10 Ways to Prevent Hearing Loss

Adapted from:
Hearing Loss:
A permanent condition in a “temporary” culture

by Kirsten Falcone, RN 
Hilbert College Wellness Center

Click here to download the full article


Hearing loss. You think it inflicts only elderly people, right? Think again. Recent research reveals that more young people are developing permanent hearing loss, and they may not even realize it. According to the CDC, 20% of people aged 20-29 already have noise-induced hearing loss.

Why is this such a concern? Because, unlike many other ailments, hearing loss is permanent. Over time, a loss of hearing in someone young will accumulate and exacerbate that person’s eventual age-related hearing loss. Experts predict hearing-related issues will be even more pronounced for the current younger generation when they reach retirement age.

Which noises cause hearing loss? Anything over 85 decibels for an extended period of time, or much louder and shorter bursts of noise for a shorter period of time, are both damaging.

Which noises are higher than 85 decibels? According to a Purdue University Website:

  • Garbage disposals
  • Factories
  • Freight trains (50 feet away)
  • Diesel trucks traveling at 40mph (50 feet away)
  • Food blenders

In the 90 to 110 decibel category:

  • Jet planes taking off (at 1,000 feet)
  • Lawn mowers
  • Motorcycles (at 25 feet)
  • Outboard motors
  • Car horns (at 3 feet)
  • Live rock music
  • Public bathroom hand dryers
  • Thunderclaps

At 150 decibels, such as what occurs at 80 feet away from a jet taking off, your eardrums will rupture.

Wearing ear buds, as many people do, can intensify noise because they are put directly into the ear canal. This can raise noise levels by nine decibels. At maximum volume, ear buds can reach 105 decibels! 

What can you do to prevent hearing loss?

  1. When listening to electronic devices, wear “noise-canceling” headphones that cover the whole ear. Ear buds (which sit in the ear canal) tend to let other sounds in, thus making it necessary to turn up the volume.
  2. If you insist on wearing ear buds, invest in custom ear buds that fit your ears. They have a tighter fit, and you won’t have to turn up the volume to hear with them.
  3. Follow the 60/60 Rule: Limit your ear-bud/ear-phone listening to under 60 minutes per day, and keep the volume under 60 percent.
  4. Wear ear plugs at concerts.
  5. Plug your ears with your fingers when an ambulance passes, during traditional gun salutes, or when the fire trucks blast their sirens at parades.
  6. Don’t sit right under the annual fireworks without ear protection.
  7. Wear ear protection when you know you will be exposed to loud noises for long periods of time, such as mowing the lawn.
  8. Use paper towels in public bathrooms instead of the hand dryers.
  9. In traffic, keep the windows rolled up.
  10. Get your ears tested to find your baseline. Start taking precautions from now on.

Here’s your takeaway: There are many health conditions that are temporary and improvable by changing your lifestyle or by taking medicine. But, hearing isn’t one of them. When it’s gone, it’s gone.


If you read this article to the end, and you would like to enter the Hilbert College Wellness Center monthly drawing, stop by the Wellness Center between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, or send an email with a brief description of what you learned, to wellnesscenter@hilbert.edu.

9 Tips to Eat Healthy In The Winter

Adapted from:
Tips on Eating Healthfully in the Winter
by Kirsten Falcone, RN 
Hilbert College Wellness Center

Click here to download the full article


Have you found a little extra padding around your middle lately? You are not alone!

Many people find that wintertime eating is tricky when it comes to maintaining weight. The holidays and their fattening menus have passed, New Year’s resolutions are almost forgotten, and we are back to our old habits.

Here are 9 tips that can help you reach the warmer days with your waistline intact and a healthy spring in your step:

