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Self Help Information

 
Listed below is information found in the brochures available at Student Health Service
Each title is linked to the PDF file, for easy printing
 

Contraceptive Information

These different methods are available at SHS

STI Information

Urinary Concerns Information

Mental Health Information

General Health Information

 

Birth Control Pill Information Up-arrow


Birth control pills provide an effective method of contraception if taken consistently as instructed. They do not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
 

When do I start my first pack of pills?

Sunday Start
1.Take the first pill in your pack on the Sunday following the first day of your period (your period may be over or you may be still bleeding).
2.Abstain or use a back-up method of birth control (such as condoms) until you've been on the pill for 7 days.
 
First Day Start
1.Take the first pill in your pack on the day your period begins.
2.A back-up method is not needed.
 
Quick Start
1.Take the first pill in your pack on the day of your clinic visit OR when recommended by your health care provider, as long as you are not pregnant.
2.Abstain or use a back-up method of birth control (such as condoms) until you've been on the pill for 7 days.
 

What to do During the Month

  • Pills are most effective if taken at the same time everyday in order to keep a steady level of hormone in your system. If pills are taken at varied times of the day, bleeding or spotting between periods is also possible.
  • Always following the package sequence exactly, even if you have some bleeding between periods or don't have sex often.
  • You can expect your period each month sometime during the time you are taking your "inactive" pills. You are protected from pregnancy during the 7 "inactive" pills as long as you start the next pack of pills on time.

Pills and Your Period

  • Women taking birth control pills get withdrawalbleeding or break through bleeding they do not get periods. A period is the bleeding that women get 2 weeks afterovulation. Women who take birth control pills consistently do not ovulate, therefore they do not get periods. We call the bleeding while on birth control pills a period but that is not an accurate description.
  • Breakthrough Bleeding (BTB) occurs while you are taking the hormone pills.This is a common side effect when starting birth control pills or if you miss some pills.The bleeding can be just brown spotting or like a normal "period". If you experience BTB continue to take the pills as directed.Spotting or BTB that occurs after the first 3 cycles of pill use may be normal but could be a sign of a more serious problem.Call the clinic if you have concerns about your bleeding pattern.
  • Withdrawal bleeding occurs when you stop taking the hormone pills or during your time on the inactive pills or "fake pills".Some times this bleeding continues into your next pack of pills.
  • Women on birth control pills do not need to get regular (periods) withdrawal bleeds.There are many new ways of taking birth control pills that alter bleeding patterns or eliminate withdrawal bleeding.

Missed Periods

  • While on birth control pills many women find that their withdrawal bleed ("period") is lighter and shorter. Some women do not get a withdrawal bleed.
  • No Missed pills; If you have taken you pills consistently and miss a period, you are probably not pregnant. Start your next pack on time, and you may do a pregnancy test and/or call Student Health Service.
  • If you have missed pills and then missed your period always start you next pack on time on time and then call Student Health Service and/or do a home pregnancy test. 

Missed Pills

  • If you miss hormone containing pills you could become pregnant or experience BTB.The more pills you miss the more likely you are to ovulate. If you are taking pills in the traditional 28 pill pack the worst pills to miss are in the beginning of the first week and at the end of the third week.
  • Remember the seven day rule: Once you have been on the hormone pills for seven days ovulation is prevented. Once you have been off the hormone pills(active pills) for more than seven days your body may be ready to ovulate and a back up method is needed to prevent pregnancy.
  • If you miss one pill take it as soon as you remember or take two the next day at your regular time.
  • If you miss two pills, take two one day and two the next day so you are caught up to where you should be. You may need a back up method, remember the seven day rule.
  • If you miss three pills, stop taking this pack and start a new pack of pills on Sunday or your next start day. Use a back up method until you have been back on the hormone pills for seven days.
  • Missed pills can cause spotting or breakthrough bleeding, even if you make up the missed pills. Taking more than one birth control pill at a time can cause nausea.
  • If you miss any pills you may wish to consider using emergency contraception (ECP) or Plan B. ECP is available at Student Health Service or without a prescription at most pharmacies if you are 18 or older.
  • You do not need to make up any missed inactive pills. If you take your pills consistently you are "protected" from pregnancy during the time you are taking the inactive pills.
 

Depo Provera: Birth Control Shot Up-arrow

 
 
What Is the Birth Control Shot? How does it work?
Often called Depo Provera, this birth control method is given by injection every 12 weeks. The shot contains medroxyprogesterone which is like the hormone progesterone made by your ovaries. It works by preventing ovulation &by thickening the cervical mucus, making it hard for sperm to get through to fertilize an egg.


Of every 1000 women who get their shot on time, only 3 will get pregnant over a year's time.

How often do I need to get the Shot? What if I am late getting the Shot?

An injection is given every 12 weeks.

  • If you are two or more weeks late getting your shot, use another form of birth control [condoms] until you receive your shot - and then for the next 7 days –the time it takes to re-establish contraceptive benefit.
  • When late, you may be required to take a pregnancy test. If you had intercourse in the previous 5 days you may also be advised to use an emergency contraceptive.

What are the drawbacks to the Shot?

Irregular bleeding is the most common side effect. During the first year, periods are usually irregular & spotty bleeding between periods may occur. Sometimes women may notice heavier or longer periods but this rarely causes serious medical problems.

Over time, most women have periods less often &many stop having periods altogether –this is not harmful or permanent. Periods will return after Depo shots are stopped, but it can take several months for your cycle to return to normal.

Decreased bone density has been associated with Depo Provera. It is typically temporary and reversible when the shots are stopped.

To help promote bone health, women using Depo Provera are advised to get regular weight-bearing exercise, consume the recommended daily amount of calcium &vitamin D for age, avoid smoking, and limit alcohol use. Dairy products and dark green leafy vegetables are foods high in calcium, as are tofu, fortified juice &grains. If calcium and vitamin D intake are poor, supplements might be advised.

Less common side effects include:
  • headache
  • breast tenderness
  • weight gain/change in appetite
  • change in sex drive
  • irritability or depression
  • hair loss or increase on body
Talk with your healthcare provider about any side effects.
 
What serious side effects are possible when using Depo Provera?
Notify your healthcare provider if you experience any of the following:
  • unusually heavy or prolonged vaginal bleeding
  • severe headaches
  • depression
  • chest pain or trouble breathing
  • stomach pain 
Other considerations when using Depo Provera?
  • Because this is a long acting reversible birth control method, women who wish to become pregnant need to recognize that it may take 9-10 months after stopping the shots for this to happen.
  • There are minimal drug interactions with Depo Provera. Tell your healthcare provider if any medications are used.
Remember
Use of Depo Provera does not protect you against sexually transmitted infections. Condoms are advised for sexually transmitted infection [STI] protection when using Depo Provera.
 

