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Cougar Health Services September 2016

Tailgating too hard?

Tailgating too hard?

School has started, the temperature is cooling off and Cougar football is underway.  When it comes to football season, tailgating seems to be as popular as the game itself. You get to socialize, probably eat some delicious grilled food and enjoy some alcohol.

Football season lasts for several weeks throughout the fall semester. And for some, this means drinking alcohol fairly regularly.

If you do choose to tailgate before the game, the goal should be to have fun and to socialize with friends, family and fellow Cougs, and not to drink as much as you can.  Of course you’ve probably heard the phrase “drink in moderation.” But, it’s not totally clear what this means, or what it looks like.

We know drinking moderately is beneficial because it can help prevent alcohol poisoning, consuming too many empty calories and some of the less-than-pleasant side effects of drinking too much.

To learn what moderate drinking is for you, try some of these tips:

  • Alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Also, drinking water throughout the day will help you stay hydrated.
  • Sip your beverage rather than gulping it down.
  • Eat food before and while you are drinking to help absorb the alcohol in your stomach.
  • Encourage your friends to stop when they’ve had enough.

Be on the lookout for people showing the signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning. Getting drunk before the game can ruin not only the game, but also the rest of your day.

Ray-Ban sale event Oct. 12

Ray-Ban Sale Event Oct. 12

Join our vision clinic staff for a special sale event just for WSU students!

Ray-Ban Sale Event
Wednesday, October 12
CUE Atrium
10:00 am – 3:00 pm

We’ll have over 200 different styles of Ray-Ban frames and sunglasses for you to try on. If you find something you like, we can order it for you. Take advantage of special student discounts, and enter to win a free pair of Ray-Ban frames or sunglasses!

For questions, give us a call at 509-335-0360.

7 ways to improve your sleep

7 ways to improve your sleep

College students are constantly busy. In order to keep up with the demands of being in college, students will often sacrifice their sleep.  While this might seem like a good idea at the time, losing sleep can impact your academic performance and increase your stress levels.

We know Cougs aren’t getting enough sleep. According to our 2016 National College Health Assessment data, about 60 percent of WSU students say they feel tired, dragged out or sleepy for more than three days out of the week.

Sleep is incredibly important. After all, sleeping is how our body recharges and prepares for busy, stressful days ahead. College students need about 7-9 hours of sleep each night.

If you find yourself feeling tired or sleepy throughout the week, try some of our expert tips for improving your sleep.

  1. If you choose to take a nap, be sure to nap earlier in the day and keep it to 45 minutes or less. Taking short naps early in the day has less of an impact on your nighttime sleep.
  2. If you can control the temperature in your bedroom, the best temperature for sleeping is around 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Avoid looking at your phone when you’re trying to fall asleep. Your mind stays active while looking through social media feeds and you can get stuck in the infinite scroll. And before you know it, you’re still on Facebook hours later.
  4. Set a cut off time for all electronic devices. This allows your brain to unwind before bed. Having a set time will also prevent you from binge watching Netflix till 3:00 am.
  5. Make a schedule. Going to bed and waking up roughly at the same time will reinforce your body’s natural sleep cycle. You’ll start to feel tired around the same time each night, and naturally wake up around the same time every morning.
  6. Only use your bed for sleeping. Avoid eating, doing homework or just hanging out in bed. If you reserve your bed only for sleeping, when you do lie down, your body will know that it’s time for bed.
  7. Avoid bringing stressors to bed. If there is a lot on your mind, try jotting down all of your thoughts right before bed to help put your mind at ease.

Following these tips can increase your sleep quality and help you feel more awake and ready to take on the day.  If you want more information on sleep, check out the National Sleep Foundation.

What is the National College Health Assessment?

What is the National College Health Assessment?

If you’ve read our blog before, you may have noticed we often cite data from the National College Health Assessment (NCHA) survey. We conduct this survey every year in partnership with the American College Health Association.

The NCHA survey helps us identify health concerns and issues that Cougs have. When we know what Cougs might be struggling with, we’re able to provide educational information and programs to help.

In 2016, a total of 3,168 WSU students from all different backgrounds completed the survey.

Physical, mental, and emotional health have a big impact on students’ academic performance. 2016 NCHA survey results showed that some common health concerns affect Cougs’ academic success:

  • Stress: 32.1 percent of students say stress significantly affects their academic performance.
  • Sleep: 24.8 percent of students say sleep difficulties impact their academic performance.
  • Anxiety: 22.5 percent of students say anxiety negatively affects their academic performance.

In response to these concerns, we’ve established educational programs to help students. For example, we offer workshops on a wide variety of health topics like stress management and sleep.

We’ve also been training WSU faculty and staff on Mental Health First Aid. This program is designed to educate individuals on how to care for and respond to a student in a mental health crisis. And new this year is our Campus Connect suicide prevention program, which trains people how to notice and respond to warning signs and risk factors for suicide.

It’s our goal to make sure WSU students are thriving, and the NCHA survey gives us insight on how we can help.

What students need to know about Zika

While concerns about Zika virus currently impact very few students at WSU, our healthcare providers have been closely monitoring recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Zika is currently limited to certain geographical areas. The virus can spread through mosquito bites and sexual transmission.

At this point in time, here’s what WSU students need to know about Zika:

  • If you’re traveling to a warm climate, check information from the CDC about Zika virus in that area.
  • If Zika is a concern in the area you’re traveling to, it’s important to take precautions for preventing mosquito bites. Wear long sleeve shirts and long pants, and use mosquito repellent when outdoors.
  • Most importantly, if you begin to feel ill and experience viral or flu-like symptoms, be sure to seek medical attention.

You can find more information about Zika from the CDC.

The risks of sleeping in your contacts

contact lens on finger

The risks of sleeping in your contacts

Imagine it’s late, you’re really tired and you just want to sleep. You might be tempted to skip removing your contacts and head straight to bed.

But before you climb under the covers, it’s really important that you take your contacts out. Sleeping in contacts can compromise the health of your eyes. More specifically, here’s what can happen:

Your eyes can be deprived of oxygen. Your cornea, the part of your eye you place a contact on top of, needs oxygen from the air. Wearing contacts blocks oxygen from getting to your cornea. This only gets worse when your eyes are closed during sleep.

New blood vessels may start to form on corneas that aren’t getting enough oxygen. This condition, called corneal neovascularization, can cause a permanent reduction in vision, blurry vison or eye infections. The resulting damage can prevent you from wearing contact lenses or being a candidate for LASIK surgery in the future.

You could get a bacterial infection. Sleeping in contacts increases your risk of getting an infection called bacterial keratitis. This condition can cause permanent damage to the cornea. Some people who get bacterial keratitis may require a corneal transplant.

You might get dry eyes. Sleeping in contact lenses can cause dry eyes and increase your risk of having an allergic reaction to your contact lenses. This reaction, called giant papillary conjunctivitis, involves large bumps forming underneath your eyelids, making contact lens wear uncomfortable.

Some contact lenses are approved by the Food and Drug Administration to sleep in. However, when you read the fine print, you’ll find even these lenses can cause complications. Sleeping in these contacts can increase your risk of eye infection by 10 to 15 times compared to not sleeping in contact lenses.

The good news is all of these conditions are preventable by simply taking out your contact lenses before bedtime. Try getting in the routine of taking out and caring for your contacts every night.

If you have any questions, call or stop by our vision clinic.

Happy, healthy success for students

Happy, healthy success for students

When I came to WSU as an undergraduate student in 1997, I was not healthy. I didn’t have any type of obvious physical dysfunction. I just wasn’t thriving emotionally or physically.

How do you define health? I think happiness is health. Accepting who you are and what you can do is health. Finding your path and enjoying the journey – yes, I think that’s health too.

During my time at WSU, I’ve been an undergraduate student, graduate student and now an employee with a mission to support students. I’ve had a lot of time to consider what would have helped me to be healthy, to thrive, as a new student.

Here’s what I wish I would have known:

  • Do what’s important to you. People everywhere will be telling you what you should do and the best way to do it. (Like me right now!) But only you know what your goals are, and you’re the one who ultimately has to determine the best way for you to get there.
  • Know your support system. At Health and Wellness Services, we have programs and services to help support your mental, emotional and physical health. And across campus, there are so many people and offices specifically in place to help you with any challenge that may come your way.
  • Ask for help when you need it, even for the little things. And if the person you ask can’t or won’t help, keep asking until you find someone who will. I guarantee that whatever challenge you’re facing, there’s someone (usually more than one someone) on this campus who can and will help you.

Like me, you’ll get a lot of advice while you’re here at WSU. And maybe, like me, you’ll end up with a list of “I wish I would have knowns.” In the end, you’ll sort through it all and figure out what works best for you. And if you need help along the way, we’re here for you.

Paula Adams holds the position of associate director of health promotion at Health & Wellness Services and is a bit compulsive about effectiveness and efficiency. She is working toward a doctoral degree in prevention science.

How much do WSU students drink?

How much do WSU students drink?

Drinking alcohol during college seems common, but is it as common as we think? Maybe you’ve seen it in movies, heard stories from friends and siblings or seen pictures on social media. But do you know how much the average WSU student actually drinks?

You might be interested to learn that the vast majority of Cougs drink responsibly. In fact, according to the 2016 National College Health Assessment, 84.5 percent of WSU students don’t drink or drink moderately (0-9 days per month).

Interestingly, even though Cougs don’t drink that much, many perceive that their fellow students drink more than they actually do.

Perception: Many students think less than 5 percent of the student body chooses not to drink alcohol.

Reality: 18.3 percent of WSU students choose not to drink. That’s about 1 in 5!

Perception: Students report they believe about half of students drink frequently (more than 9 days a month)

Reality: Only 14.7 percent of students report they drink more than 9 days in a month.

This data reflects the overall student population. If these numbers don’t ring true for you, keep in mind that some student groups are more likely to drink excessively.

So what? Why do these numbers even matter? If people think drinking frequently is the norm, they might feel pressure to do the same in order to fit in. This can be a dangerous assumption, because it could lead students to drink more than they can handle.

To find out more about alcohol use on our campus and alcohol safety, attend one of our alcohol workshops. Our calendar of workshops can be found on CougSync.

Flu Shot Fridays are here!

Flu Shot Friday coming soon

Flu season is approaching and it’s time to mark Flu Shot Fridays on your calendar! After you get vaccinated, it takes about two weeks for your body to develop the antibodies that will protect you from flu virus. That’s why the CDC recommends you get your vaccine as early in the flu season as possible.

When and where are Flu Shot Fridays?

Every Friday from September 23 to October 28
10 am to 3pm
Washington building, ground floor entrance

Who can get a flu shot?

WSU students, faculty and staff as well as local community members can get their flu shots at Flu Shot Fridays. We won’t be able to give the vaccine to those who are pregnant or under age 18.

How much does the flu shot cost?

Flu shots are covered in full by most insurance plans. If you don’t have insurance or are concerned about costs, we’re here to help you! Contact our billing office at 509-335-3575.

Make sure to bring your insurance card! We won’t be taking payment at the time of service for Flu Shot Fridays, but we’ll take down your insurance information for billing.

Is parking available?

We’ll have some parking spaces reserved in the green lot at Stadium Way and SE Nevada St for Flu Shot Fridays. Reserved spaces will be marked with orange cones. Metered parking spots are available on NE Washington St.

There are also a number of other zoned parking lots available nearby for permit holders. For a detailed parking map, visit Transportation Services. Our building is also easily accessible via public transit. Visit Pullman Transit for routes and schedules.

What type of shot will be given?

There are two types of flu shot: intradermal and intramuscular. Intradermal shots are given by injecting a small amount of concentrated flu vaccine in the top layers of the skin. The needle used for intradermal shots is smaller than a traditional shot, which makes this type a great choice if you have a fear of needles.

Intramuscular shots are given by injecting vaccine into the muscle. At Flu Shot Fridays, we typically give intradermal injections, but you can ask for an intramuscular injection if you’d prefer one.

Can I get a shot outside Flu Shot Friday hours?

Yes! Students can make an appointment online or by phone at our clinic to receive a flu shot at their convenience.

Real stories of Cougs who take action

Real stories of Cougs who take action

We know Cougs are committed to ending violence in our community. In fact, according to a 2015 campus climate survey, 67 percent of Cougs reported they feel confident in their ability to take action to reduce interpersonal violence.

Today we’re featuring stories of real Cougs who’ve taken action. We hope you’ll enjoy their stories, and more importantly, we hope you’ll be inspired to take action the next time you see potential for violence.

alex-anderson-ctd-post-page“I knew that an acquaintance of mine was having problems with her boyfriend. Specifically, I knew that he would get violent with her while he was drinking. Not wanting to pressure her into anything, I made sure she had the contact information for ATVP and CAPS as well as the information of where she could report the incident if that was what she decided she wanted to do.” – Alex Anderson, WSU Senior, Class of 2017



“The last time I visited my home town in western Washington, I had a conversation about violence with my friends and family. I talked about statistics, barriers to intervening, as well as how to be an active, Green Dot bystander when someone is in need. Now they have talked about it with their friends and families, too, increasing the number of green dots as well!” – Kyle Murphy, WSU Senior, Class of 2017



“I think education is key when it comes to being a proactive bystander. Being a part of ASWSU and It’s on Cougs, a campaign to create awareness about sexual assault on campus, I have helped put on many events that inform students by creating an inclusive environment so each person has the ability to help make WSU a safe campus.” – Colleen McMahon, WSU Junior, Class of 2018


“I was walking home late at night with my roommate when we saw someone who was drunk fall down and they scraped their leg open on the sidewalk.  Another student walked up and helped the drunk person off the sidewalk and said ‘don’t worry, baby, I’ll get you home safe tonight.’ My roommate and I felt uncomfortable about the comment so on the count of three we yelled out ‘GREEN DOT!’ The second we did, the person who made that comment threw their hands into the air and said ‘whoa, I’m sorry, I was just kidding, I’m really not doing anything bad, I’m just trying to help!’ All it took was two seconds for us to do something to make sure that person wasn’t going to harm another student.” Anonymous

Just like the Cougs featured here, we can all work together to prevent violence.  When more Cougs take action, less violence happens.

You can take action to prevent violence right now. Sign up to join us for a bystander training, or stay connected by subscribing to receive news and updates about violence prevention at WSU.