friend is sick, don't leave them alone. If you feel sick, ask someone to look out for you.  If a member of your group passes out, turn them on their side to prevent choking and call 911 immediately.
  • Be careful following people you don't know back to hotel rooms, parties, homes, etc
  • Don't carry a lot of cash. Use credit/debit cards, or traveler's check. If theft occurs, report your card stolen immediately and have it canceled.

Personal Safety

  • Always be aware of your location and how to get back to your hotel.
  • Take only what you absolutely need during the day.  The less baggage, the better.  Store valuable items in hotel safe.  Or don't bring them with you at all.
  • Never share personal information with a stranger, especially hotel information.
  • Never go anywhere alone and always make sure someone knows where you are going.
  • Never take offers for free rides or tours from anyone.
  • Keep money, passport and ID in a pouch that is not easily accessible, such as a neck pouch hanging inside you shirt or a waist belt inside your pants.
  • Be cautious of groups of kids, strangers offering to help with your bags and anyone that inadvertently bumps into you.
  • Keep carry-ons, purse and other baggage near you.  If you set baggage down, place it securely between your legs.
  • Place your purse strap over a shoulder crossing it over your upper torso.  Place wallets in front pockets; they are too easy to steal from back pockets.
  • If you are robbed, don't resist -- give up any money, jewelry, or other valuables.  You can always replace material things.  Call 911 as soon as you can.

Travel Tips for Students

Be aware that there are lots of people out there who see students on Spring Break as easy targets for theft.   Don't prove them correct.  When traveling , here are some precautions you should always take with your valuables.

  • Take only what you will need.  Clean out your wallet and keep only a small amount of cash, ID, ATM card and credit cards.
  • If traveling abroad, check with the US Department of State for the required visa, ID or passport.
  • ATMs are often the easiest and the cheapest way to get money abroad.  Be sure to carry your card in a safe place.
  • Do not forget a week's worth of any prescription medication.
  • Leave a copy of your itinerary, passport, ID and list of wallet contents with someone you trust back home.
  • Make a list of ID numbers, contact information, travel information (flight and hotel) and credit card numbers and leave it with a trusted friend or relative. Call friends or family members to let them know that you have arrived and returned safely.

SUN, SAND, & SURF

Don’t forget the Sunscreen

Before it's too late, you need to know that too much sun can not only damage and dry our skin over time, it can cause a nasty sunburn and possibly lead to skin cancer in your later years.  Prevention is important.   Here are some things that you can do:

Avoid sun exposure during the hottest hours of the sun's rays... Protection from sun exposure is important all year round, not just during the summer months or while at the beach.  The hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. are the most hazardous for UV exposure.    This is just as important on cloudy and hazy days as on bright and sunny ones.  It is important to protect your skin. 

Avoid over exposure - limit your time in the sun .. Ultraviolet (UV) rays are a part of sunlight that is an invisible form of radiation.  UV rays can penetrate and change the structure of skin cells.  Although getting some sun exposure can yield a few positive health benefits, excessive and unprotected exposure to the sun can result in premature aging and undesirable changes in skin texture.

Apply sunscreen with SPF (Sun Protection Factor) .. Sunscreens come in a variety of forms such as lotions, gels, and sprays.  Some are for specific purposes, such as the scalp, sensitive skin, and for use on babies.  But the important take home should be that regardless of the type of sunscreen you choose, be sure that you  use one that blocks both UVA and UVB rays and that it offers at least SPF 15.  Pay special attention to the face, nose, ears and shoulders.  Reapply sunscreen after swimming and sweating.

Wear sunglasses with UV (Ultraviolet) Protection.. Oh, and don't forget your sunglasses.  Sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays and reduce the risk of cataracts.  They also protect the tender skin around your eyes from sun exposure.   The standard sunglasses that protect against UVA and UVB rays offer the best protection.

Drink plenty of fluids.. It is important to keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water, non-carbonated and non-alcoholic drinks, even if you do not feel thirsty. 

Not all skin is created equal...Whether individuals burn or tan depends on a number of factors , including their skin type, the time of the year, and the amount of sun exposure they have received recently. 

 

Drugs that can hurt you without knowing it

Unfortunately, for many students drug use is what they choose for enjoyment. In recent years, there has been an increase in the usage of specific drugs, such as Molly and Ecstasy, which are forms of MDMA. Subsequently, emergency room visits from MDMA-related incidents have spiked. Between the years 2005 and 2011, emergency room visits from use of Molly or Ecstasy rose from 4,500 to 10,000. This statistic only accounts for visits to the emergency room, it doesn’t include fatalities. Below is some information about these risky drugs to keep in mind.

MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine): A psychoactive drug that is part of the amphetamine and hallucinogenic classes of drugs

Molly: Powder form of MDMA; often considered to be more pure than the pill form (Ecstasy) however, there is nothing regulating the addition of additives or adulterants

Ecstasy: Pill form of MDMA; can be laced with any number of additives or adulterants, including caffeine and methamphetamine

Adulterants: Substances added to a drug to lessen the amount of the expensive drug; also referred to as “cutting agents”

MDMA, in forms of Molly or Ecstasy, is a risky drug that can cause unwanted side effects. These include teeth grinding, nausea, muscle cramping, feeling faint, chills, blurry vision, anxiety, confusion and depression. High doses or multiple small doses to maintain a high can result in seizures and cause the heart to have an irregular beating pattern. In more severe circumstances it can cause the body to have difficulty regulating its temperature, causing it to rise and result in heat stroke. This is called hyperthermia. Hyperthermia can cause damage to vital organs such as the kidneys, liver and heart and can even lead to heart failure. Dehydration is also a risk in the use of MDMA in any form because it can contribute to the heat stroke effect of the drug. Some people may become addicted to MDMA in any of its forms, and will continue to use it even though they experience negative side effects. Another side effect that college students might want to consider is that researchers have found memory loss to occur in regular users of MDMA.

A couple of myths exist about Molly in particular. Firstly, it is said that Molly is a new drug, but it is actually just a different form of the old drug known as Ecstasy. Next, it is believed among users that Molly is safer than other drugs because it is “purer”. This is not true because anything can be laced into the powder, and there is no regulating body to approve what is added to the mix. One line could contain no active drug and the next could contain enough to cause an overdose. Another risky aspect of drug use is that dealers may be selling synthetic, non-pure drugs, and calling them Molly. Users don’t always know what they are actually buying, which can be very dangerous. Another common myth is that drinking water will counteract the hyperthermic effect of the drug. It is true that water can help lessen the effects of heat stroke; however, overconsumption of water can lead to water poisoning, which can be fatal because it disturbs brain functions.

The important things to take away from this article is that there is no safe way to do drugs, whether they are considered “pure” or not. They can always be laced with something even more harmful and overdose is always a risk. No one wants to have to deal with the stress of a friend who has overdosed, and no one wants to spend their break in the hospital because of a bad reaction to drugs. The safest bet over Spring Break is to enjoy your time off without drugs.

 

 

 


Page modified 11/26/14