Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Cold & Flu

By Shahmir Haq 


What causes a Cold?
Rhinovirus makes people sneeze and sniffle, and it’s highly contagious. Most cold-causing viruses thrive in environments with low humidity, which may be why colds are more common during the fall and winter months. However, you can catch a cold any time during the year. When a sick individual sneezes or coughs, he or she sends virus-filled droplets flying through the air. You can get sick if you touch a surface (such as a countertop or doorknob) that has recently been handled by a cold-infected person, and then touch your nose, mouth, or eyes.

Cold Prevention
Protection for a common cold is frequent hand washing. About 80% of contagious diseases are transmitted by touch. There is a simple friction that occurs when you rub skin against skin while using warm water and soap followed by thorough rinsing and drying to get rid of most potentially harmful germs.

While germs are often transferred to others through household objects, telephones, doorknobs, toothbrushes, and faucet handles the biggest transportation center for germs is your hands. That's why frequent hand washing gets rid of the illness-causing germs and helps to prevent the spread of some diseases especially if a family member, friend, or classmate has a cold virus.

What to Do if You Have a Cold
Colds are contagious during the first three days, so stay home and rest up. Because this is a viral infection, antibiotics are not effective in treating a cold. However, over-the-counter medications (antihistamines, decongestants, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines) can relieve congestion, aches, and other symptoms. Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.

Symptoms
If you have a cold, you’ll probably experience symptoms such as:
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Sneezing
  • Slight fever (more common in children)
  • Cough
  • Headache, body aches or mild tiredness
What causes flu?
Influenza flu is another respiratory illness. Unlike the common cold, this flu can develop into a more serious condition such as pneumonia. This is especially true for young children, older adults, pregnant women, and people with health conditions such as asthma or heart disease.
Unlike the cold, which can hit at any time of year, the flu is generally seasonal. Flu season usually runs from fall to spring, peaking during the winter months. During flu season, you can catch the flu in the same way you would pick up a cold by coming into contact with droplets spread by an infected person.

Flu Prevention
The best way to prevent the flu is by getting the flu shot. Most doctors recommend getting the shot in September, at the very start of flu season. However, you can still get the vaccine in late fall or winter.
To avoid picking up the influenza virus, wash your hands often and thoroughly with warm soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your nose, eyes, and mouth, and try to stay away from anyone who has the flu.

What to Do if You Have the Flu
In most cases, fluids and rest are the best way to treat the flu. To control your symptoms and feel better, try over-the-counter decongestants and pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen. However, never give aspirin to children. It can increase the risk of a rare but serious condition called Reye’s syndrome. Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.
Your doctor can prescribe antiviral drugs—oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza)—to treat the flu. These drugs can shorten the duration of the flu, and prevent complications such as pneumonia, but you need to take them within the first couple of days of getting sick.

Symptoms
Flu symptoms can be similar to those of a cold, although they’re usually more severe. Symptoms can include:
  • dry, hacking cough
  • fever or chills (although not everyone with the flu will run a fever)
  • sore throat
  • muscle or body aches, headache
  • stuffy and runny nose
  • profound fatigue (may last two to three weeks) 









Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Fruits & Veggies

Hello EIU students, we all know that consuming fruits and vegetables should be an essential part in everyone’s diet. Below is a list containing information regarding the top ten reasons to eat more fruits and vegetables.

Why should we eat more Fruits and Veggies?

  1. Essential source of vitamins and minerals that help you feel healthy and energized!
  2. May reduce risk of disease (heart disease, high blood pressure, and cancers).
  3. Low in calories!
  4. Fruits and veggies are nutritious and delicious.
  5. They are fun to eat! Crunchy and juicy and you can even grow it in your own backyard.
  6. Quick and natural snack!
  7. Variety of fruits and veggies to try something new!
  8. High in fiber which helps fill you up.
  9. Fruits and veggies are convenient and easy to use and prepare for any meal!
  10. Fruits and veggies add color, texture, and appeal to any meal!
This list provides information on the value of consuming fruits and veggies, but people need to also remember that fruits and veggies can be a great source for the following nutrients: calcium, fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium, vitamin A, vitamin C. These nutrients are needed for all humans to function on a day to day basis, not to mention that each specific nutrient has different vitamins and minerals that benefit different parts of our bodies.
For instance, calcium is essential for healthy bones and teeth and is also needed for basic functioning of muscles, nerves, and glands. Fiber can decreased the risk of coronary heart disease. 