Is Depo Provera a good choice for me?
This birth control method provides long-lasting pregnancy protection. Each shot provides pregnancy protection for 3 months. It does not require remembering to take a daily pill or the motivation to use a method at the time of intimacy.
 
Depo Provera does not contain estrogen –a good choice for women who can't use estrogen containing products, such as birth control pills.
 
How safe is Depo Provera?
Most women can use Depo Provera safely. You should not use this method if you:
  • are pregnant
  • have breast cancer
You may be advised not to use the shot if you have heart disease, stroke, liver disease, unusual/irregular vaginal bleeding, want to become pregnant in the near future, are at high risk for bone loss, or are taking the medication aminoglutethimide.
 
When can I start Depo Provera shots?
Depo Provera can be started at any time, as long as it is known a woman is not pregnant. If given within 7 days after beginning a period, the contraceptive effect is immediate. If started at any other time in your cycle, condoms must be used for back-up protection for 7 days - the time it takes for contraceptive benefit to get established.

 

Emergency Contraception Up-arrow

 

The "morning after pill:" an emergency contraceptive method. Pregnancy can be most commonly prevented by practicing abstinence or using some form of contraception. Sometimes, though, these methods fail or unexpected situations occur. The "morning after pill" is a viable form of emergency contraception available at Student Health Service.

Who is it for?
 
If you have:
  • had unprotected or unplanned intercourse
  • had a condom break or fail
  • missed or forgotten a birth control pill
  • had your diaphragm or cervical cap dislodge or fail
  • been the victim of a sexual assault
What is it?

Emergency contraception (EC) has been available for many years and is now FDA approved for preventing pregnancy after unprotected intercourse. It involves taking two pills in a single dose. EC is NOT a regular form of birth control, it is only used as a last chance to prevent pregnancy. It is felt to be effective in reducing the risk of pregnancy by 89% if taken soon after intercourse.

How does it work?

Emergency contraception is thought to work by preventing ovulation, preventing fertilization of the egg, or disrupting implantation of the fertilized egg in the uterus. It is does NOT interrupt an already established pregnancy. It is very important to continue to use a birth control method if you have intercourse again after using emergency contraception.

What are the side effects and possible risks of MAP?

Serious side effects of Emergency Contraception are very rare. Some women may experience nausea and occasionally vomiting. If a woman who is already pregnant uses EC there are no known risks to the developing fetus. Most women will get their period within 7 - 21 days after EC. Some women may have some light spotting during this time. If you do not get your normal period within 3 weeks of using EC, then you should be seen for an exam and a pregnancy test.

What do I do if I think I may need emergency contraception?

Call Student Health Service at 715-836-5360 for more information or questions. If you might be a candidate for EC don't wait. EC is most effective within 72 hours of intercourse.

You may also visit Not-2-Late.

Chlamydia- Questions & Answers Up-arrow

 

What is Chlamydia?
Chlamydia is a common and curable infection caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis. The bacteria target the cells of the mucous membranes, which are the soft, moist tissues of the body not covered by skin. Examples of areas that could be infected with this bacteria include:

  • the surfaces of the urethra, vagina, cervix and uterus
  • he fallopian tubes
  • the anus and rectum
  • the lining of the eyelid
  • and less commonly, the throat

How common is it?
In the United States, chlamydia is the most common bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI), particularly among sexually active adolescents and young adults. In 2002, there were 834,555 cases of chlamydia reported to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). However, it is estimated that almost 3 million cases actually occurred and as many as one in 10 adolescent females test positive for chlamydia.

Symptoms
It is important to understand that focusing on signs and symptoms is not very useful in determining if someone is infected with chlamydia. Approximately, 75% of women and 50% of men do not experience symptoms. So, most people who are infected with this bacteria will not be able to tell it from symptoms. If a person does have symptoms, they usually develop within 1 - 3 weeks after exposure to chlamydia. How long a person remains infectious (able to transmit the bacteria to others) is difficult to determine since so many people are asymptomatic. A person must be considered infectious from the time they become infected until treatment is completed.

Women
Most women do not experience any symptoms, but if symptoms are present they may be minor, such as:
  • Vaginal discharge, or burning sensation during urination.
If the infection spreads to the fallopian tubes, women may experience:
  • Lower abdominal and lower back pain, pain during intercourse, bleeding between menstrual periods, or nausea or fever.

Men may be asymptomatic or have minor symptoms that may include one or more of the following:

  • Pus (thick yellow-white fluid) or watery or milky discharge from the penis
  • Pain or burning during urination
  • Pain or swelling of the testicle

        Both men and women can experience proctitis (inflamed rectum), urethritis (inflamed
    urethra) and conjunctivitis (inflamed eyelid). The most common complications in newborns include
    conjunctivitis (pink eye) and pneumonia.

How is it transmitted?
Chlamydia, like other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), is passed from an infected person to a partner through certain sexual activities.

  • Chlamydia is passed primarily during anal or vaginal sex. It is less likely to be transmitted through oral sex.
    • It can be passed when the mucous membrane, the soft skin covering all the openings of the body, comes into contact with the mucous membrane secretions or semen of an infected person. This is what happens during unprotected sex (that is sex without a condom) whether vaginal or anal sex.
  • Oral sex is not a common cause of infection with this bacteria.
    • Eye infections may result when discharge carries the disease into the eye during sex or hand-to-eye contact.
  • Chlamydia is not passed through things like shaking hands or toilet seats.
  • It can also be passed from mother to newborn as the baby passes through the infected birth canal.
    • This can result in eye infections, pneumonia or other complications.
  • In children, chlamydia may be a possible sign of sexual abuse.
What does it mean for my health?
If untreated, chlamydia can cause complications in men, women and infants.

Untreated chlamydia infections in women may lead to:
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), a serious infection of a woman's reproductive organs, that left untreated, can cause infertility.
  • Cystitis (inflammation of the urinary bladder)
  • A condition called mucopurulent cervicitis, characterized by a yellow discharge from the cervix
Untreated chlamydia in men may lead to:
  • Prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate gland)
  • Scarring of the urethra
  • Infertility
  • Epididymitis
Testing/Diagnosis
There are several different reliable tests for chlamydia. Common tests are either a urine sample or a simple swab from the cervix. Other tests, such as for Gonorrhea, may be performed at the same time.

Treatment
There are antibiotic treatments (azithromycin and doxycycline) that are effective in treating chlamydia. Your health care provider will help you decide
what is best for you. Whatever treatment prescribed, there are some important points to know:
The patient must take all medications as directed.
 
  • All partners should be examined and treated. 
  • The infected person should not have sex until he or she and any partner or partners have been treated and cured.
  • Persons who show symptoms after treatment should be tested again by culture.
Talk to your partner 
Telling a partner can be hard, but keep in mind that most people with chlamydia do not know they have it. It is important that you talk to your partner as soon as possible so she or he can get treatment. Also, it is possible to pass chlamydia back and forth, so if you get treated and your partner does not, you may become infected again.