  1. Drink more water. The dry winter air tends to dehydrate us, and what we mistake for hunger is often just thirst. Drinking a glass of water before you eat will hydrate you, help curb your appetite, and aid digestion.
  2. Eat fruits and vegetables. A good rule of thumb is to make sure half your plate is fruits and vegetables. Try to pass up anything with fat or sugar added, such as fruit compote or au gratin potatoes. Eat your vegetables and fruit before you eat your main course, so that you acquire the nutrients you need and do not overdo it with the more high calorie entree. (No, French fries and potato chips do not count as vegetables!)
  3. Opt for lean meats. If given a choice between a hot dog, cheeseburger, or a chicken breast, choose the chicken breast more often.
  4. Focus on whole grains.  The fiber in a true whole grain product is better for your heart and digestion, and whole grain products contain more nutrients. Try to choose whole wheat or whole grain products instead of white bread.
  5. Avoid processed food. Try to avoid quick fix solutions, like cereal bars, protein bars, and other foods in prepackaged containers. Whole foods are better and have fewer additives.
  6. Eat just half. It’s okay to eat only half of the food on your plate, or simply use a smaller plate to control your portions. Do not let your conscience guilt you into retaining your membership in the Clean Plate Club.
  7. Sample the fattening choices. Yes, it is okay to “treat yourself” to more fattening items. Just limit it to a spoonful or two!
  8. Stay away from junk food. Keep away from the bags of chips, cookies, popcorn, and other temptations. This is a good time to “just say no.” If you need something to munch on, go for the carrots, almonds, apples, bananas, and other easily tote-able foods.
  9. Skip dessert more often. Save dessert for one day per week. You can curb your cravings and satisfy a sweet tooth by substituting fresh fruit for dessert after a meal.

Do you have helpful, healthful tips to share? Comment below!


If you read this article to the end, and you would like to enter the Hilbert College Wellness Center monthly drawing, stop by the Wellness Center between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, or send me an email with a brief description of what you learned, at wellnesscenter@hilbert.edu.

How to Beat The Winter Blahs

Adapted from:
Lacking Get-up-and-go? 
How to beat the winter blahs
by Kirsten Falcone, RN 
Hilbert College Wellness Center

Click here to download the full article


Winter is officially here with her cold, snow, freezing rain, and short daylight hours. If you are like many, winter weather can make you feel like going into your “cave” and hibernating until spring. But you’re not a bear, and reality continues even in less-than-stellar weather. When the blahs of winter seem to overcome you, here are some ways to beat them:

1. Follow a healthy lifestyle.

There are several factors that contribute to an overall healthy lifestyle.

Eat well.
Eat a balance of lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, bread and cereals, and milk and dairy products; and stay away from junk food and sugary snacks as much as possible. Drinking enough water (64 to 125 ounces per day) is also important for all your bodily systems to function.

Be active.
Exercise improves health and mood. In the winter, you can get enough exercise by going to the gym, running up and down your residence hall stairs for 20 minutes, or putting on your coat and boots and going outside for a walk.

Get plenty of rest.
The proper amount of sleep varies from individual to individual, but the general recommendation is 7 to 9 hours per night. Be consistent with the number of hours you get, and wind down each night to keep a bedtime around 10:00 or 11:00 p.m.

2. Check that your symptoms aren’t something more serious.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) runs rampant this time of year, but there is help. For more information, see the Wellness Center article on SAD here.

3. Switch things up.

Gain new perspectives by getting out and about! Drive to the Botanical Gardens in Lackawanna, study in a different location like a local coffee shop, or visit Chestnut Ridge Park for a hike in the woods.

Pamper yourself, especially if you have achieved a personal goal, such as doing well on a test or resisting the temptation to skip your daily exercise.

Take a break from social media to go for a walk, visit a friend, or read a novel. Finding ways to use your critical thinking skills also helps to beat any winter woes.

4. Think about the future.

While Western New York winters can sometimes feel endless, Spring will be here before you know it. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Give yourself positive self-talk, and tell yourself you will make it!


If you read this article to the end, and you would like to enter the Hilbert College Wellness Center monthly drawing, stop by the Wellness Center between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, or send me an email with a brief description of what you learned, at wellnesscenter@hilbert.edu.


For more ideas on beating the winter blahs, visit these Web Sites:

WebMD depression quiz

The Huffington Post

World of Psychology

4 Methods To Break Your Cell Phone Addiction

Put Down the Phone!
Health Consequences of Using Cell Phones
From the Hilbert College Wellness Center
by Kirsten Falcone, RN

The topic of cell phones and courtesy frequently comes up in conversation these days. Generally, the sentiment is that cell phone users do not follow polite protocol regarding the use of their phones. In fact, many users are becoming less aware of just how obtrusive, interrupting, and just plain rude the use of cell phones is these days.