Folate is another nutrient that can reduce various risks for women who are pregnant. Folate can decrease the risk of her child to develop brain and spinal cord. Iron is an essential nutrient for healthy blood and normal functioning of all cells. Along with calcium, magnesium is necessary for healthy bones and functions with more than 300 enzymes within your body, without magnesium your body can result in cramps and high blood pressure, also potassium may help maintain a healthy blood pressure.  Also, regarding blood pressure other nutrients found in fruits and veggies are sodium which is needed for normal cell function; however sodium intake needs to be moderated. Lastly, vitamin A keeps eyes and skin healthy to protect against infections, vitamin C helps heals wounds and cuts and keeps teeth and gums healthy. All these nutrients are essential for body function.

Great tasting fruits and vegetables begin with proper storage at home. Remember to use what is oldest first and continually rotate your stock to ensure freshness and reduce waste. Below is a list to follow regarding proper storage of fruits and veggies at home.


Fresh:


  • Use within a couple of days
  • Some can be left at room temperature to ripen

Frozen:


  • Store at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or less
  • Use before the “use by” date on the package
  • As a rule, use within 6 months

Canned:


  • Check the “use by” date on the can
  • Most canned goods have a shelf life of about 2 years
  • Store at room temperature about 75 degrees Fahrenheit

Dried:


  • Store in a cool, dark place (warmth makes the food spoil faster)
  • Some dried foods may be refrigerated –check the package
  • Most will last for four months

Using the first in first out rule, for example consuming the foods that were stored in the refrigerator first will benefit you and your finances immensely. As we all know eating fruits and veggies will help you live a healthy lifestyle.  We need to remember to eat more fruits and veggies which are dependent on the amount of vegetables you need to eat depend on your age, sex, and level of physical activity. Filling up half your plate with fruits and veggies will not only make you full but will provide you with the proper nutrients and vitamins needed for daily function. For more information please visit the HERC or contact herc-nutritioned@eiu.edu for nutritional analysis appointments!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Sleep Myths

“How did you sleep?” We’ve probably all been asked this question, perhaps even inquired about sleep to our peers.  While this question may simply be habitual, there is a great deal of importance in questioning whether or not you are getting the best nights rest possible.  One way of maintaining a healthy sleep schedule is to address and refute common sleep myths. The National Sleep Foundation has addressed 10 of the most common sleep myths; below we’ve listed some of our favorites.  The full list of myths and further information on sleep can be accessed on the National Sleep Foundation website.


1. You can "cheat" on the amount of sleep you get.

Sleep experts say most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night for optimum performance, health and safety. When we don't get adequate sleep, we accumulate a sleep debt that can be difficult to "pay back" if it becomes too big. The resulting sleep deprivation has been linked to health problems such as obesity and high blood pressure, negative mood and behavior, decreased productivity, and safety issues in the home, on the job, and on the road.

2. Turning up the radio, opening the window, or turning on the air conditioner are effective ways to stay awake when driving.

These "aids" are ineffective and can be dangerous to the person who is driving while feeling drowsy or sleepy. If you're feeling tired while driving, the best thing to do is to pull off the road in a safe rest area and take a nap for 15-45 minutes. Caffeinated beverages can help overcome drowsiness for a short period of time. However, it takes about 30 minutes before the effects are felt. The best prevention for drowsy driving is a good night’s sleep the night before your trip.

3. College students who fall asleep in class have bad habits and/or are lazy.

According to sleep experts, teens need at least 8.5 – 9.25 hours of sleep each night, compared to an average of seven to nine hours each night for most adults. Their internal biological clocks also keep them awake later in the evening and keep them sleeping later in the morning. However, many schools begin classes early in the morning, when a teenager's body wants to be asleep. As a result, many teens come to school too sleepy to learn, through no fault of their own.