Reduce your risk
As with other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) there are things you can do to reduce or eliminate the risk of chlamydia.
 
Practice the ABC's of safer sex:
 
Abstinence:
(not having sexual contact) is a sure way to avoid infection.
 
Be:
Faithful to one partner. Mutual monogamy (having sex with only one uninfected partner) is another way to avoid infection.
 
Condom-wise:
Using condoms consistently and correctly for vaginal and anal sex can
reduce risk of transmission.

 

Urinary Tract Infections Up-arrow

 

What is a Urinary Tract Infection?

Urinary tract infections (UTI's) are a common problem affecting millions of people each year. The urinary tract is the second most common site of infection after the respiratory tract. Each year, UTI's account for about 8 million doctor visits.

The urinary system consists of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. The kidneys remove liquid waste from the blood in the form of urine, keep a stable balance of salts and other substances in the blood, and produce a hormone that aids the formation of red blood cells. Narrow tubes called ureters carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder in the lower abdomen. Urine is stored in the bladder and emptied through the urethra. The average
adult passes about a quart and a half of urine each day. The amount of urine varies, depending on the fluids and foods a person consumes. The volume formed at night is about half that formed in the daytime.


Cystitis - is a urinary infection that is confined to the bladder and is commonly called a "bladder infection". Women are especially prone to this type of UTI and at least 50% of women will have one in their lifetime. Pyelonephritis or kidney infections are also UTI's that are more serious and can cause worse symptoms, but occur less.

Causes of a UTI

Urine in the bladder normally has no bacteria growing in it. However, the normal vaginal and rectal areas and their surrounding skin have lots of normally occurring bacteria. These normal germs play a useful role in the body and are called "normal flora." An infection occurs when bacteria enter the opening of the urethra and begin to multiply. Most infections arise from one type of bacteria, Escherichia coli (E. coli), which normally live in the colon or bowel.

Some women are more prone to getting a UTI than others. One factor may be that a woman's urethra is short, allowing bacteria easy access to the bladder. Also, a woman's urethral opening is near the anus and vagina which are sources of bacteria. For many women, sexual intercourse seems to trigger an infection. Any abnormality of the urinary tract that obstructs the flow of urine (a kidney stone, for example) sets the stage for an infection. In women the rate of UTI's gradually increases with age.

Recently, researchers found that women who use condoms containing a spermicidal lubricant tend to have increased UTI's, possibly due to an increased growth of E. coli bacteria in the vagina.

Symptoms
Not everyone with a UTI has symptoms, but most people get at least some. These may include a frequent urge to urinate and a painful, burning
feeling in the area of the bladder or urethra during or at the end of urination. Often, women feel an uncomfortable pressure above the pubic bone. It is common that, despite the urge to urinate, only a small amount of urine is passed. The urine itself may look cloudy, or even reddish if blood is present. A fever may mean that the infection has reached the kidneys. Other symptoms of a kidney infection include pain in the back or side below the ribs, nausea, or vomiting.
 
Diagnosis

To find out whether you have a UTI, your health care provider will test a sample of urine for bacteria and signs of infection. You will be asked to give a "clean catch" urine sample by wiping off the genital area and collecting a "midstream" sample of urine in a sterile container.

Treatment
A simple bladder infection can usually be cured in 1 or 3 days with antibiotic treatment. The choice of drug and length of treatment depends on the patient's history and the urine tests.You should follow your treatment instructions exactly to prevent recurrence of the infection. The drugs most often used to treat routine, uncomplicated UTI's are trimethoprim /sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Septra, Cotrim), amoxicillin (Amoxil, Trimox, Wymox), and nitrofurantoin (Macrodantin, Furadantin).
 
If you have had a UTI

It is important to take the full course of treatment because symptoms may disappear before the infection is fully cleared.A follow-up urinalysis is sometimes recommended to confirm that the urinary tract is infection-free.

Kidney infections generally require at least two weeks of antibiotic treatment.Sometimes patients with kidney infections need to be hospitalized for intravenous fluid and medicine until they are able to take them by mouth.

Recurrent Infections in Women
Many women suffer from frequent UTI's. Nearly 20 percent of women who have a UTI will have another. Usually, the latest infection stems from a strain or type of bacteria that is different from the infection before it, indicating a separate infection. Research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggests that one factor behind recurrent UTI's may be the ability of bacteria to attach to cells lining the urinary tract.

Women who have frequent recurrences (three or more UTI's per year) may benefit from preventive therapy and should ask their health care provider about one of the following medical treatment options.

Prevention

  • Take low doses of an antibiotic such as TMP/SMZ or nitrofurantoin daily for 6 months or longer. (If taken at bedtime, the drug remains in the bladder longer and may be more effective.) NIH-supported has shown this therapy to be effective without causing serious side effects.
  • Take a single dose of an antibiotic after sexual intercourse.
  • Take a short course (1 or 3 days) of antibiotics when symptoms appear.

Here are some additional steps that a woman can take to help prevent an infection:

  • Drink plenty of water (6-8 glasses) every day.
  • Several studies show that drinking cranberry juice acidifies the urine and may inhibit bacterial attachment to the urethra and bladder. Cranberry capsules are also available.
  • Urinate when you feel the need; don't resist the urge to urinate.
  • Wipe from front to back after urinating or a bowel movement to prevent bacteria around the rectal area from entering the vagina or urethra.
  • Take showers instead of tub baths.
  • Avoid using feminine hygiene sprays, bubble baths and scented mini-pads and douches, which may irritate the urethra.
  • Urinate after sexual intercourse.
  • Use adequate lubrication during intercourse to decreases urethral irritation.

 

Depression: Let's Talk About the Facts Up-arrow

 

Depression

The death of a loved one, loss of a job, or the ending of a relationship are difficult experiences for an individual to endure. It is normal for feelings of sadness or grief to develop in response to such stressful situations. Those experiencing trying times often might describe themselves as being "depressed." Sadness and depression are not the same. While feelings of sadness will lessen with time, the disorder of depression can continue for months, even years.

Depression is a serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think, and how you act. It is a common illness that each year affects 17 million Americans (nearly one in 10). Depression does not discriminate; it affects men and women, young and old, and
people of all races, cultures, and incomes.

Fortunately, depression is very treatable. The majority (80%-90%) of people who receive treatment experience significant improvement, and almost all individuals derive some benefit from medical care.

Unfortunately, individuals may not recognize their symptoms as signs of an illness, or they may fear the reactions of coworkers, friends, and family. As a result, millions of people with depression do not seek treatment and unnecessarily experience problems at their jobs or in their relationships.

