Student Health Blog

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Why should college students worry about their health?

College life is all about freedom, excitement and meeting new people. Many people consider college to be the time of your life. What many students fail to realize, however, is that health is a major part of your college experience.

Think about it: if you were to get sick and miss a portion of your semester, you’d be missing out on a lot. You’d miss class, time with friends and opportunities to stay involved in campus groups. You don’t have to think about a serious illness for this same scenario to play out. If you aren’t paying attention to your mental and physical health, you’re missing out on things. You may have low energy, get colds often or feel extremely stressed. These factors keep you from fully enjoying the college experience.

So, college students can’t forget to prioritize their health. Maintaining your mental and physical health not only helps you have the best experience possible — it also creates lifelong habits. If you want to feel young and vibrant for years to come, you have to think about your health now. Making healthy decisions now sets the path for healthy decisions as you age!

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Get Ready for a Healthy Year At School

Life in college can be overwhelming. One year at school is full of classes, parties, meetings, group projects, exams and all kinds of new experiences. Basically, your time at school is packed full of plans and events.

Busy schedules can get us in trouble. Specifically, busy lifestyles can harm our health and fitness. If you don’t manage the added stress, you might notice some changes in your health. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you prep for your next school year.

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Vaccines and Testing: Why You Need Both

We normally think that vaccines are for kids. This is true; Kids must go in for immunizations regularly. However, there are important vaccines for people of all ages.

College students, you are no exception! As you age, your immunity to certan diseases wears off. You also are at risk for different diseases.

When you’re thinking about preventing diseases with vaccines, you should also be thinking about your current health. How is your thyroid functioning? Do you have any undetected STDs? Are you allergic to anything? Now is the time to check.

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Studying Abroad- Health Concerns

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Summer has arrived! You’ve got three months of glorious sunshine and no classes ahead of you. Well, most of you don’t have to worry about studying. For the rest, summer classes are approaching fast. For the most lucky group, you’re packing your bags and preparing to set off to a foreign country.

Studying abroad is one of the greatest opportunities you’ll have in college. If you’re setting off on a study abroad adventure this summer, you’ll want to be completely ready.

Before you step into the unknown, make sure you are physically and mentally ready. Your health probably isn’t your first concern while you plan your trip, but it should be on your mind.

Think about these health related issues before you leave so you won’t have to panic if a medical issue arises while you’re abroad:

1. Wellness

You may not have convenient access to doctors or pharmacies in your destination. Visit your physician for a general checkup before you leave. You never know how the traveling conditions will affect your physical and mental health, so it’s a good idea to discuss possible challenges with your doctor.

If you take prescription medicine, you’ll need to talk to your doctor about the chances of getting that medicine while you’re abroad or if you are even allowed to take that medicine with you. You may need to bring extra doses of over the counter medicine, since other countries don’t always have the same medicines available.

2. Immunizations

Your study abroad program will give you information about immunizations and health records that you need. The CDC traveler’s site has a complete and accurate list so you know you are fully prepared to travel. You’re responsible for having current immunizations. If you’re not sure, a blood test is a convenient way to check on your immunizations. Some countries require HIV tests before travel.

3. Health Insurance

We hope you don’t break a leg or come down with the flu while you’re studying abroad, but we know it happens occasionally! You need special overseas medical insurance to protect yourself from health issues. Your program or school should provide you information about affordable plans that you’ll get before you leave and discontinue when you’re back.

Get Ready for the Time of Your Life!

You have so many details to plan before you hop on the plane, but your health is important. Focusing on your health will help you have an awesome experience- when you don’t have to worry about health and safety issues, you can focus on learning and exploring your new environment!

Planning to study abroad and need to be tested?

Call ARCpoint Labs in Lawrence today.


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How to prevent an STD

Listen up all – this is important news. Students, we especially need your attention.

There are many forms of birth control out there – for both guys and girls. Between over-the-counter products and doctor-prescribed devices and surgeries, options range from:

  • condoms (male & female)
  • diaphragms
  • sponges
  • caps
  • shots
  • pills
  • IUDs
  • patches
  • gels
  • and we know there are probably even more.

However NOT all of these will prevent STDs. In fact, very FEW of these will prevent STDs. Actually – all but ONE of them will prevent STDs.

Birth control & preventing STDS

birth-control-prevents-stds

Don’t assume your birth control methods will prevent STDs.

Out of that LONG list of birth control options, the male latex condom is the only recommended way to prevent an STD. All others will only reduce the chances of becoming pregnant… but not transmitting HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis or any other common STD. Most forms of birth control have to do with regulating the hormones and preventing ovulation, fertilization or insemination. However STD prevention doesn’t exactly work the same way as the reproductive process.

Preventing an STD

So how do you prevent an STD? This might be repeat from sex ed class, but it’s worth mentioning again. Here are some tried and true ways to prevent and STD:

  1. Abstinence. The only 100% way to prevent an STD (or pregnancy for that matter.)
  2. Monogamous relationships. Only sleep with one person. Know FOR SURE that one person does not have an STD.
  3. Condom use. While this isn’t 100% effective, it’s a pretty decent way of preventing the spread of an STD.
  4. Dental dams. This is one method some individuals are using to prevent STDs from oral transmission.
  5. Did we mention abstinence?

Treating an STD

Bottom line – do what you can to prevent an STD. They’re pretty common these days, so don’t be lazy and be on guard. And even if you take the steps to prevent them and still come down with one, there are ways to treat most of them … or at least slow down their transmission rate. Get an STD test to first determine if you have one. You’ll then be able to seek the right treatment on how to treat and prevent. But whatever you do, don’t assume that your birth control pills will prevent you from getting an STD. That couldn’t be further from the truth.


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College Students: Stay Safe this Summer

Summer is finally upon us! Many around the KU campus are packing up and heading home, resting up after a long semester and grueling week of finals. While some choose to stay around Lawrence and take summer classes, many of you are heading home for summer jobs and internships.

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College students, be careful this summer.

While you may take a break from school and classes over summer, you typically don’t take a break from one another. Guys and gals will be hanging out this summer. And the outcome? Let’s just say embarrassing Facebook posts and funny stories told to your future kids won’t be unlikely. While “living it up” during the last few college years seems like a blast, make sure you play it safe in a few important areas:

Practice Safe Sex or Abstinence

We’ve blogged about STDs before and how they’re not just a teenage problem. One in four on a college campus has an STD, so be careful if you’re in a relationship this summer that gets sexually active. Your birth control pills may prevent pregnancy but they won’t prevent you getting an STD. Usually condoms can prevent their exchange. If you’ve been with someone with an STD or suspect you might have one, get an STD test.

Don’t Drink Too Much

Actually, if you’re 21, avoid drinking all together. And if you’re over 21, watch your alcohol consumption. Not only because the people you hope to hire you in a few years will be checking your Facebook for those crazy pictures, but also your future job may require mandated alcohol testing. Don’t pick up bad habits now, stay focused on school, and if you’re of age to drink, drink in moderation.

Stay Away from Weed

A study was just released saying teenagers are starting to see marijuana usage as “normal,” and that more have “tried” marijuana over cigarettes. Statistically, 1 in 10 teens smokes weed. You’re a teenager when you enter college, and it’s likely that your teenage habits continue as you get into your 20s. And if you’re not the 1 out of 10, it’s likely that it relates to one of your friends. While you may think smoking weed is no big deal, it’s actually a really big deal. Accident and injury can come from this recreational habit. It can fog your memory and make you fail a drug test. And there is some truth to that whole “gateway drug” thing.

While there’s a whole slew of other risks to watch out for this summer, these are the ones we urge college students to consider this summer. We see a lot at our Lawrence, KS walk-in lab. And even if we don’t see you this summer while you’re on break, know that we’re still thinking about you and hope you’re playing it safe.


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Safety Tips for KU Spring Break

Spring break starts next week for college students at the University of Kansas. From sandy beaches to the comfort of “home sweet home” students are packing their bags and getting a much-needed break from classes. Whatever you are doing for spring break, just remember that there are simple things you can do to keep yourself safe while still having fun.

This spring break remember that safety and fun can go together!

The Buddy System

It doesn’t matter how “grown up” you are now, as a good rule of thumb, anytime you go out and plan to drink, you should always take a friend, especially if you are a woman. Having a sidekick with you makes you less of a target for someone who may have ill intentions. If you are leaving the country, this piece of advice is vital.

Watch your Drink

Now more than ever drugs are being slipped into drinks even while they are being held. Just a quick distraction or even setting the drink down for a moment could be dangerous.

In contrast to popular belief, men are just as susceptible to drugs being slipped into their drink as women. Drugs that are slipped into a person’s drink come in a variety of forms, but most are used with the intent of making the person black out.

Synthetic Drugs

There now are mixtures of legal herbs on the market that mimic real drugs such as marijuana. These synthetic drugs, such as K2 Spice, can actually be very harmful and dangerous.

If you are on spring break and someone offers you a synthetic drug, be aware that while it may be legal, the side effects could be incredibly dangerous. Especially if you are out of the United States it would not be wise to try a synthetic drug.

Safety in Bed

Unfortunately young people, ages 15-24, have a higher risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease than any other age group. With a statistic so high, taking the right steps towards sexual safety is imperative.

Get Tested

Let’s face it, no one hopes or even expects to be one of the statistics. But, if you have been sexually active in the past you should get tested for having a sexually transmitted disease. You will never know if you are putting another person at risk until you get yourself tested.

Ask your Partner

Regardless of how long you have known a person, you should always ask them if they have gotten tested. Sure, they may give you their sexual history upfront, but if they haven’t gotten tested, you won’t fully know your potential risks.

During spring break, the chance of being promiscuous with someone you barely know is higher. Even in these circumstances asking the hard questions is key. The choice between a one night stand and having a disease for the rest of your life should be an easy one.

As you begin to pack your bags and say hello to sunny shores, remember that the choices you make now could affect your future down the road. Be safe and make wise choices this spring break!