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Archive for the ‘Health Education’ Category

A significant percentage of college students continue to smoke tobacco products despite overwhelming evidence of the health hazards incurred.  Although many are sporadic smokers, or prefer to use tobacco products through hookah which studies indicate is even more hazardous), they are at risk for developing nicotine dependency and a life long smoking habit.

The prospective cohort study in Japan gives a clear number of years of life lost as a result of smoking.  If risk of COPD and cancer is not sufficient to dissuade young adults from using cigarettes, perhaps the likelihood of a 15% shorter life span will?

A Third of College Students Smoke

A Prospective Cohort Study on the Impact of Smoking on Mortality and Life Expectancy

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This is an excellent reminder during this vaccination season anticipating influenza arriving soon on our campuses:

Teen’s Death Shows How Flu Can Kill in a Flash

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This article summary is worth sharing with college health providers and staff, as well as students.

Hookah smoking has been shown to actually be more hazardous than cigarette smoking, something most students are unaware of.

Hookah Smoking Increasingly Common

 

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The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force have a draft recommendation for primary care providers to screen and do brief counseling regarding binge drinking and risky alcohol use for adults age 18 and over.  This is encouraging to those of us in college health who have been using brief screening and motivational interviewing to identify and support reducing risky drinking in our student populations.

The USPSTF is soliciting public comment on the recommendation.

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This opinion article brings up some important points relevant to how we might approach treatment of college students’ sleep issues–

Rethinking Sleep–New York Times 9/23/12

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I’ve been really miserable for three days and need that 5 day antibiotic to get
better faster since I have midterms this week.

Ninety eight percent of the time it is a viral infection and will resolve without
antibiotics.

But I can’t breathe and I can’t sleep.

You can use salt water rinses and decongestant nose spray.

But my face feels like there is a blown up balloon inside.

Try applying a warm towel to your face.

And I’m feverish and having sweats at night.

Your temp is 99.2. You can use ibuprofen or acetominophen.

But my snot is green.

That’s not unusual with viral upper respiratory infections.

And my teeth are starting to hurt and my ears are popping.

Let me know if that is not resolving in a week or so.

But I’m starting to cough.  My roommate is complaining I’m keeping
him up.

Your lungs are clear so breathe steam, push fluids and prop up with
an extra pillow.

But sometimes I cough to the point of gagging.  I hear whooping
cough is going around.

Your symptoms are not classic for pertussis and any mucousy
cough can cause gagging.  You can consider using a
strong cough suppressant prescription.

But I always end up needing antibiotics.

There’s plenty of evidence they can do more harm
than good. They really aren’t indicated at this point
in your illness.

But I always get better faster with antibiotics. How do you know
I don’t need them?

Studies show that two weeks later there is no difference in
symptoms between those treated with antibiotics and those
who did self-care only.

But I have a really hard week coming up and I won’t be able to rest.

This may be your body’s way of saying that you need to
evaluate your priorities.

But I don’t have any choice about taking midterms!
I just waited in that crowded waiting room for an hour to
see you.

I really am sorry about the wait; there are a lot of sick people with
this viral thing going around.

But I pay a health fee every semester to get health care here and
you aren’t doing anything for me.

I am providing health care by assessing your symptoms and
making a recommendation to you for what I think is
the wisest course of action.

But I can go down the street to the express care walk in clinic and
for $95 they will write me an antibiotic prescription
without making me feel guilty for asking.

I wouldn’t recommend taking unnecessary medication that can lead to
bacterial resistance, side effects and allergic reactions.
I think you can be spared the expense, inconvenience and potential
risk of taking something you don’t really need.

So that’s it?  Salt water rinses and wait it out?  That’s all you can offer?

Let me know if your symptoms are unresolved in the next week or so.

So you spent all that time in school just to tell people they don’t need
medicine?

I went to school to help people heal themselves as well as educate them
about when they do need additional treatment and when they
can do without it. 

I’m going to go find a real doctor.

Real doctors first do no harm.  Be wary of one who gives a
patient whatever they ask for without clear justification
and evidence it is safe and effective.

Do you need a medical excuse for missing class this afternoon?

Yeah, hey thanks.  Can you make it good through tomorrow so I can
postpone my midterm?  That would be a big help.

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