The costs of depression can be severe. The estimated financial costs of depression in missed days at work, medical expenses, and premature death are $43 billion annually. If you or someone you know may have depression, consult with a psychiatrist or other medical practitioner. Remember, depression is one of the most treatable mental illnesses, and, with proper treatment, individuals can regain a healthy outlook on life.

What Is Depression?

Depression has a variety of symptoms, but the most common is a deep feeling of sadness. People with depression may feel tired, listless, hopeless, helpless, and generally overwhelmed by life. Simple pleasures are no longer enjoyed, and their world can appear dark and uncontrollable. Emotional and physical withdrawal are common responses of depressed people.
Depression can strike at any time, but most often appears for the first time in the late teens to early 20's. One in four women and one in 10 men will confront depression at some point in their lives.
 

Symptoms of Depression

Depression is diagnosed if a person experiences 1) persistent feelings of sadness or anxiety or 2) loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities in addition to five or more of the following symptoms for at least 2 consecutive weeks.
  • Changes in appetite that result in weight losses or gains not related to dieting
  • Insomnia or oversleeping
  • Loss of energy or increased fatigue
  • Restlessness or irritability
  • Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions
  • Thoughts of death or suicide or attempts at suicide

Depression is diagnosed only if the above symptoms are not due to other conditions (e.g., neurological or hormonal problems) or illnesses (e.g., cancer, heart attack) and are not the unexpected side effects of medications or substance abuse.

What Causes Depression?

Several factors play a role in the onset of depression. However, it should be noted that depression can still occur under ideal living circumstances.

Biochemistry. Deficiencies in two chemicals in the brain, serotonin and norepinephrine, are thought to be responsible for some of the symptoms of depression, including anxiety, irritability, and fatigue.

Genetics. Depression can run in families. For example, if one identical twin has depression, the other twin has a 70% chance of also having the illness sometime in life.

Personality. People with low self-esteem, who are easily overwhelmed by stress, or who are generally pessimistic appear to be vulnerable to depression.

Environmental factors. Continuous exposure to violence, neglect, abuse, or poverty may make people who are already susceptible to depression all the more vulnerable to the illness.


How Is Depression Treated?

Unfortunately, depression cannot be controlled for any length of time simply through exercise, through changes in diet, or by taking a vacation. But it is among the most treatable of mental disorders. Between 80% and 90% of people with depression respond well to treatment, and almost all patients gain some relief from their symptoms.

Before a specific treatment is recommended, a medical practitioner will conduct a thorough diagnostic evaluation, consisting of an interview and a physical examination. Its purpose is to reveal specific symptoms, medical and family history, cultural setting, and environmental causes of stress to arrive at a proper diagnosis and to determine the best treatment.

Medication

Antidepressants may be prescribed to correct imbalances in the levels of chemicals in the brain. These medications are not sedatives, "uppers," or tranquilizers; they are not habit-forming; and they generally have no stimulating effect on people not experiencing depression.

Antidepressants usually take full effect within 3-6 weeks after therapy has begun. If little or no improvement is noted, the clinician will alter the dose of the medication or will add or substitute another antidepressant.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy, or "talk therapy," may be used either alone for treatment of mild depression or in combination with antidepressant medications for moderate to severe depression.

Psychotherapy can involve only the individual patient or include others. Family or couples therapy helps to address specific issues that can arise within these close relationships. Group therapy involves people with similar illnesses. Depending on the severity of the depression, treatment can take a few weeks or substantially longer. However, in many cases, significant improvement can be made in 10-15 sessions.

Depression is never normal and always produces needless suffering. With proper diagnosis and treatment, depression can be overcome in the vast majority of people. If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, see your health care provider, describe your concerns, and request a thorough
evaluation. You will feel better.

 

Fun in the Sun Up-arrow

 

Sun Health

Suntans have often been considered a symbol of good health and looks. In reality, sun exposure causes skin cancer and skin damage, resulting in tough, leathery, wrinkled, and discolored skin.
UV rays
The sun's rays contain radiation that is made up of infrared, visible, and ultra violet (UV) rays. It is the invisible UV rays (UVA and UVB), which affect the skin. The UVB rays are the strongest between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. They penetrate the top layer of the skin causing sunburns, and are responsible for premature skin aging and skin cancers. UVA rays are strong all day, and all year long. They penetrate the skin more deeply and aggravate the effects of UVB radiation.
 

Sun Effects

Tanning -When the skin absorbs UV rays it can burn and/or tan. Tanning is the result of melanin production, a natural sun screening pigment that is produced by your skin. This occurs when the UV rays penetrate through to deeper skin layers, causing melanocytes to produce more melanin. The melanin then moves to the outer layers and becomes visible as a tan. Melanin absorbs some of the UV rays in an attempt to protect the body from UV radiation.

A tan does not prevent sun damage. UV radiation from tanning booths and sunlamps may be less likely to cause sunburn but still cause skin cancer, immune system damage and skin damage. There is no such thing as a safe tan. Therefore, tanning beds are not safe!!

Individuals with a fair or light skin complexion have less ability to make melanin. Thus they have less natural protection and are much more likely to get sun damage and burn quickly.

Skin Aging & Wrinkles
Cumulative sun exposure increases damage to the basic structure of the skin. UVA rays penetrate deeply into the base layer of the skin, damaging components that help keep the skin flexible. As a result the skin sags, wrinkles and looks old. With every burn the skin grows weaker in its ability to avoid such damage.

Skin Cancer -Ultraviolet rays from the sun are the cause of at least 90% of skin cancers.

Common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.

Basal cell carcinoma - usually develops on the face, ears, nose, and around the mouth of fair-skinned individuals. It can start as a red patch or shiny bump that is pink, red, or white. It may be crusty or have an open sore that does not heal, or heals only temporarily. This type of cancer can be cured easily if treated early.

Squamous cell carcinoma- usually appears as a scaly patch or raised, warty growth. It also has a high cure rate when found and treated early. In rare cases, if not treated, it can be deadly.

Melanoma- is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. It usually looks like a dark brown or black mole-like patch with irregular edges. Sometimes it is multicolored with shades of red, blue, or white. This type of skin cancer can occur anywhere on the body and when found early, can be cured. If not, it can spread throughout the body and often is fatal.

Other Effects
Excess sun exposure can lead to Immune system damage and eye damage causing cataracts and burns to the retina.