4. Insomnia is characterized by difficulty falling asleep.

Difficulty falling asleep is but one of four symptoms generally associated with insomnia. The others include waking up too early and not being able to fall back asleep, frequent awakenings, and waking up feeling unrefreshed. Insomnia can be a symptom of a sleep disorder or other medical or psychological/psychiatric problem, and can often be treated. According to the National Sleep Foundation's 2002 Sleep in America poll, 58 percent of adults in this country reported at least one symptom of insomnia in the past year. When insomnia symptoms occur more than a few times a week and impact a person’s daytime functions, the symptoms should be discussed with a doctor or other health care provider.


5. Daytime sleepiness always means a person isn't getting enough sleep.

Excessive daytime sleepiness is a condition in which an individual feels very drowsy during the day and has an urge to fall asleep when he/she should be fully alert and awake. The condition, which can occur even after getting enough nighttime sleep, can be a sign of an underlying medical condition or sleep disorder such as narcolepsy or sleep apnea. These problems can often be treated, and symptoms should be discussed with a physician. Daytime sleepiness can be dangerous and puts a person at risk for drowsy driving, injury, and illness and can impair mental abilities, emotions, and performance.

6. Health problems such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and depression are unrelated to the amount and quality of a person's sleep.

Studies have found a relationship between the quantity and quality of one's sleep and many health problems. For example, insufficient sleep affects growth hormone secretion that is linked to obesity; as the amount of hormone secretion decreases, the chance for weight gain increases. Blood pressure usually falls during the sleep cycle, however, interrupted sleep can adversely affect this normal decline, leading to hypertension and cardiovascular problems. Research has also shown that insufficient sleep impairs the body's ability to use insulin, which can lead to the onset of diabetes. More and more scientific studies are showing correlations between poor and insufficient sleep and disease.

"Myths - and Facts - About Sleep." Myths and Facts about Sleep. National Sleep Foundation, 2013. Web. 01 Apr. 2014.


Searching the internet for sleep myths isn’t your only sleep resource. EIU’s Health Education Resource Center sleep page offers information on healthy sleep! For more information on scheduling a one-on-one or presentation, call the HERC at 217-581-7786 or contact the Community Organizing & Leadership Coordinator, Kasey Evans, at herc-peered@eiu.edu

Monday, April 7, 2014

Peer Education

Greetings Eastern Illinois University students!
We all know that getting involved on campus is a great way to enhance your leadership skills, build your resume, and have fun! EIU Peer Health Educators is a great opportunity for you to do just that!
The peer education program provides an opportunity for students to promote positive life style choices among fellow EIU students in addition to gaining and developing professional skills. 
Peer Educator
A peer educator is a student who raises awareness, facilitates the learning of knowledge, and change in behavior as it pertains to health.  Peer educators often work with individuals, small groups, or larger communities using a variety of instructional methods to share health information.

Benefits of becoming a peer educator 
Well, as mentioned previously, becoming a peer educator is a great way to enhance your leadership skills, build your resume, and have some fun!  In addition, benefits of becoming a peer educator include: being happier and healthier, becoming peer education certified through the national BACCHUS Network, gain team building experience, and being able to influence your peers, possibly saving lives. 
What is a peer educator?
Many people ask, “What is a peer educator?”  However, it might be easier to tell you what a peer educator is not.
A peer educator is not a counselor or therapist.  A peer educator is trained to provide factual information to other students on campus.  Although peer educators are good listeners, becoming a therapist or a counselor requires much more training. 

After peer educators have finished their training they will facilitate relaxed, informative, and interactive programs on a variety of health-related topics ranging from healthy sexual choices to alcohol and drug abuse prevention. Programs may be presented to residence halls, fraternities, sororities, interested student organizations, organizations within the community and academic classes.  Presentations are either requested through the HERC or the peer educator can solicit on his/her own.

