Post By: COYD Staff
Yesterday we gave 15 tips on how a student can avoid being a victim of campus crime. While physical safety is important, health safety is just as an important topic to discuss. Additionally, more students are victims of health problems than campus crime each year. The top health problems on college campuses are sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), eating disorders, mental health, substance abuse, and repetitive strain injuries (RSI). Below is more information about these serious health problems and how a student can avoid them.
1. STDs – Sexually Transmitted Diseases
According to a study performed by the Center for Disease Control, it is estimated that one in four college students will contract an STD during their college career. Other studies have shown that only 50 percent of students regularly use condoms during vaginal intercourse, 30 percent during anal intercourse and only 5 percent during oral sex. Risky behavior, lots of sexual activity and large amounts of alcohol intake have contributed to this STD ”pandemic.” STDs are not something to take lately. They have serious side effects including sterility, brain damage, heart disease, birth defects, increased risk of some types of cancer and even death.
How can you avoid STDs and/or protect yourself from STDs side effects?
- Monogamous relationships
- Be smart about sex.
- Use latex condoms.
- Have regular physical exams.
2. Eating disorders
Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating are the most common eating disorders. These disorders usually develop during adolescence; however, they can also develop during childhood and in adulthood. Those who develop eating disorders in college are usually using food to feel in control of other feelings that may seem overwhelming. Eating disorders are usually related to stress and emotional disorders like anxiety and depression.
The dangers and effects of an eating disorder are severe and sometimes can result in death. If you or any of your friends are showing symptoms of an eating disorder, get help. Visit the campus health facility or talk to your RA.
3. Mental Health: Stress, Depression
The college transition can be too much for some students. Stress, anxiety and depression are common mental health problems that many students face during their college career.
How can you prevent these mental health problems?
- Develop a support group.
- Identify what is causing the stress and create steps that can alter your situation so you can alleviate the stress.
- Accept things you can’t change.
- Incorporate healthy habits: get a good night’s sleep, eat healthy, avoid cigarettes and drugs.
- Make time for fun, not just work.
- If your health problems are chronic, visit the health center and discuss your concerns with a health professional.
4. Substance Use: Alcohol, Drugs
I think all of you know what the detrimental effects are of binge drinking and drugs. If you don’t, educate yourself on the potential effects. The best way to avoid these effects are plain and simple: just say No.
5. Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
RSI and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome produce a series of symptoms from mild to extreme. These symptoms include numbness, burning sensation in the thumb and fingers, tingling and sometimes loss of grip strength in the hands.
How can I prevent RSI or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
- Set up an ergonomic work space when you are doing your homework or writing a paper.
- Use a wrist pad with your keyboard and mouse.
- Break up repetitive tasks throughout the day.
- Regularly exercise.