Protection from the Sun

 
If you are outdoors help protect your skin and eyes:
 
  1. Avoid midday sun exposure. Your chances of developing sunburn are greatest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun's rays are the strongest.
  2. Cover up. Wear a hat and light clothing to cover exposed body parts. Wear sunglasses that block UV rays to protect your eyes.
  3. Sunscreens that block UVB rays can contain the following chemicals: padimate O, homosalate, octyl methoxycinnamate, benzophenone, octyl salicylate, phenylbenzimidazole sulfonic acid, and octocrylene. Broad-spectrum sunscreens add oxybenzone or avobenzone (Parsol 1789) to block UVA rays. Mexoryl is a chemical that blocks UVA;its broad-spectrum characteristics allow sunscreens to be made with very high SPF factors.
  4. Physical sun blocks or chemical-free sunscreens that contain titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide are especially useful for people allergic to chemical sunscreens.
  5. Thirty minutes before going outdoors, liberally apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen that blocks UVA and UVB rays with a SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 or higher. For greatest protection use sunscreens with titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, oxybenzone or avobenzone (Parsol 1789).Reapply every 1 ½ - 2 hours and after swimming or excessive sweating.
  6. Certain medications can increase sensitivity to the sun: i.e. tetracycline, sulfa. Check with your pharmacist with questions.

Tips for Sun Protection

 

  • The greatest sun damage occurs between  10 am - 4 pm when the sun's rays are strongest. Sunscreen does not completely protect you from the harmful rays of the sun or from sunburn.
  • Wear protective clothing such as wide brimmed hats, long sleeved shirts and sun glasses when possible.
  • DON'T use tanning beds. No level of exposure is safe for your skin and it will not protect you from later sun exposure.
  • For every 1000 feet above sea level, ultraviolet radiation intensity increases by 5-6%.
  • Remember that you can get burned on a cloudy day, the sun's rays can penetrate into the water, and the sun's rays can reflect off of sand, snow and other objects. It's easier to burn at high attitudes due to the thinner atmosphere.
  • Sun protection should begin in infancy and continue throughout life. Remember to follow these few steps, and you can safely have fun in the sun.
SUN BURN CARE
 
  • Drink a lot of water to restore hydration.
  • Cool the affected area by applying cool compresses 10-15 minutes several times a day. 
  • For swelling and discomfort, take acetaminophen (Tylenol), or Ibuprofen (Advil) per package instructions. 
  • Moisturizing lotions and creams especially those with Vitamin E, Aloe or 1% OTC hydrocortisone cream may be helpful. Avoid creams with anesthetics such as benzocaine as they may cause an allergy reaction. 
  • If mild blistering occurs, an antibiotic ointment such as Bacitracin can be applied.  
  • Seek medical attention if you have a fever, severe blistering, nausea or vomiting, confusion, dizziness, or low urine output.

What is "Pink Eye"? Up-arrow

 

"Pink eye" is the descriptive term for a medical condition called "conjunctivitis".

Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva which is the thin transparent lining of the white part of our eyes and the inside of our eyelids.This inflammation causes our eyes to appear reddened or pink –hence the term "pink eye".

Conjunctivitis can be caused by many things including infection, allergy, irritations, or, rarely, more serious eye problems.

Most of the rest of this pamphlet will discuss conjunctivitis caused by infection.


Common infective conjunctivitis

Most cases of infective conjunctivitis are caused by common bacteria and viruses –often the same viruses that cause coughs and colds.
 
Conjunctivitis commonly develops when you have a cold or cough. Sometimes it occurs alone.In the vast majority of cases, infective conjunctivitis is not serious and clears within a week or so without any damage to the eye.

 

Symptoms

  • One or both eyes look inflamed, and red or pink.
  • Eyes feel gritty and/or itchy
  • Watery discharge may form crusts and cause eyelids to stick together (especially after sleep)
  • Eyelids may be somewhat swollen
  • Vision is usually not affected

Treatment

  • Bathing the eyes with cool water or compresses may be soothing.
  • Lubricant eye drops may reduce eye discomfort. These are available over the counter without a prescription –an example is "artificial
    tears".
  • Most infections will not require antibiotic eye drops as the vast majority of infective conjunctivitis is caused by viruses. The tears contain chemicals that fight off bacteria. Without treatment, most cases of infective conjunctivitis clear on their own within 1-2 weeks, and often
    within 2-5 days. Antibiotic eye drops are only helpful if the infection is caused by bacteria, which usually causes a much more severe case of conjunctivitis.

Other advice

  • Do not wear contact lenses until your symptoms have completely gone
  • Use warm wet cloths to wipe off secretions and crustiness
  • Infective conjunctivitis is contagious and to keep from passing this to others you should:try to avoid touching eyes except to cleanse them; wash hands frequently; do not share towels, cosmetics, pillows with others

Reasons to be concerned and to seek medical care

You should seek evaluation if your symptoms have worsened, do not improve within a few days, or you are concerned this may be different from a common conjunctivitis. In particular, you should seek an evaluation if:

  • You develop very noticeable eye pain
  • Light starts to hurt your eyes
  • Spots or blisters develop on the skin next to the eye
  • Your vision becomes affected
  • You develop swelling around the eye

Other considerations

  • Most persons with conjunctivitis should be able to go to school or work.
  • If you work at a facility that requires you to be evaluated, you can certainly seek medical care.
  • There may be some restrictions on working in certain settings.
  • Good hand washing in any setting is very important in minimizing the spread of the disease.

Gastroenteritis Up-arrow


Gastroenteritis, sometimes referred to as "stomach flu" is an irritation or infection of the stomach and intestines usually caused by a virus. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and/or fever. In 2-3 days most patients feel better without needing to take any special medicine or needing to seek medical care. If symptoms don't seem to be resolving as expected, dehydration can be a concern. Dehydration occurs when fluid output exceeds
fluid intake as may happen with persistent vomiting and diarrhea. Dehydration may be evident by decreased urine output or by dryness of the mouth and lips. If you feel you are dehydrated or if symptoms are not resolving, it is important to be evaluated by your health care provider.

The following steps may be used to remedy the effects of vomiting and diarrhea.

Step 1:

Drink liquids frequently (at intervals of 15-30 minutes) in small amounts during the day or when possible during the night. Try to take 4-8 oz./hr.

Liquids recommended (clear liquids):

  • Gatorade or similar drink.
  • Decarbonated 7-up or ginger ale, with or without ice (beverages can be decarbonated by adding 1 tablespoon hot water or stirring until carbonation has escaped). Avoid products with caffeine.
  • Kool-Aid or other fruit flavored drinks (grape, apple, etc.), diluted may be more easily tolerated.
  • Jello or diluted jello water.
  • Plain water.

Not recommended - milk products or solid foods; no orange, tomato, or grapefruit juice; no aspirin or antidiarrheal preparations.

Step 2:


Expect at least 6-12 hours at Step 1 before moving on to Step 2.

Vomiting typically will resolve before diarrhea, once you are able to take liquids in step 1 without difficulty, you may move on to Step 2.

Liquids and solids advised in this step:

  • Any of the liquids noted in Step 1.
  • Bananas, applesauce
  • Clear broth or clear soups (eg. chicken noodle)
  • Toast, crackers, dry cereals, pretzels'

Step 3:


After 12-24 hours on Step 2, you may move on to other foods that are bland, low-fat types.

