Healthy Skin

Healthy Skin

By Morgan Karasek

November is National Healthy Skin Month, and with winter rapidly major effects on your skin start to happen due to the temperature. Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and its job is to not only interact with other organs, but also the world around you. It prevents dehydration by holding in moisture, keeps your body temperature constant, contains nerve endings so you feel hot, and it keeps you healthy by protecting your body against harmful bacteria and viruses. With all of these awesome things that your skin does, it is important you take care of it, especially during the winter months when the weather can be especially harmful.

1. Beware of the sun: skin damage can happen during any season, not justeletubbiest the summer like some may think. Prolonged exposure to the sun can cause damage to your skin in the form of wrinkles, discolored areas, benign tumors, and the most dangerous skin cancer malignant melanoma. Use sunscreen, stay in the shade, and wear protective clothing when going out into the sunshine.

2. Don’t smoke: No, it doesn’t look cool, unless you consider having older and winkled kjbpskin to be cool. Smoking causes your skin to look older. It narrows the tiny blood vessels in your face causing a decrease in blood flow to you skin, lacking it of nutrient that give your skin that healthy glow. Smoking also damages collagen and elastin which are what makes your skin so strong and stretchy. When you damage your collagen and elastin and make repetitive facial expressions such as when you smoke, it causes wrinkles.

3. Eat healthy and drink water: Eating fruits and vegetables proteins and whole wheat grains can help your skin because healthy foods contain vitamins and antioxidants that keep your skin clear and healthy such as vitamin C.miz

4. Manage your stress: distress, the negative form of stress, can cause your skin to become more sensitive and prone to acne breakouts. To prevent this, set reasonable limits to whatever is stressing you out and take time out of your day to do what you enjoy.

Sources:

https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/kids/healthy-skin

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/skin-care/art-20048237?pg=1

 

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Holidays & Alcohol

Holidays & Alcohol

By Callie Hilbert

As we approach the last week of the semester and then the dreaded finals week, the holiday season also approaches!! If you will be celebrating with friends and family after putting a grueling semester behind you, it’s important to remember to be safe for those of you who choose to drink over the holidays. Here are some tips on how to avoid risky situations and be safe when drinking over the holidays. Remember, if you are under 21 your only safe and legal alternative is to abstain from drinking.

1. Plan Ahead

Planning ahead before you go out is essential. Before you go out decide your limits, how much you will drink, do you want to have sex, do you have protection, transportation. It’s also important to make sure you keep your phone on you in case of an emergency, and make sure it is fully charged or bring a charger with you. You also want to make sure you stay with your group and look out for each other.

2. Know how much you are drinking

Knowing how different types of alcohol can affect you is important in planning ahead as well. Some types of alcohol may have stronger and faster affects, and a mixed drink may have more alcohol than you realize. Knowing what a standard drink is can help you determine what your limits are. One standard drink equals 12 ounces of beer, 4 ounces of wine, and 1 once of 100 proof liquor, or 1.5 ounces of 80 proof liquor. Mixing alcohol with energy drinks can be dangerous since caffeine can mask the effects of alcohol which could lead to more risky behaviors. You should also never leave your drink unattended.standard-drink-picture

3. Space, Pace, Sip

In other words, limit yourself to a certain amount of drinks during a certain time-period, aka don’t slam drinks! Moderation is key to safe drinking, and keeping track of how much you are drinking helps you know your limits to prevent risky situations.

4. Skip Drinking Games!

This goes along with pacing yourself. Drinking games may be fun, but playing them can get you very drunk very quickly, just not a good idea!

5. Eat Before Drinking

Blood alcohol content (BAC) is the ratio of alcohol to blood in the body. Your BAC increases as you drink more alcohol, and a higher BAC causes you to experience the negative effects of drinking (blacking out, passing out, vomiting). Drinking on an empty stomach causes BAC to rise very quickly, so it is important to eat before you drink. Eating before, during, and after drinking slows down the rate at which alcohol is absorbed into the blood so you get intoxicated less quickly.

6. Dress Appropriately

We live in Wisconsin, it gets cold! Make sure you are dressing warm whenever you go outside. Often times you hear people say alcohol makes them feel warmer. While consuming alcohol may make you feel warmer, it doesn’t really keep you warm or prevent hypothermia. Instead, drinking alcohol actually lowers your body’s core temperature. So dress weather appropriate!

7. Stay Hydrated!

Make sure to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated before, during, and after you go out. Alcohol is a diuretic so it can cause you to become dehydrated. Alternating between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, bringing a water bottle, or just remembering to drink water throughout the night can help prevent dehydration, and it will help you not feel as terrible the next morning.

Some of us like to celebrate the end of the year holidays and the beginning of the new year with drinking. Being safe and avoiding risky situations will help you enjoy the holidays. For more information, see alcohol resources on the student health services website here; http://www.uwec.edu/CASE/index.htm and have a happy holiday!

 

 

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GAME CHANGER!

game changer

Long time, no see! Ashlea here, your friendly neighborhood SWAT member, writing a blog post about the biggest game changer ever: THE INTERNAL CONDOM. Some of you might know this better as the “female” condom, but this implies that the condom is gendered and can only be used by people who identify as “female”- excluding trans, nonbinary, gender non-conforming, genderqueer and gender-fluid folks- so we like to use the term “internal” instead!

*** GAME CHANGER AHEAD***

An internal condom works very similarly to an external condom (more commonly known as just a “condom”); it can protect against both pregnancy and STI transmission which makes it an ideal contraceptive for many. Another plus is that many internal condoms are made from polyurethane or nitrile, so anyone out there with a latex allergy or sensitivity can safely use this product. This contraception option is often chosen because if a partner won’t wear a condom, you as a receptive have the power to still protect yourself against pregnancy/STIs with this wonderful invention. They also look very similar to an external condom, except that:

  1. the base of the internal condom contains an actual ring made from flexible plastic, where the external condom just has a thin “ring” of latex (or whatever material it’s made of), and
  2. where there is a reservoir at the tip of the external condom, the internal condom has a smaller ring that will sit against the cervix when inserted into a vagina. Other than that, they look and function just about the same!

 

insteTo insert an internal condom, pinch the smaller ring that will sit against the cervix and insert it into the vagina. Make sure to push it back as far against the cervix as you can so that it stays in place for the duration of your fun! A nice benefit of this contraception is that you can insert the internal condom hours prior to sexual intercourse! Internal condoms can also be used for anal sex, which is another reason why we remove “female” from the label! It is suggested to remove the inner ring that would otherwise sit against the cervix before intercourse.internal

Now, for the “game changer” part (at least in my opinion as well as some of the opinions I found of many people online): These condoms help reduce friction (and therefore discomfort) for the receptive partner compared to when their partner wears an external condom!!! Sure, use all the lube you want, but some degree of friction happens no matter how much you lube up. When using the internal condom, it lays flat against the walls of the vagina (or anus) and reduces the amount of friction experience during intercourse. And let me tell you, less friction = a happier body.

 

 

But now for the tricky part: internal condoms are not widely available at drugstores, or anywhere for that matter… WHAT THE HECK, CONDOM COMPANIES?! You’d think that with the seemingly millions of external condom brands out there that at least one would have thought by now how great of an idea it would be to profit from the internal condom market, but alas, no such luck. FC2, the only FDA approved brand for internal condoms, manufactures internal condoms for health centers around the country, especially Planned Parenthoods and Eau Claire’s own Family Planning Clinic inside of the City-County Health Department.

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There are a few ways around this mega-inconvenience. The easiest way is to visit our office in Schofield 26! We receive our stock of internal condoms from the Family Planning Clinic, meaning that the Family Planning Clinic also has these available for purchase- but in our office they are free to you! Another way to score some for free is to visit Planned Parenthood in Eau Claire like I mentioned above.

 

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If you have any additional questions about the internal condom, please don’t hesitate to contact our office by stopping in Schofield 26 or emailing us at swat@uwec.edu. You can also visit bedsider.org for more information on the internal condom along with many other different kinds of contraceptive options!

 

Stay safe, Blugolds!!

 

 

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Spice Up Your Water

Spice Up Your H2O!

By: Ashlea Orth

 

I know this is going to sound weird but… I hate water. There, I said it. I’m used to getting all kinds of surprised reactions from people when I tell them this confession. “How can you NOT like water?!” “But water is so good for you!!” Yeah, yeah, people, I know. But that doesn’t make it taste any better! Since there’s nothing to it taste-wise, I don’t have a physical desire to drink water. Sure, I get thirsty, but I’d rather drink ginger ale, juice, soy milk, ANYTHING but water. This summer, I made a commitment to myself to drink more water. Like, a lot more. According to my height, weight, and activity level, I should be drinking about 91 ounces of water PER DAY. That’s a lot of water for someone who hates drinking it.

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Luckily, naturally-flavored sparkling water exists, but in my opinion it’s kind of expensive when compared to the free water that I can get from the faucet in my apartment or any of the various drinkinga2 fountains found around campus. And I’d rather not add any kind of flavoring to it like Crystal Light or Mio because I know that that stuff is just a bunch of sugar, and if I’m trying to drink more water and make healthier choices, added flavoring like that is not going to help me out.

 

So I went to Target and bought a huge Nalgene 48 oz water bottle (it literally towers over average-ounce water bottles, shown below with 48 oz on the left and 32 oz on the right) and tried really hard to drink two of those every day. But buying a huge water bottle didn’t make me want to drink the water inside it any a3more than before. I even downloaded an Water Drink Reminder app to my phone that sends me a reminder every hour (or as often as you want) to drink water. This helps a little bit, but I still thought of drinking water as a chore.

 

Eventually, I thought to add lemons to my water. I grew up watching my mom ordering water with a lemon at restaurants, so I decided to give it a go. I noticed that since my water now had flavor, I actually wanted to drink it! So, for the rest of the summer, my water contained lemons, cucumber, and even blueberries (though not all at the same time, but to each their own!) and I was usually able to reach my goal of drinking about 96 ounces of water a day.

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Once the school year started and my schedule became much busier than my summer schedule, I slacked on reaching my daily water goal. But now I’m back to adding lemons to my water and peeing every hour (TMI??)! And adding fruit to your water actually has some health benefits to go along with the benefit of turning your boring old water into something tasty.

lemo.jpgAdding lemons and limes to your water can help your digestive system as well as help detox your liver the healthy way.

Apples are loaded with iron and are conveniently available year-round, so this makes for an easy fruit to add to your water.  

Blueberries and strawberries are full of antioxidants.

Grapefruit helps flush toxins and waste from your body’s cells.greap.jpg

Oranges are known for being a great source of vitamin C, which keeps your immune system healthy and strong.

Cucumber and mint leaves make for a very refreshing summer drink and also contain vitamins like B-5 and other antioxidants.

If you’re feeling extra bold, mix a bunch of different fruits together!

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For any of you other water-haters out there, I hope this inspires you to add some kick to your water! And to you water-lovers, this is going to bring your hydration game to a whole new level.

 

 

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The Importance of Breakfast

 

 

We have all had those mornings where we’re running late for class or work so we decide to skip breakfast. What most people don’t know, is just how important and beneficial breakfast is. There are endless benefits to eating a healthy and nutritious meal in the morning that are well worth the extra time.

 

  1. Weight Control

There have been multiple studies that have suggested that people who eat breakfast regularly have less fluctuations in their weight and weigh less than people who skip breakfast. There are many reasons for this, but one of the most prevalent theories is that people who skip breakfast tend to overeat later in the day to compensate for their missed meal. They also experience more hunger throughout the day, which leads to increased snacking. Eating breakfast is also linked with other healthy habits, such as exercising and making healthy food choices.  ruler

We have all had those mornings where we’re running late for class or work so we decide to skip breakfast. What most people don’t know, is just how important and beneficial breakfast is. There are endless benefits to eating a healthy and nutritious meal in the morning that are well worth the extra time.

2. Food helps you feel more awake and energized  

assagIn the most basic sense, food is fuel for your body. If your body doesn’t have the fuel it needs, it will not work as well as it would with the energy it would receive from food. Without food, your body and mind will be sluggish and you will feel tired. So do your body a favor and give it the energy it needs to perform best! 

3. Breakfast improves memory 

As college students, our memory and retention skills are often tested in classes and through exams. There has been research that has suggested that students who eat breakfast perform better on tests that they take in the morning. When you eat breakfast your concentration and focus also improves because you aren’t focused on the hunger pangs you feel in your stomach. 

Healthy Breakfast Options 

  • Scrambled eggs and fruit 
  • Overnight oats with fruit 
  • Yogurt parfait 
  • Protein bar 
  • High-fiber cereal with low-fat milk  
  • English Muffin with nut butter  

 

As you can see, there are many healthy and delicious breakfast options available and many of them can be taken on-the-go. Eating breakfast every morning is a great healthy decision to make a habit out of, and the benefits you will receive from it will last a life time.  

 

Sources: http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/090111p44.shtml and  https://www.rush.edu/health-wellness/discover-health/why-you-should-eat-breakfast  

 

Myths about UTI’s

Myths about UTI’s

By: Callie Hilbert

Urinary tract infection, also known as UTI or bladder infections, are a common infection in any part of the urinary system such as the urethra, the bladder, or the kidneys. Common symptoms include a frequent urge to urinate, and a painful burning feeling during urination. There are over 3 million cases of UTI’s every year in the US, making them one of the most common infections. There is a lot of different information out there on UTI’s, so here are some common myths you might hear about them

1.      If you get one, you must have poor hygiene

Most UTI’s are caused by the bacterium Escherichia coli, or E. Coli. Research shows that some birth control methods such as spermicide or a diaphragm also can contribute to causes of UTI’s. Other factors such as urinary tract complications or abnormalities could be to blame. So even with perfect hygiene habits, you can still fall victim to a UTI.asf.png

2.      Only women get UTI’s

While UTI’s are more common for women due to a shorter urinary tract, it’s still possible for men to develop a UTI. UTI’s in men are more common in older age since older men are more likely to develop an enlarged prostrate gland which in turn increases the risk for developing an UTI. 

3.      Only sexually active women get UTI’s

Sex can be a trigger for women to develop UTI’s, but as we talked about earlier it is not the only cause. However anytime a woman has sex, she is coming into contact with bacteria and putting herself at risk for getting a UTI. Some ways to prevent UTI’s associated with sex is to urinate at least 30 minutes before and after sex, clean your genital area before and after sex, and stay hydrated.

4.      Having more than One UTI is dangerous

Of course if you’ve had several UTI’s in a span of 6 months, you should look more closely into it. But UTI’s are so common that some women can have recurring infections close together. Although most UTI’s go away on their own, if you experience any symptoms you should see your doctor to get tested for a UTI.

5.      You can cure a UTI with cranberry juice

It is often recommended to drink cranberry juice to cure a UTI. Lab experiments with mice show that cranberry juice has substances that do lower the bacteria count in the bladder. However, there is no strong evidence that drinking cranberry juice eliminates the infection or speeds up recovery.

 

Even though many UTI’s go away on their own, if you experience any symptoms of a UTI you should go see your doctor. If left untreated, UTI’s can spread and cause a kidney infection or other more serious issues. You can even get tested for a UTI at student health services for $10! You can make an appointment online by clicking this link: http://www.uwec.edu/shs/

 If you are diagnosed with a UTI, you will be prescribed an antibiotic. Make sure that you take the FULL COURSE of the antibiotics, even after you feel better. Stopping the antibiotic treatment prematurely can encourage growth of antibiotic resistant bacteria, making UTI’s harder to treat.

For more information about UTI’s, see:

http://www.idph.state.il.us/about/womenshealth/factsheets/uti.htm

https://www.everydayhealth.com/urinary-tract-infections/the-link-between-utis-and-sex.aspx

https://www.healthline.com/health/mens-health/uti-in-men#overview1

 

 

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5 Ways to Stay Healthy Throughout the Holidays

5 Ways to Stay Healthy Throughout the Holidays

By: Morgan Karasek  

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Let’s be real, holiday season is germ season. Whether it is being cramped in the same stores with a bunch of other people all shopping for that perfect Christmas gift, or all the hugs and kisses you get from family members you barely know. Becoming sick during the Holidays is easy, but here are some tips and tricks for fighting away those relentless germs and enjoying the holidays!

 

1)     Wash Your Hands!

        Now I know this is quite obvious, but many people underestimate the power of handwashing. You are in contact with more people than normal during the holidays and with the increase in people comes with the increase in germs. The recommended time for an effective hand wash is 20 seconds with warm water and soap. SCRUB AWAY!

 

2)     Manage Your Stress

        It’s the Holidays! Take time for yourself and your family to relax and unwind from school or work because stress can have some serious effects on your body. Stress impacts your heart causing increased blood pressure, constriction of blood vessels and arrhythmias. In fact, stress is now considered a major risk factor in heart disease right under smoking, obesity and lack of exercise. Stress posing a threat to your immune system has become such a problem that researchers have made a new field called psychoneuroimmunology to study the relationship between moods, emotional states, hormonal levels, and changes in the nervous and immune system. When you are drowning in stress, it can compromise the effectiveness of your immune system making you more susceptible to getting sick. So, take the time to relax with your friends and family to fight away those germs!

 

3)     Do Not Indulge

        I know it is easier said than done when your mom makes the best turkey in the world, or your aunt makes those cookies from when you were a kid and it brings you back to the simpler times of childhood. It can be hard to not overeat during the Holidays. As hard as it may be, keeping those temping food out of hands reach is an easy way to prevent over eating. If you cannot reach it, you are less likely to eat it. Another way to prevent over eating is to eat at a slower pace. When you eat slower you give your stomach time to trigger its receptors and tell your body you’re full. By doing this you feel more satisfied by eating less. So, take your time and remember there is no prize for finishing first.

 

4)     Beware of the Empty Calorie Drinks

        Yes, I am talking about alcohol, not only do you not feel full drinking alcohol, but alcohol is an appetite stimulant causing you to want to eat more. If you are going to drink, eat something healthy to act like a buffer, and space your drinks out with water.

5)     Stay Active

        I know it can be hard to stay active during the holidays but in order to prevent unnecessary weight gain you need to get moving. Now you don’t need to go hardcore and lift weights for hours, if that’s not your thing, but there are plenty of ways to fit in exercises throughout your day. Walk your dog, play a game of football or Frisbee, play the Wii, and even dancing counts as ways to stay active. Every little bit counts! 

6)     Get Vaccinated

        During the germ season, it is recommended that everyone gets a flu shot. When you are given a flu shot, your body comes in contact with a weak or dead strain of the virus that cannot make you sick. This causes your body’s white blood cells to make antibodies so when your body comes in contact with the normal virus your body has the ability to fight it off and protect you. Think of them as a training course for your immune system! If you would like to know more about how vaccines work, click on the link below! 

If you would like to know more or see where I got my information from look no further!

https://www.cdc.gov/features/healthytips/index.html

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolutionary-psychiatry/201103/how-stress-makes-you-sick-and-sad

https://www.vaccines.gov/basics/work/index.html