6 Ways College Women Can Protect Their Health

The start of college means it’s time for young women to take charge of their health.

Dr. Aparna Sridhar, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California, Los Angeles, offers several tips in a university news release.

Know your health status. Talk to your parents and your doctor to make sure you’re up-to-date with health screenings, shots and prescriptions. Ask about the status of allergies and other health issues.

Know how to get health care on campus. Find out the location of the closest health center that accepts your insurance.

Keep track of menstrual cycles. Being aware of your cycle will allow you to provide specifics to doctors if there’s an issue. “When I ask my patients when their last period was, the first thing they do is open their cellphone. Many women are tracking their cycles through apps now,” Sridhar said. You might also want to track your mood, cramps and birth control use.

Don’t tolerate sexual abuse or violence. One in four undergraduate women is sexually assaulted on campus. Consult the campus website or your dorm’s resident assistant for help reporting an assault.

Follow good hygiene habits. Change sanitary protection as recommended.

Beware of urinary tract infections. “Drink plenty of water to flush out your system and talk to your doctor if you have pain and frequent urination with burning,” Sridhar said. “If neglected, these can lead to kidney infections.”

SOURCE: University of California, Los Angeles Health Sciences, news release

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Mental Illness in College Students Increased 16%

One in four young adults, between the ages of 18 and 24, have a diagnosable mental illness. Mental illness and health issues in college students have increased dramatically since 2000.

More than 11 percent of college students have been diagnosed or treated for anxiety in the 2016 and more than 10 percent reported being diagnosed or treated for depression.

64 percent of young adults who are no longer in college are not attending college because of a mental health related reason, according to the CSC. Depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder are the primary diagnoses of these young adults.

A.P.A Symptoms of Diagnoses

Depression Symptoms:

  • Behavioral: Changes in sleep habits, sleeping more or difficulty sleeping. Appetite changes, including either a loss of appetite or overeating
  • Mood: Sadness, feelings of being overwhelmed, feelings of hopelessness, and feelings of powerlessness
  • Cognitive: Seeing a glass ‘half-empty,’ having trouble concentrating and paying attention, resulting in difficulty in reading and completing work tasks

 

Anxiety:

  • Mood: fearfulness
  • Behavioral: irritability,  sweating, dizziness, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, muscle pain and tension, headaches, frequent upset stomach or diarrhea
  • Cognitive: trouble concentrating, feelings of stress and apprehension

Bipolar Disorder:

  • Mood: mood swings, sadness, elevated mood, anger, anxiety, apathy, apprehension, euphoria, general discontent, guilt, hopelessness, loss of interest, or loss of interest or pleasure in activities
  • Behavioral: irritability, disorganized behavior, aggression, agitation, crying, excess desire for sex, hyperactivity, impulsivity, restlessness, or self-harm
  • Cognitive: unwanted thoughts, delusion, lack of concentration, racing thoughts, or slowness in activity

Without adequate treatment, young adults experiencing a mental health issue are more likely to receive lower GPAs, drop out of college or be unemployed than their peers who do not have a mental health challenge. 

Get the help you or your friends need as soon as possible.

According to mental health research conducted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI):

  • One in four students have a diagnosable illness
  • 40% do not seek help
  • 80% feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities
  • 50% have become so anxious that they struggled in school 

What You Can Do

  1.  Be aware of yourself and others for these symptoms
  2. Be an active listener
  3. Avoid criticizing or belittling
  4. Reach out for help (know the proper channels/people)

Click on Best Colleges for more information about what you can do and helpful resources.

 

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Strengthen Sleeping Habits: 12 Steps to Sound Slumber

1 in 3 adults does not get enough sleep, according to the CDC. Are you 1 in 3?

In August 2017, Dr. Steve Kay, a professor of neurology at USC, discussed the effects of technology on sleeping patterns. 

Dr. Kay said, “Looking at tablets or smartphones can actually cause significant sleep disruption. When your eye is exposed to blue light, your brain suppresses the production of melatonin – the hormone production our brain produces at night normally rises in the evening, peaks at midnight and then goes back down.” 

The presence of any artificial light at night can potentially damage your sleep cycle, but the blue light has been proven to be the most disruptive. Putting your phone on night mode will diminish the blue light to a softer pink light. This may help you to fall asleep easier. 

Not enough sleep, or even too much, may cause:

  • obesity
  • mood disorders
  • heart disease
  • hypertension
  • lower your life expectancy.

Also, the National Sleep Foundation researched in 2006 that only 20% of adolescents get the recommended nine hours of sleep on school nights, and 45% sleep less than eight hours on school nights.

Two consecutive nights of less than six hours could leave you sluggish for the following six days. Researchers also found that staying up an extra hour, even if followed by a full night’s sleep, is correlated with a slower performance the next day. – Standford Medicine

The Following May Help Sleeping Habits

#1 Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol, Nicotine, and Other Chemicals that Interfere with Sleep

Avoid caffeine (found in coffee, tea, chocolate, cola, and some pain relievers) for four to six hours before bedtime. Similarly, smokers should refrain from using tobacco products within 3 hours of bedtime. It is best to limit alcohol consumption, and especially to avoid drinking within 3 hours of bedtime.

#2 Turn Your Bedroom into a Sleep-Inducing Environment

A quiet, dark, and cool environment can help promote sound slumber. Lower the outside noise with earplugs or a “white noise” appliance. Keep the temperature between 60 and 75°F and the room well ventilated. Make sure you have a comfortable mattress and pillows. (Remember that most mattresses wear out after ten years.) If a pet regularly wakes you during the night, you may want to consider keeping it out of your bedroom. Keeping technology and work material out of the room will strengthen the mental association between your bedroom and sleep.

#3 Establish a Soothing Pre-Sleep Routine

Ease the transition to bedtime with relaxing activities an hour or so before sleeping. Take a bath (the rise, then fall in body temperature promotes drowsiness), read a book, watch television, or practice relaxation exercises. Avoid stressful, stimulating activities like doing work, discussing emotional issues. Physically and psychologically stressful activities can cause the body to secrete the stress hormone cortisol, which is associated with increasing alertness. If you tend to take your problems to bed, try writing them down—and then putting them aside.

#4 Go to Sleep When You’re Truly Tired

#5 Don’t Watch the Clock; Turn the Light Away

#6 Use Light to Your Advantage (When possible, follow the natural light to help your internal clock’s sleep-wake cycle) 

#7 Keep Your Internal Clock Set with a Consistent Sleep Schedule

#8 Nap Early—Or Not at All (If napping, keep it about 30 minutes and before 5 p.m.) 

#9 Don’t Eat Before Sleeping   Finish dinner several hours before bedtime and avoid foods that cause indigestion. If you get hungry at night, snack on foods that won’t disturb your sleep, perhaps dairy foods and carbohydrates.

#10 Balance Fluid Intake (Avoid waking up thirsty and night-time bathroom trips)

#11 Exercise Early (Exercise at least three hours before bed or earlier)

#12 Follow Through

Meet Keasi Toki, a sleep technician at our sleep lab!

Some of these tips will be easier to include in your daily and nightly routine than others. However, if you stick with them, your chances of achieving restful sleep will improve. That said, not all sleep problems are so easily treated and could signify the presence of a sleep disorder such as apnearestless legs syndromenarcolepsy, or another clinical sleep problem. If your sleep difficulties don’t improve through good sleep, you may want to consult your physician or a sleep specialist.

If you are interested, we, at Madison Memorial Hospital, have a sleep lab.

Go to http://madisonmemorial.org/sleep-study-lab/ to schedule your appointment.

 

 

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Smoke Over Idaho

Much of Idaho Issued a Red Flag Fire Warning

A red flag warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now, or will shortly. Fires may experience rapid rates of growth. Please advise the appropriate officials or fire crews in the field of the red flag warning for portions of Southeast Idaho. – National Weather Services Currently, this fire warning is found marked with red in the map below. Click the map to see more.

View all the areas in read.Fire Warning in Idaho

Wildfires impact health in Idaho. This is one of the reasons we encourage you to come to our Idaho PREPAREDness Expo. Besides the chance of your shelter burning, air quality effects everyone!

 

 

 

Air pollutants can be very harmful to our health. The severity of the pollutant is determined by three factors:

  1. Exposure Length AQI Key
  2. Type of Pollutant 
  3. Concentration of Exposure

Have you ever experienced irritation to the eyes, nose and throat? Or have you had upper respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia? We’ve all experienced headaches, nausea, and allergic reactions. Short-term air pollution can aggravate these and other medical conditions of individuals with asthma and emphysema.

Long-term health effects can include chronic respiratory disease, lung cancer, and heart disease. Damage can even be effective to the brain, nerves, liver, or kidneys. Continual exposure to air pollution affects the lungs of growing children and may aggravate or complicate medical conditions in the elderly. Idaho generally has excellent air quality.

Today’s Air Quality Index (AQI) in Rexburg is good(see key to the right). Click here to determine the air quality. This will allow you to see the latest ratings on air quality for our area.

 

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There is No Such Thing as a Healthy Tan

Ways to Prevent Skin Cancer

One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of their lives, according to skincancer.org. The following ways may help you diminish the chance of getting skin cancer.

1. Avoid Peak Hours in the Sun

The sun is strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., according to sun safety alliance.  If possible, don’t spend a lot of time outdoors during these hours.

2. Seek Shade

If you can’t avoid the sun during peak hours, find a spot in the shade. However, UV rays can still indirectly reach your skin. UV rays may bounce off sand or concrete even though you are covered by an umbrella or tree. Shade is most effective when you can’t see the sky.

3. Cover Up with Clothing and a Wide-Brimmed Hat

Clothing is the first barrier between UV rays and your skin. Any clothing will help protect you from the sun, but some clothing better than others. The University of Utah Cancer Center, our affiliate, posted  What Clothing Is Best for Protecting the Skin?  Click on the link to learn more.

Hats are a stylish way to keep the sun off your head, face, and shoulders. Choose a hat with a brim at least three inches wide to cover the back of your neck, nose, and ears.

Patients who are receiving cancer treatment may become extra sensitive to the sun. Surgical scars and areas of skin, treated by radiation, can burn easily. If you’ve lost your hair, your head is also vulnerable. It is important to keep these areas protected from the sun.

Sun glasses and a wide-brimmed hat are options to help prevent skin cancer.

4. Wear Sunglasses

Your eyes are also sensitive to the sun’s rays. Look for sunglasses labeled as having 99–100% UV light protection. Wrap-around styles keep light from shining around the frames and into your eyes.

5. Don’t Use Tanning Beds

Tanning beds expose you to harmful UV light. Often this type of UV light is stronger and can cause more damage in less time than UV rays from the sun. Learn to love your natural skin color.

Remember, a tan is your skin’s reaction to UV damage. There’s no such thing as a safe, healthy tan, according to CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

The annual cost of treating skin cancers in the U.S. is estimated at $8.1 billion, according to skincancer.org. Do your part and reduce your chances of skin cancer.

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