It is recommended that you avoid drinking milk until several days after the diarrhea has stopped.

Some foods to add at this step include:

  • Mashed potatoes, other cooked fruits or vegetables, rice, noodles.

Your diet can continue to expand as you continue to tolerate each addition to your diet.

Upper Respiratory Infection Up-arrow

 

The Common Cold

The Common Cold is known as an upper respiratory infection. It is a contagious illness caused by one of the more than 200 unique viruses, the most common of which strike in a seasonal pattern.Due to this large number of viruses, the body probably never builds up an immunity or resistance to all of them.

Your body and its immune system can fight off these viral infections, usually in one to two weeks. Generally, a cold virus will survive until your immune system makes enough antibodies to destroy it.That means time;patience and tender care are your strongest allies in treatment. It is helpful to support your immune system in its effort to fight a cold virus by getting plenty of rest, eating a regular balanced diet, avoiding tobacco products and avoiding alcohol in excess.

How is the common cold spread?

The common cold is spread mostly by hand-to-hand contact. For example, a person with a cold blows or touches his or her nose and then touches someone else who then becomes infected with the virus. Additionally, the cold virus can live on objects such as computer keyboards, pens, books, and coffee cups for several hours and can be acquired from such objects.

Prevention

Knowing how cold viruses are spread can help with some common sense prevention practices to slow the spread of colds.
1.Wash your hands frequently
2.Keep kitchen and bathroom countertops clean
3.Discard used tissues right away.
 

Do Antibiotics Help Colds?


No.
Antibiotics play no role in treating the common cold. Antibiotics only work against illnesses caused by bacteria.Viruses cause colds.Using antibiotics when they are not necessary has led to the growth of several strains of common bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. For these and other reasons, it is important to limit the use of antibiotics to situations in which they are necessary.
 
Sometimes an infection caused by bacteria can follow a cold. Ear, sinus, and lung infections can result from this.

Key Points to Remember

1. Viruses cause common colds.
2. Going out into the cold weather has no effect on the acquiring or spreading a cold.
3. Antibiotics do not help the common cold.
4. There are effective home remedies for the common cold.
5. There are currently no medications available that can kill or eliminate viral infections.
6.Colds can sometimes make you feel miserable.

 

Symptoms

Cold symptoms vary with the type of virus involved.Typical symptoms can include nasal drainage and stuffiness, sore throat, fever, irritability, restlessness, sneezing, runny nose, cough, headache, aching muscles and reduced appetite.These symptoms can last for variable amounts of time. Fever usually subsides in 1 to 3 days. The runny nose and sore throat often resolve within a week to 10 days. Coughing can persist for 2 to 3 weeks.

Medications and Self-Care

The following over-the-counter medications and self-care measures may help reduce or relieve common symptoms of discomfort from a cold, but will not cure it.

You can buy "multi symptom" cold medications or get a product(s) that is specific to your symptom(s). If you are taking more than one
cold type medication at a time, READ LABELS carefully to avoid duplicating ingredients. Be sure to take as directed, unless specifically advised otherwise by your health care provider.

General Discomfort

(Headache, fever, body ache, throat pain)

Medications:
Analgesics can help relieve pain and reduce fever.
Examples:
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol®)
  • Ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®)
  • Naproxen (Aleve®)


Cough

Coughing is a reflex action in response to irritation in the breathing tubes. Cough medicines DO NOT cure a cough but may provide temporary relief.
Medications:
  • Cough suppressants can help reduce coughing.
    • Example: Dextromethorpha
  • Expectorants can help loosen and clear mucus or phlegm from the chest.
    • Example: Guiafenesin

Sore Throat

A sore throat is the result of swelling and inflammation in the back of the throat.
  • Throat lozenges or throat sprays may numb the back of the throat making it easier to swallow.
    • Examples: Chloraseptic®, Cepastatz
  • Salt water gargles can soothe throat pain. Dissolve ¼-1/2 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water.  
  • Analgesics can help reduce sore throat pain. See above- General Discomfort.

Ear Pressure

Ear pressure is caused by eustachian tube dysfunction.The eustachian tube connects the middle ear with the throat.It is commonly plugged with mucus during a cold.
 
Medications:
Decongestants may relieve ear stuffiness.
  • Examples: Pseudoephedrine, Phenylephrine

Head congestion, Stuffy or Runny Nose &Post Nasal Drip

These symptoms are a result of mucus from the nasal passages.

Medications:
Decongestants can help relieve stuffiness, postnasal drip.
  • Oral Decongestants:
    • Examples: Pseudoephedrine
  • Decongestant nasal sprays:
    • Examples: Oxymetazoline(Afrin®,Dristan®)

(Warning:do not use decongestant nasal sprays for longer than 3-5 days unless recommended by your health care provider.)

Antihistamines can help relieve a drippy, runny nose and sneezing. Caution: Antihistamines can cause drowsiness. 
  • Examples:
    • Chlorpheniramine (Chlortrimeton®)
    • Diphenhydramine(Benadryl®)
    • Brompheniramine (Dimetapp®)
    • Fexofenadine(Allegra®)
    • Cetirizine (Zyrtec®)
    • Loratadine (Claritin®)

Moisturizing Saline Nasal Sprays can help relieve nasal congestion, post nasal drip, and moisten nasal passages.


Home Remedies

Fluids: Drink 8 to 10 glasses of liquids a day.Water and fruit juices are fine.
Steam: Take a hot steamy shower or use a cold air vaporizer.
Rest: Try to get at least 8 hours of sleep each night.
Food: When you are ill, eat an adequate, well balanced diet, increase fluids and avoid junk foods.
Avoid: Smoking and drinking alcohol.

When to Go to the Doctors 

It is time for a visit when you have the following symptoms:

  • Persistent fever >1010 F
  • Symptoms that persist longer than 7-10 days.
  • Severe chest pain
  • Severe shortness of breath
  • Persistent severe headache
  • Pus on tonsils
  • Constant ear pain
  • Significant cough productive of sputum

Sore Throat vs. Strep Throat Up-arrow

 

I feel...

A)
  • Congestion
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Fever
B)
  • No typical cold symptoms (runny nose or congestion)
  • Red, swollen and pus- covered tonsils
  • Fever
  • Tender and enlarged lymph nodes

I think I have...

If most of your signs and symptoms are in Column A:
  • Probably experiencing a common cold (a viral infection)
  • Should feel better in 7-10 days
  • Antibiotics won't work to treat a common cold, but decongestants, throat lozenges, over-the-counter pain medicine and plenty of fluids may help alleviate some of the discomfort
If most of your signs and symptoms are in Column B:
  • May have strep (a bacterial infection)
  • Typical cold symptoms are absent (no runny nose, cough or congestions)
  • You should be seen by a healthcare provider who can determine if antibiotics are necessary in treating your sore throat.

Other Information

  • A sore throat may be also be a results of cigarette smoking, allergies, hay fever or drainage from sinuses
  • A common cold will end on its own in about 7-10 days. Antibiotics will not cure a common cold
  • Strep throat is significantly less common than a sore throat or a cold. Antibiotics treat strep throat

Flu Facts Up-arrow

 

What is Influenza?

Influenza is commonly called the "flu". It is an infection of upper respiratory tract caused by one of several different strains of influenza viruses. It is a very contagious illness and can be more serious than the common cold (see URI handout), especially in children, the elderly, and those with chronic illnesses.Influenza epidemics occur in a seasonal pattern, usually late fall and winter months.

Symptoms

Initial symptoms may be those of the common cold. Soon this can be followed by any or all of the following:fever and chills with body temperatures averaging 102-103oF, headache, body aches, a prominent dry cough, sore throat, fatigue, runny nose, and loss of appetite.These symptoms may be at their worst for 2-4 days and can last for 5-7days.The cough may take even longer to resolve. It often may takes over one week to feel like you are back to your normal health.

Influenza Vaccination

Each year vaccines are available in the fall that are given to help protect against the type of flu virus that is anticipated to cause epidemics for that year.Vaccination can help prevent Influenza, but does it NOT protect against other viral infections which are sometimes called "the flu." This includes colds, coughs, and gastroenteritis.

Prevention

The flu virus is spread by sneezing, coughing, and by hand-to-hand contact with people or objects that are contaminated with the virus. The virus can live on computer keyboards, pens, books, and coffee cups for several hours and can be acquired from such objects.

Knowing how flu viruses are spread can help with some common sense prevention practices.

1. Consider a yearly influenza vaccination to prevent the flu.
2. Wash your hands frequently.
3. Discard tissues right after use.
4. Use separate towels and wash clothes.
5. Avoid sharing food, eating and drinking utensils with others.
6. Stay healthy: eat wisely, quit smoking, avoid excess alcohol, get adequate sleep, and exercise regularly.
 

Do Antibiotics Help Influenza?

No. Antibiotics play no role in treating influenza, the common cold, or any other virus. Antibiotics only work against illnesses caused by bacteria. Viruses cause influenza. Using antibiotics when they are not necessary has led to the growth of several strains of common bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. For these and other reasons, it is important to limit the use of antibiotics to situations in which they are necessary.

What is NOT influenza?

Gastroenteritis, commonly known as "stomach flu" with vomiting and diarrhea and most other illnesses including the common cold.

Medications

Currently there are a few specific medications that can be taken to shorten the duration of an influenza illness; including Tamiflu, Relenza, Amantidine, and Rimantidine. They do not cure influenza and all must be taken in the first 48 hours of an illness. It is necessary to see a health care provider
to obtain these prescription medicines.

The following medications mentioned in this brochure are aimed at reducing or relieving common symptoms of discomfort from influenza.

General Discomfort
(headache, fever, body ache)
Analgesics can relieve pain and reduce fever.
Examples:
  • Acetaminophen e.g. (Tylenol)
  • Ibuprofen, e.g. (Advil, Nuprin)
Cough
Coughing is a reflex action in response to irritation of the breathing tubes.
Cough medicines do not cure a cough. They may only help suppress it.
Examples:
  • Robitussin DM
  • Nyquil
  • Vicks 44D

Home Remedies

(for flu symptoms)

Fluids: Drink 8 to 10 glasses of liquids a day. Water and fruit juice are fine.

Steam: Take a hot steamy shower or use a cold air vaporizer.

Rest: Try to get at least 8 hours of sleep each night.

When to Go to the Doctor

It's time for a visit when you have the following symptoms:

  • If you have a chronic illness that may be worsened by the flu.
  • Persistent fever >1030 F
  • Severe chest pain
  • Severe shortness of breath
  • Persistent severe headache
  • Symptoms that persist longer than 7-10 days. 

More information to help you prevent the “Flu”

Please help protect your own health and that of your campus community by practicing the following to help lower the risk of spreading or contracting influenza:
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough or sneeze
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based cleaner
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth

• Get your own thermometer, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and tissues.
• Maintain your own supply of hand soap and/or gel hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol content). 
• Make a Personal Influenza Plan. Do you have any health condition that might put you at higher risk for more severe illness (see information to the right)? Where will you recuperate if you get sick? If you live alone, who will help if you need groceries or other suppliers brought to you? Where do you keep the contact info for everyone you should alert if you have to self-isolate (instructors, employer, etc.)?
• Don’t spread or fall for rumors! If there is ever any disruption to campus operations, you will be notified by email from UWEC.  If your class is temporarily canceled, you will be notified by your instructor or department.
• Cough and sneeze into your sleeve. Viruses don’t live as long or spread as easily from a sleeve as they can from your hands.
• Start a good hand washing habit. Always wash with soap or hand sanitizer for at least 20 seconds before eating, drinking, or preparing food, after using the bathroom, and if you cough or sneeze into a tissue.
• Try to keep hands away from eyes, nose, and mouth. Wash hands more often if you smoke or bite your nails.
• Get the seasonal flu shot when it is available (usually in early fall through winter).
• If you are in close contact with someone who has the flu…don’t panic, and don’t blame.
Most students are advised NOT to take any special actions based on ordinary exposure. However, students with “high-risk” conditions should call their healthcare providers promptly, as medication may be recommended in some cases. 
• “High-risk” medical conditions include the following: severe asthma or other chronic lung disease; cancer; heart disease; diabetes; pregnancy; weakened immune system; or kidney, liver, blood, or neurological disorders.
“High-risk” doesn’t mean you are at higher risk of contracting influenza. But these conditions are associated with a higher possibility of complications if you do get flu.

The only thing we can be certain of is that the situation is unpredictable and will change throughout the semester, so you should keep checking in with Student Health Service.

 
Is it a cold or the flu?
 
Cold                             VS.               Flu
comes on gradually...........................comes on quickly
fever unlikely.....................................fever very likely
cough possible..................................dry cough likely
sore throat possible...........................sore throat likely
stomach not affected......................... vomiting & diarrhea possible
body aches unlikely............................body aches likely
chills unlikely....................................chills likely
stuffy/runny nose likely.......................stuffy/runny nose possible

If You Do Get Sick…

Activate Your Personal Influenza Plan


Take your temperature. If you have a fever (100°F/ 37.8°C or higher), you must stay home from work and class until you have been completely fever-free (without fever-reducing medication) for at least 24 hours, and you feel well. For most people, this will be 3 to 5 days.

If you have a “high-risk” medical condition(listed on reverse side), call your health care provider. Although antiviral medications are not recommended for most healthy individuals, they are recommended for some “high-risk” cases and should be taken as soon as possible.

Most people recover fully on their own without medical treatment. Drink fluids to stay hydrated, get plenty of rest, eat what you can, and use ibuprofen (600mg every 6-8 hours) or acetaminophen (650-1000mg every 4-6 hours) to manage fever and body aches. (Antibiotics do not have any effect because influenza is caused by a virus.) Call a health care provider if your symptoms are not improving after 3 to 4 days. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the symptoms listed below.

Seek medical care
…if you experience any of the following:

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish or gray skin color
  • Coughing up blood or bloody mucus
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Dizziness when standing and/or significantly reduced urine production
  • Abnormal behavior, confusion, lack of responsiveness
  • If flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

Go to your recuperation location and self-isolate.You should not go to the library, Davies, restaurants, or any social events, and you should avoid public transportation. If you go out, cover your mouth and nose with a surgical mask or tissues and shield others from coughs and sneezes.  People with the flu generally feel weak, achy, and fatigued for a few days to a week. Some people may choose to go home until they are better.  If you will be staying in a household you share with others, avoid sharing common spaces with them while you’re sick. If you live alone, call a friend to bring supplies to your door rather than going shopping yourself.

Stay in one room with the door closed. Whenever you leave your room, use hand sanitizer before exiting, and keep your mouth and nose covered until you are back in your room. Everyone in the household should wash their hands well and often and use disposable disinfectant wipes on shared surfaces, such as doorknobs, bathroom faucets, and refrigerator handles.
Communicate. Cancel any appointments (with your advisor, dentist, etc.), and contact your professors and employer to let them know you have influenza symptoms and cannot return to class or work until you are better (i.e. fever-free). As with any illness, you will be responsible for getting class notes you have missed and making arrangements to make up work after you recover. All faculty are being alerted that students are supposed to stay home if they are sick.  The university is also asking faculty to stay home from teaching if they have flu symptoms.

Tell your “close contacts” you may have flu. That means roommates/housemates and officemates. Also, any friends and people you are frequently around.  That way, if any of them has a “high-risk” health condition, they can contact their health care provider for advice and possibly medication.

Flu viruses typically survive on surfaces for 2 to 8 hours, so do not share towels, clothing, eating utensils, keyboards, remote controls, etc., while you are infectious. Standard cleaning products should be sufficient to remove viruses from surfaces, but water alone is not enough.

Mononucleosis Up-arrow

Mononucleosis, or Mono, is an infection caused by a virus. Mononucleosis can occur at any age, but it is most common in young adults.

What Are The Symptoms?
Persons with mononucleosis can have all or some of these symptoms:
  • Headache
  • Fever and body aches, especially in the late afternoon or evening
  • Feeling tired all the time or getting tired easily
  • Severe sore throat
  • Swollen glands in the neck that may make it difficult to swallow
  • Sometimes a red rash on the body

Your health care provider will be able to determine that you have mononucleosis by examining you and listening to what you say about your symptoms. Often a blood test will confirm that you have mononucleosis.

How Did I Get Mono?
The virus that causes mono is spread through saliva.This usually means that the disease is spread through "intimate" contact such as kissing, sexual intercourse or sharing food, drink or cigarettes. The virus can remain in the saliva for many weeks, usually most people that have had the infection will not get it again.
 
When To Call Your Doctor:
Complications from mononucleosis are rare. Call your doctor if you have:
  • Sudden onset of stomach pain or pain in your upper left side
  • Fever of more than 101 degrees for 4 days
  • Yellow skin or eyes
  • Very dark coloration to your urine
  • Symptoms that keep getting worse
Your recovery will usually take two or three weeks. You need to take care of yourself to get better.
 
How Is Mono Treated?
There is no medicine to treat mono. Treatment is aimed at controlling the symptoms to help you feel better.
  • Rest is very important, especially early in the illness. Prioritize your schedule and time commitments. Ensure that you get adequate rest and sleep. Avoid activities that make you tired or feel worse.
  • You spleen may get bigger when you have mononucleosis. Avoid contact sports or heavy lifting because it can cause your spleen to rupture. Check with your doctor before you begin these activities again.
  • Continue with some moderate physical activity. Avoid long, difficult projects until after you have recovered.
  • Throat lozenges or warm salt water gargles can ease the sore throat. Use one teaspoon of table salt in an 8 ounce glass of warm water and gargle as needed. 
  • Drink at least 8 glasses of water, juices, milk shakes, broth, or popsicles. Cool and bland foods, like bananas, applesauce, potatoes, oatmeal, or noodles will be easier to swallow. Avoid fried and greasy foods until you feel better.
  • Take 2 tablets of 325 mg. strength acetaminophen (Tylenol), every 4 - 6 hours as needed to control your fever. Some people get relief with cool sponge baths or a cool cloth to the forehead.
  • Massaging the head, neck and scalp can ease the headache. The acetaminophen also can help ease the headache.
  • If you develop a rash, it usually goes away in a few days and is not uncomfortable. If you have problems, check with your clinician for further evaluation and advice.
  • You can see friends and family during your illness. Class attendance is not prohibited. Avoid close contact like kissing.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water often especially after using the bathroom or when you sneeze or cough. These precautions will reduce the spread of the virus.
Are There Complications?
Mono usually causes some inflammation in the liver and spleen. Severe liver inflammation can result in jaundice, a condition where the eyes and skin become yellow and the urine becomes very dark brown in color. People with mono can have so much swelling in their throat that it becomes difficult to eat and drink fluids. If you are unable to drink fluids and become severely dehydrated, hospitalization may be required for treatment. 
 
Rupture of the spleen
is a rare, but serious side effect of mono. The spleen is an organ in the upper left abdomen that stores and filters blood cells. In a Mono infection the
spleen tends to enlarge and if someone receives a hard blow to the abdomen, it could result in damage or rupture of the spleen.For this reason, persons with mono are encouraged to avoid contact sports or any activity that could result in trauma to the abdomen for at least 4 weeks after being diagnosed with Mono.
 
Does My Roommate Need To Worry About Catching Mono From Me?
No, not from casual contact.Mono is a disease that is spread by direct contact with the secretions of the infected person. It is not highly contagious to the general population.
 
Home Remedies
Gargle: Take a cup of warm water and a teaspoon of salt.Gargle 4-5 times a day to relieve symptoms of pain and swelling
Fluids: Drink 8 to 10 glasses of liquids a day.Water and fruit juices are fine.
Steam: Take a hot steamy shower or use a cold air vaporizer.
Rest: Try to get at least 8 hours of sleep each night.
Food: When you are ill, eat an adequate, well balanced diet, increase fluids and avoid junk foods.
Avoid: Smoking and drinking Alcohol.