Peer educators are highly encouraged to assist with the promotion and implementation of special events and services sponsored by the HERC.  These awareness events include:
  • HIV/AIDS- Safer Sex Awareness Campaign
  • Safer Spring Break Campaign
  • Annual Health Fair
So, what exactly do peer educators do?
  1. Provide knowledge and tools to encourage responsible decisions on wellness.
  2. Promote “drinking responsibly.”
  3. Create awareness about the dangers involved with irresponsible drinking.
  4. Instruct on methods regarding sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies.
  5. Organize and implement educational events.
  6. Develop and design passive health education through bulletin boards, brochures, and web pages.
  7. Reduce high-risk drinking.
  8. Supply hands-on, interactive demonstrations on the effects of intoxication, condom usage, and other risk management issues.
  9. Educate on the legal and social consequences of drinking.
  10. Conduct research for health programs utilizing the latest technology available.
Interested in becoming a Peer Health Educator?
Contact us!
Health Education Resource Center
Phone: 217.581.7786
Email: Kasey Evans, herc-peered@eiu.edu
Or visit us online
Forms
Staff/faculty or students can nominate someone to become a Peer Health Educator.  The nomination forms are found on our HERC-Peer Education website.  Click here to access the nomination form.
Apply to be a peer educator today!
Start your journey by filling out our application form! The form is also found on the HERC-Peer Education website; click here to access the application form.

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Hello EIU students! As the sun is shining and the ice is melting, you might think you’ve made it through the cold and flu season. This is partially true. Although, cold and flu season is coming to an end, you are still susceptible to contracting a cold or flu.

As a college student, you are even more likely to catch the flu! College students live in close quarters with their roommates, share bathrooms, and participate in social activities that make them more prone to catching the flu.  A hangover and dehydration may also weaken your immune system making you even more susceptible.

EIU Medical Clinic offers FREE flu shots for all EIU students. These shots are available at the EIU Health Service while supplies last. For more information, please call 581-2727. Keep in mind that it is never too late to get a flu shot this year!

To brighten up your day, we comprised a list of tips to keep you cold and flu-free.

Tips

1. Be stress-free


Studies show that stress decreases your immune system, so being stress-free will keep your immune system strong and healthy. A big part of being stress-free is time management. If you manage your time, you can build in what you want to do for fun; rather its sitting in the massage chairs or meditating, be sure to enjoy yourself during the semester.

2. Eat right


Having a healthy diet will provide your body with nutrients necessary for your immune system to remain strong. Don’t know what to cook? Come out to The HERC’s Healthy Cooking 101, a multi-week program that shows participants how to prepare healthy meals and snacks on a budget. This is perfect for any student on a college budget.

3. Wash your hands


Colds are viral, which means it is everywhere! Properly washing your hands for at least 20 sec will decrease your chances of contracting a cold or flu significantly.


 
4. Get plenty of rest


As college students, it can get hectic with balancing school, work, activities, and relationships. Often times, something has to give, and it is usually sleep. This however, is not the answer because the less sleep we get the weaker our immune system becomes, making us susceptible to the cold or flu. You should get 8 hours of sleep each night, on a continuum schedule, in a distraction-free environment.

Distractions include:

  • TVs
  • Music
  • Light
  • Cellular phones
  • Noise

Naps are good too, but only when necessary. A nap should not exceed 30 minutes.

Fun Fact: When you receive 8 hours of sleep on a continual schedule each day, you won’t need an alarm clock or caffeine!




 
5. Exercise regularly


Frequent exercise improves your immune system, thus helping your body protect you from illnesses including the common cold. As a student, you have free access to EIU’s Student Recreation Center. There are plenty of workout classes and equipment available to you. Please feel free to visit The SRC today.


 
6. Drink more water 
        
In the fall and winter, it is easy to overlook your thirst and get dehydrated. Make sure you consume 8 glasses a day.




 
7. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth




Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.


      





8.Clean and disinfect your "shared spaces" more often than other times of the year






Remember phones, keyboards, steering wheels, office equipment, and other items used by several people during the day.





Contact Us!

Health Education Resource Center

Phone: (217) 581-7786

Email: herc@eiu.edu

 

Visit sites for more information: