NC State is celebrating Earth Day 2013 with week of free events focusing on “Barn to Brick: Sustainable Food and Agriculture at NC State.” Campus events will be running from April 13th-April 18th and local Raleigh events will be held on April 20th. Among the activities centered around healthy food and wellness, there will be plenty of giveaways throughout the week including gift cards to retailers and restaurants. The fun will kick off on April 13th where students are invited to plant seedlings among their fellow students and faculty to promote the growth of fresh food on campus to be served in the dining halls. Join us on April 16th on the Brickyard for the “Grow Your Wellness” health fair which will be based on the seven dimensions of wellness and will feature an array of interesting and interactive activities and giveaway items for students. There will also be free t-shirts given to the first 500 students who explore all the dimensions! One of the largest campus events this spring will be the April 17th Earth Day celebration on the Brickyard. Rounding out the campus activities is a farm feast held outside Fountain Dining Hall on the 18th where students can take part in an outdoor picnic and enjoy live music from the bluegrass band, Mandolin Orange. The celebration will continue with local events like Live and Local on Hillsborough Street and a Planet Earth celebration at the Museum of Natural Sciences on April 20th.
For more information regarding these events and more, visit Earth Day 2013 for a full description of what’s to come.
Spring is right around the corner and now that we are getting that extra hour of sunshine, it’s the perfect time to talk about the importance of protecting your skin from the sun. Skin Cancer is the most common form of cancer in the US and is also the most preventable form of this disease. North Carolina has the 10th highest reported rates of Melanoma, the lethal form of skin cancer, in the country. Many teens and young adults do not think about cancer at this stage in their lives but Melanoma is the second most common type of cancer in those that are 15-25 years of age. Certain high risk behaviors like tanning bed use and irresponsible sunbathing habits are said to be linked to these incidence rates. Coincidentally, women 18-25 comprise 70% of the consumer base for the tanning bed industry. Ironically, appearance is the driving force behind decisions to tan but appearance of the skin can be negatively affected by this behavior on a long-term basis. Moreover, the sun (real or artificial) is responsible for 90% of the visible signs of aging. Remember, tans fade but the damage is there to stay. It looms underneath the skin and surfaces little by little in the form of freckles, sun spots, and hyperpigmentation.
UVR can be emitted both from natural sunlight and artificial sources like tanning beds. Neither is safer than the other but tanning beds can release up to 12 times the amount of UVR than the sun at mid-day. In fact, in one 10 minute session, certain high pressure tanning beds can produce the equivalent of being out in the sun for four hours. While it is true that sunshine can give you a healthy dose of Vitamin D, you only need a few minutes in natural sunlight to achieve this. Keep in mind that overexposure to UVR can cause skin cancer, premature aging of the skin, and eye damage which should always be taken seriously. One can help protect themselves from the harmful effects of the sun by doing the following things:
- Stay out of tanning beds! Those that start tanning before the age of 34 increase their risk for skin cancer by 74%.
- Get checked out by a Dermatologist if you notice anything suspicious. Visit skincancer.org to learn how to do a self-screening.
- Wear SPF 30 or more if in the sun for prolonged period of time and SPF 15 or 20 on a daily basis.
- Protect your eyes and face with sunglasses, hats, or visors.
- Use lip balm with SPF if spending time outdoors.
- Seek shade whenever possible.
- Know your skin type. If you burn easily, take extra precaution in the sun.
- Opt for self-tanners or airbrush tanning over tanning beds and outdoor sunbathing.
- Know the facts. For more information visit skincancer.org
While students may think that insufficient sleep is just par for the course when you’re in school, it can actually be a serious problem with effects that are linked to a number of health issues. College students are often juggling several activities pertaining to school, work, and relationships which can add up to a lot of late nights and little time to sleep. The widespread use and around-the-clock availability of technology can also play a role in forming irregular sleep patterns. Not only can a lack of sleep result in feelings of sluggishness and inability to concentrate the next day but it can also take a physical toll by increasing one’s risk for chronic diseases, obesity, and depression. In a study of adult sleep behaviors, 43.7% of adults 18-25 reported unintentionally falling asleep at least once in the past month while 4.5% reported having nodded off while driving. In order to avoid any harmful effects that may ensue if sleep is not made more of a priority, it is important for students to learn about good sleep hygiene. On February 5th, students are encouraged to attend the sleep event located at the Rec Center at 6:30pm where they can take advantage of relaxation activities such as chair massages and meditation. The chair massages begin at 5:30 and are on a first come first serve basis.
Sleep Hygiene: n education with the goal of effecting behavior modification, thus leading to a healthy sleep pattern. Behaviors that support healthy sleep include daily exercise, daily exposure to natural light, a regular sleep schedule, and relaxation exercises in the evening.
Tips for Practicing Good Sleep Hygiene
- Avoid Stimulants: This category includes soda, coffee, and energy drinks which can disturb a restful night’s sleep.
- Create a Peaceful Environment: Minimize distractions such as noise and bright lights.
- Stick to a Sleep Schedule: Try to go to sleep at the same time each night.
- Avoid All-Nighters: Pace yourself throughout the semester to avoid the need for cram sessions.
- Aim for 7-9 Hours: Adults should be getting somewhere between 7-9 hours per night.
- See a Health Provider: If you are experiencing trouble sleeping, consult with your health care provider.
The flu has reached epidemic proportions in the US with 47 states still reporting widespread flu activity at this time. Given the nature of this situation, students are urged to make an appointment with Student Health Services on campus to receive a flu vaccine if they haven’t done so already. Vaccines are also available at a variety of additional locations including pharmacies and walk-in clinics. Students can utilize the pharmacy services, also located in the Student Health Center, for OTC medications and assistance with their prescriptions.
Not to be confused with the common cold, the flu can last up to seven days and is most commonly characterized by symptoms of fatigue, body aches, cough, and sore throat. Receiving the flu vaccine can reduce one’s need to seek medical treatment for their illness by 60%. In accordance with the flu vaccine, one can strengthen their immune system by eating a healthy diet, getting adequate sleep, and washing their hands often.
Prevention is key when it comes to dodging the flu this season but for those that are already experiencing flu symptoms, there are general things that can be done to help alleviate some of the discomfort that accompanies the illness.
- Anti-Viral Medications: These types of medications can be taken to both prevent and help treat the flu and should be taken within the first 48 hours from the onset of symptoms. Anti-Viral remedies can slightly reduce the duration of the flu and can help prevent severe flu complications. These medications can also be prescribed as a preventive treatment to those who are not sick but have come into close contact with someone who is. It is important to consult a physician to make sure it is safe for you to take any medication.
- Over-the-Counter Antihistamines & Decongestants: The choice of medication will depend on what your symptoms are. If you have nasal or sinus congestion, a Decongestant may help. Consult with a pharmacist when purchasing OTC medications to make sure you are a good candidate for taking them.
- Drink More Liquids: Aim for at least eight cups per day. Doing so helps keep your respiratory system hydrated.
- Breathe Aromatic Steam: To help clear your nasal passages, fill the bathroom or sink with steaming water. Add a teaspoon of Vick’s Vapo-Rub (OTC treatment) or a couple of drops of Eucalyptus oil, known for clearing bronchial passages, to the water. Drape a towel over your head and lean over the steam to help reduce congestion and nasal discomfort.
- Warm Compress: If your head is throbbing, apply a warm (not too hot!) compress to your cheeks and sinuses to help reduce the pain.
For more information:
Call the Student Health Center at (919) 515-7107 to make an appointment for a flu vaccine. Student Health Center Pharmacy (919) 515-5040
As we head into the winter season, the motivation to stick to a workout routine may drop off right along with the temperature. Particularly for those that exercise outdoors or are heading home for the holidays but do not have access to a gym. Despite the change in weather, it is important to continue to maintain a fitness routine even if exercising outdoors is the only viable option. This may not sound like much fun at first but it turns out that performing physical activity in cold weather can be very invigorating. Because the body is forced to work harder in the cooler temperatures, endorphin production is increased which leads to a happier state of mind. In addition, exposure to natural sunlight can help fight depression. Exercising in cold weather is one of those things that you may have to talk yourself into doing at first but once you’re finished, you’ll feel great and be more likely to do it again. There are things to keep in mind when preparing to exercise outside during the winter season in order to stay safe and protect the body from harsh weather conditions.
- Protect Your Hands, Feet, and Ears When It’s Cold: When it’s cold, blood flow is concentrated in the core of the body. Wear a thin pair of tighter fitting gloves underneath a pair lined with wool or fleece.
- Dress in Layers: The first layer should be a thin synthetic material which draws sweat away from the body, followed by a fleece and topped off with a waterproof layer. Avoid cotton close to the body because it stays wet.
- Consider Decreasing the Intensity of Your Workout: A cooling muscle causes it to become weaker.
- Warm Up Longer & More Vigorously: Doing so heats up the body and gets the muscles prepared for the workout.
- Exercise in the Afternoon: If possible, choose the afternoon for your workout when temperatures are highest.
- Sometimes It’s Just Too Cold to Exercise Outside: Keep an eye on the windchill factor in order to determine the appropriateness of an outdoor workout. Early signs of Hypothermia include weakness, shivering, slurred speech, and confusion.
Meeting the demands of being a student can be very stressful, especially as the semester winds down and the holidays near. But contrary to popular belief, not all stress is bad. Stress can be a big motivator for meeting deadlines and managing one’s time effectively. But it is important to keep in mind that when a task is completed, the stress should subside and relief should settle in. If it does not, stress can turn into a negative thing that can cause the body to respond in ways that are harmful to one’s health. Although stress is an inevitable part of college life, there are things that a student can do in order to keep it from getting out of hand. The Counseling Center, located in the Student Health Center, is a great resource that provides assistance to students on both a personal and academic level. Cristie Cunningham, Counseling Psychologist on campus, provides a number of useful ways that students can take care of themselves in order to manage their level of stress and respond to it positively.
- Talk Rationally and Be Supportive of Yourself, Avoid Negative Self-Talk!
- Get Organized: A messy workspace can stress you out before you even begin working.
- Exercise Regularly and Eat Healthfully: How you take care of yourself can determine how your body responds to stress.
- Get Plenty of Sleep: The recommended amount is 7-8 hours.
- Take Mini-Breaks: This can help you rejuvenate yourself and clear your mind.
- Talk and Laugh with Friends: You know what they say, “laughter is the best medicine”.
- Have Some Quiet Time: Unplug yourself from the world and focus on YOU.
- Watch Your Habits With Regard to Alcohol and Drug Use
- Do Things You Enjoy: Make time for stress-relieving activities you enjoy, no matter how busy you are. These things can give you that extra motivation to keep going.
The Counseling Center is located on the 2nd floor of the Student Health Center 919-515-2563
Students experience many new and often challenging circumstances upon entering college for the first time. While this transition can be hard for anyone to make, those coming to college from the military may encounter some unique adjustment issues. Among many reasons, the military is a highly structured and disciplined environment while college offers much more flexibility in terms of a daily schedule and additional free time. Given the dissimilarity between the two lifestyles, it can’t be easy to switch roles and fully acclimate to college life. However, as a result of their military training and experience, these students have a valuable skill set that gives them an incredible work ethic and the capacity to be very focused on doing what it takes to get a job done. The skills they’ve acquired through their time in the service can be an asset in meeting the demands of being a college student.
To assist active-duty military students and veterans in meeting these demands, there are helpful resources on campus such as Veteran’s Affairs as well as the Counseling Center whose staff work to make the transition from military life to college life easier for students. Noah Martinson, Staff Counselor in the Student Health Center, states that “it’s important for students coming from the military to be proactive about their health needs and be comfortable enough to reach out for help and take advantage of the resources that are here for them.” Counseling is provided in the Counseling Center and in addition, the Raleigh Vet Center offers an OEF/OIF/GWOT Transition Assistance Group that meets in the Student Health Center. For more information, contact the Counseling Center.
Because we value and appreciate what our student veterans have done for our country, it is important for the campus and the community to work together to create an understanding and supportive environment that acknowledges and honors these individuals. Thank you to all of the military men and women who have dedicated their lives to serving this country and defending our freedom.
For more information, please visit the links provided below.
Counseling Center, Student Health Center 2nd Floor
Veterans Affairs assists Veterans and Service-Dependents with their GI Bill benefits and additional networking opportunities
NC State Student Veterans is a student group on campus. For more information on joining, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Department of Veteran’s Affairs Raleigh Vet Center provides counseling and additional services to Raleigh-area Vets
Military Mental Health provides self-assessment and resources for those associated with the military.
October is breast cancer awareness month and there is no better time to join the fight against the most common form of cancer found in women worldwide. Studies have found that 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer during the course of her lifetime. Keep in mind individual risk factors pertaining to family and reproductive history can influence this average. While breast cancer is much more frequent in females, both men and women should become familiar with their own bodies so that they’re able to note any changes or abnormalities that may occur. Prevention and early detection provide the best defense against this disease that has touched the lives of so many. Find out how you can better protect yourself by modifying certain lifestyle behaviors and becoming proactive toward your health.
Ways To Decrease Your Risk for Breast Cancer
- Maintain a Healthy Weight: Having more fat tissue can increase estrogen levels which is correlated to breast cancer risk.
- Improve Your Diet: Although specific foods have yet to be identified as increasing one’s risk for breast cancer, it is best to limit sources of red meat and animal fats including dairy because they may include hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides.
- Exercise: There is a growing evidence that says exercise reduces the risk for breast cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends 45-60 minutes at least five days per week.
- Limit Alcohol Use: Breast cancer risk increases as the amount of alcohol consumed increases. Alcohol can affect your liver’s ability to control blood levels of the hormone estrogen which can increase risk.
- Quit Smoking: There is an increase in risk for breast cancer associated with smoking.
- Limit Estrogen Exposure: Because estrogen stimulates breast cell growth, exposure over a long period of time without any breaks can increase breast cancer risk. It is best to speak to your Gynecologist to help you weigh your individual risk factors where estrogen is concerned.
Early Detection is Your Best Protection
- Increase Breast Awareness & Self-Exams: Starting in their 20’s, women should become familiar with the benefits and limitations of a self-breast exam (SBE). To learn more about conducting an SBE, visit the American Cancer Society.
- Get Screened: Doctor’s say that breast cancer screenings save thousands of lives every year. The current recommendation for women in their 20’s and 30’s that do not have any breast cancer symptoms is to get a clinical breast exam (CBE) once every three years. Women over 40 should get an annual mammogram.
Support the fight against breast cancer while getting a great workout! Join us at the Party in Pink at Harris Field on October 29th from 6:00 – 7:30 pm. Wear Pink and Zumba the night away for a great cause!
Women’s Health is located in the Student Health Center on campus and provides routine gynecological care including breast examinations. For more information on services provided, go here.
There are certain elements unique to college life that can impact nutrition habits and cause students to lose sight of the benefits of eating healthfully. While students work tirelessly to balance their studies, work, family, and friends, they may not leave much room for taking care of their bodies. By developing good dietary habits, one not only increases their state of physical health but they can make significant improvements to their mental clarity and energy levels. Consequently, diets high in fat and refined sugars can cause one to feel sluggish and unmotivated which indicates some truth behind the old saying “you are what you eat”. Stephanie Sobol, Associate Director of Health Promotion, Student Health Services, states that “it’s important for students to think about how they’re fueling their bodies and learn how to balance their plates so that they’re eating the right foods and the right amount of those foods”, adding that “it’s smart to plan ahead and make sure you’ve got some healthy snacks on hand to sustain you in between meals.” Doing so keeps the metabolism going and prevents overeating that often happens when you go too long without eating.
What Does a Balanced Plate Look Like?
- It’s Colorful: Half of your plate should be full of fruits and vegetables to provide you the necessary nutrients to improve your physical and mental health.
- It’s Lean: One quarter of your plate should be a lean protein like fish, beans, egg whites or chicken to help you feel fuller throughout the day.
- It’s Complex: One quarter of your plate should be complex carbohydrates (whole grains) such as whole wheat pasta or bread, bran cereal, or brown rice to keep energy levels steady throughout the day.
Keep Your Dorm Room and Backpack Stocked With Healthy Snacks
- Apple slices with peanut butter
- Fiber nutrition bars
- Carrot sticks
- Low-fat yogurt
- String cheese
Learn the truths about nutrition and diet myths and enjoy some free food by attending the event, “Nutrition: Believe This, Not That” at the Campus Cinema on October 17th from 7-8:30.
Have a question about nutrition? Access the Ask the Dietician feature on the Student Health Services website.
The majority of sexual assaults on campus involve alcohol consumption by either or both the victim and perpetrator, which puts female students at a much higher risk than the general population. While alcohol does not cause someone to become a sex offender or victim, it reduces inhibitions of both parties which can lead to dangerous behaviors. Dr.Turnbull, Director of Health Promotion, a part of Student Health Services, states that the first six weeks of a new school year is when most sexual assaults take place, “new students may not be paying attention to how much they’re consuming or how strong their drinks are.” It is also important that men understand their role in preventing a sexual assault from occurring, adds Dr. Turnbull, “sometimes it’s the man that needs to be the one to make the decision not to pursue a sexual encounter with someone who may not be in the right frame of mind to give proper consent.”
To increase your safety in situations where sexual assaults do take place follow these tips.
- Limit your drinking and pace yourself. Should you choose to drink, make sure you have eaten beforehand and alternate alcoholic drinks with a non-alcoholic beverage.
- Stick with your friends – DO NOT isolate yourself. Isolation can make you appear vulnerable to those that may want to take advantage of you.
- Do not leave your drink unattended or accept drinks from others. Doing so may leave you vulnerable to drinking a “spiked” drink, otherwise known as “Date Rape” drugs.
- Trust your gut, if something does not feel right, it probably isn’t! Stay sober enough to be able to pay attention to what you’re instincts are telling you.
- Reach out for help. Should you become a victim of sexual assault, know that it is not your fault and there are many resources dedicated to helping you through this.
NC State Women’s Center – 24/7 hotline (919) 618-7273
WakeMed S.A.F.E. Center - contact within 72 hours of a sexual assault
NC State Counseling Center-2nd Floor Student Health Center; 24 hour on-call counselor