All social etiquette aside, if you know anyone like this (or if this is you), it might help to break the habit by learning the health consequences of too much cell phone use.

According to several reliable sources, these are just a few of the possible health consequences cell phone abuse can cause:

1.     Injury or death in a car accident (25 percent of car accidents in the U.S. are caused by cell phone distraction)

2.     Addiction involving dopamine and serotonin, with physical withdrawal symptoms

3.     Anxiety and depression

4.     Brain alteration

5.     Eye diseases (including retinal damage leading to macular degeneration)

6.     Nerve damage to eyes (occipital neuralgia)

7.     Finger, neck, back and other musculoskeletal problems

8.     Carpal tunnel syndrome

9.     Physical inactivity, leading to obesity-related diseases

10.     Slow reaction time, caused by distraction

11.     Increased likelihood of falls/accidents, also caused by distraction

12.     Stress

13.     Disturbed sleep

14.     Bacterial infection/reinfection from the unsanitized surface of the phone

15.     Decreased attention span

16.     Social isolation

17.     Hearing damage (if listening to headphones above 85 decibels)

18.     Possibility of carcinogenic radiation

YIKES!

So What are some solutions? The logical solution is to decrease the amount of time spent on your phone, and this can be accomplished by putting restrictions and boundaries around your own phone use. One way to do that is to change your mindset.

Here are four methods to break your cell phone addiction:

  1. Think privacy. Whenever possible, do not text or talk on the phone if someone else is there to see or hear you. Most phone conversations can wait until you are safely out of sight of other humans.
  2. Think courtesy. Is there someone physically in front of you waiting for your attention, and you are using your phone? This is not considered polite. Always give physical people priority. While we’re on the topic of courtesy, make it a habit to turn off your phone in worship services, at work, in theaters, and while eating with family, friends and/or colleagues.
  3. Think safety. Are you walking, driving, or operating machinery? Put your phone away until you can safely pick it up again! A great suggestion is to keep your phone in the back seat of your car, out of arm’s reach, so you will not be tempted to use it while driving.
  4. Think necessity. Do you really need your phone at all times? Couldn’t you leave it in your room or the back seat of your car? Do you need to keep social media or games on it? Or, could you delete those apps in favor of instead using your computer later, after homework is done? (Just kidding! Homework is never done.) If you do not live in a residence hall, is it necessary to keep the phone next to your bed while you sleep? Probably not. That is why alarm clocks were invented!

So, the next time you are in a group of people, just put down the phone, encourage them to do the same, and engage with them. You just might gain a bit of old-fashioned connectedness, which we all need for our good health!


If you read this article to the end, and you would like to enter the Hilbert College Wellness Center monthly drawing, stop by the Wellness Center between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, or send me an email with a brief description of what you learned, at wellnesscenter@hilbert.edu.


For more information on cell phone usage and physical health, and cell phone usage tips, visit the following sites:

Health.com

Journal of Psychology & Psychotherapy

Natural Living Ideas

Reader’s Digest

11 Ways to Stay Healthy During Winter Break

Keeping it “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”
How to Stay Healthy on Winter Break!
From the Hilbert College Wellness Center
by Kirsten Falcone, RN

It’s mid-December, and you finally made it to winter break. Congratulations! While you’ve earned the right to celebrate after cramming for finals, there’s one more fact you should learn: Students are often more susceptible to illness during the holidays because of the considerable amount of stress they endure during the end-of-semester rush. Bummer, right? No one wants to be sick during the “most wonderful time of the year”. Luckily, there are some ways that can help you avoid feeling down and out during break.

Here are 11 tips to help you fight off holiday illness:

1.     Maintain proper hygiene by washing hands frequently, avoiding touching your face, and covering your sneezes and coughs.

2.     Drink enough water. Try to drink at least 64 to 96 ounces (or more) per day or the equivalent of four to six 16-ounce bottles of water, or eight to 12 8-ounce glasses of water. Another way to measure is to drink 50 to 100 percent of your weight number in ounces. For example, if you weigh 150 lbs., drink 75 to 150 ounces of water every day.

3.     Manage your stress by not over-scheduling, sticking to a budget for gifts and entertainment, and avoiding negativity. (e.g., watching too much TV news, letting a negative relative influence you, negative self-talk)

4.     Catch up on your sleep by going to bed at the same time each night. After all, you will not have to study for any tests! Try to get at least seven to nine hours of sleep each night.

5.     Stay warm and dry, and dress in layers.

6.     Eat healthfully, and avoid too many sweets. It is possible to take only one cookie or to save room for your favorite dessert, and forego having a slice of each one. Also, when you are consuming a large meal, eat your veggies first.

7.     Exercise wisely. Even in the winter months, exercise is important to maintain a healthy body and brain, and it keeps your immune system strong. It might be safe to go for a walk each day, but then again, there could be ice or snow in your way. Use proper footwear or exercise indoors if possible.

8.     Do not smoke or vape. Smoking exacerbates respiratory illnesses, and it lowers resistance to illness and disease. Even though vaping does not contain the tar in a traditional cigarette, it is still a danger to your health. If you smoke or vape, it is pertinent to your long-term health to quit now. You will never regret that decision!

9.     Be wise when drinking alcohol. Drinking alcohol is generally not healthful. In fact, the only alcohol recognized as beneficial is one glass (five ounces) of red wine per day for women (two for men). If you do happen to drink beyond what is considered healthful, here are some guidelines to follow: One drink per hour is all your liver can metabolize. One drink is defined as five ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, or one ounce of liquor. In order to maintain fluid levels, drink eight ounces of water per hour also. (This will also help ward off a hangover the next day.) Don’t binge drink, which is defined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) as imbibing five or more drinks for men, or four or more drinks for women, in a two-hour period.

10.     Take time for down time. Make certain this involves praying, listening to music you enjoy, thinking positive thoughts, a hobby you love, and/or spending time with someone you enjoy.

11.     Be a blessing to others. Remember, holiday time is not all about you. The more you give of yourself, the more blessed and healthy you will be. Go caroling, visit an old friend or a nursing home, smile at and hug your negative relatives, and go to church. Do something good for someone else. Spiritual health and physical health are not two separate entities; they complement each other!

The Wellness Center wishes you a very healthy and happy Holiday Season and New Year!


If you read this article to the end, and you would like to enter the Hilbert College Wellness Center monthly drawing, stop by the Wellness Center between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, or send me an email with a brief description of what you learned, at wellnesscenter@hilbert.edu.


For more information on managing your health during the holidays, visit these Web sites:

CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

Activebeat.com

Realsimple.com

9 Ways to Manage Late Semester Stress

Deadlines, Darkness, & Holidays – Oh My!
How to Manage Late Semester Stress
From the Hilbert College Wellness Center
by Kirsten Falcone, RN

It is that time of the year again. School projects are in full swing, finals are on the horizon, and you haven’t even started your holiday shopping! Many students are stressed, and most are losing sleep. Some have caught a “bug” and are now feeling behind. Stress is, according to Dictionary.com, “a specific response by the body to a stimulus, as fear or pain, that disturbs or interferes with the normal physiological equilibrium of an organism.” But, according to WebMD.com, it is more simply “what you feel when you have to handle more than you are used to [handling].” Does that sound familiar? If so, read on.

Certainly, some stress can be a good thing. Some studies show that a little stress may make you more resilient in the long run. The stress of a deadline approaching can also help you to hone all your attention onto that deadline. There is some evidence that short-term stress also provides the motivation to succeed. Once successful, one can reflect upon accomplishments, and this can actually be quite positive due to the reinforcement it provides! There is also some evidence that short-term stress can actually help ward off the common cold.

However, did you know stress also plays a role in most illness? That is because when we experience chronic stress, an overabundance of epinephrine (a.k.a. adrenaline) and cortisol (stress hormones) prevent many bodily systems, including the immune system, from functioning at full capacity. Even busy college students can take the time to benefit from some key lifestyle changes in order to stay healthy during a stressful time.

Here are 9 ways to lower the negative effects of stress:

  1. Get enough sleep.  Go to bed at the same time every night, and sleep at least seven to nine hours. For example, if you do well on eight hours of sleep per night, stick with that. Do not assume that seven will be enough. (For more information on sleep, read a recent Wellness Center article here.
  2. Make a list each day, and put the most important items at the top. Check them off as you go.
  3. Don’t procrastinate. Get your homework or important tasks done right away, so you won’t prolong the worry and the nagging in the back of your mind. Even just getting started on a long project will lessen the impact of the work that lies ahead.
  4. Don’t skip meals, and keep healthy snacks like fresh fruits and vegetables or low-sugar granola bars in your backpack. Conversely, avoid junk food, caffeine, and added sugar. Give your body the fuel it needs. (Here is the link to the Wellness Center article on what to eat at the campus cafeteria.)
  5. Drink enough water. This can range from eight 8-ounce glasses per day to an ounce for every two pounds you weigh. Drinking enough water will also help drive off the munchies, and it will increase your energy level almost immediately. (More about dehydration here)
  6. Stay away from alcohol and drugs, and stop smoking and/or vapingThese put even more stress on your body by lowering your immune response.
  7. Exercise. Take a brisk walk around campus twice, or work out in the campus recreation center. Do this at least three times per week. Look for any special programs that may be open to all students.
  8. Humor yourself. Find the humor in situations. Subscribe to a joke page on social media. Ask your friends if they know any jokes. There is scientific evidence that making yourself smile actually increases your happiness. It is true that laughter is often the best medicine.
  9. Talk to a good friend or counselor. Bottled-up emotions come out in other ways. Venting with a friend also helps your friend connect with you.

Some other ways to manage stress, in no particular order:


If you read this article to the end, and you would like to enter the Hilbert College Wellness Center monthly drawing, stop by the Wellness Center between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, or send me an email with a brief description of what you learned, at wellnesscenter@hilbert.edu.

 

For more information on stress, check out these sources:

Mayo Clinic, Holiday Stress Management
CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
WebMD
Mayo Clinic, Stress Management In-Depth
Psychology Today, Why Some Stress Is Good
Health.com, Ways Stress Can Be Good For You

14 Ways Thankfulness Can Improve Your Health

Thankfulness Significant in Good Health
From the Hilbert College Wellness Center
by Kirsten Falcone, RN

Ask any health practitioner what the keys to good health are, and he or she will tell you exercise, proper nutrition, enough sleep, and (especially in this culture) the properly prescribed drug.

However, this season of Thanksgiving is the perfect timing to point out the connection between thankfulness (or gratitude) and good health.

Gratitude is defined as a highly positive feeling of being thankful for phenomena that are of personal value and significance.

Studies show that feeling gratitude has a positive correlation to good health.

Here are 14 of the many ways people with gratitude benefit:

  1. They take good care of themselves (exercise, healthy diet, regular physicals)
  2. They can handle stress better, thereby reducing ailments such as heart disease and cancer
  3. Their optimism boosts the immune system, protecting them from colds, flu and disease, but also making existing disease less damaging and more minor
  4. They are less affected by severe loss because they focus on what is positive, not what is negative
  5. Their gratitude can be a buffer against post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  6. Counting their blessings helps take the focus off negative thought patterns
  7. They live longer and have a slowed aging process
  8. They have lower rates of depression
  9. They are more patient
  10. They have healthier relationships
  11. They have greater willpower and self-control
  12. They have higher self-esteem
  13. Their feelings of thankfulness improve their quality of sleep
  14. They know the difference between instant gratification and true gratitude

What are some ways to show gratitude?

  • Being kind and respectful
  • Acknowledging that your good fortune is a result of a connection to something larger than yourself, such as other people, your environment and/or God
  • Thanking people! In person, or with a thank-you note
  • Thanking God! People who pray cultivate gratitude more easily than those who do not
  • Smiling—smiling produces positive feelings that improve mood

How can someone increase gratitude? Some ways are:

  • Showing gratitude (see above) can actually help increase gratitude
  • Keeping a gratitude journal
  • Writing a list of things in your life that you take for granted
  • Using positive self-talk
  • Finding a new perspective on your situation, to reframe it in a positive manner
  • Expressing your thankfulness to someone else
  • Finding the humorous side of your situation
  • Choosing to spend time with positive people
  • Practicing kindness
  • Thinking positive thoughts on purpose, especially about people and situations in your life

Many wise people have said, “What you choose to focus on will grow.” This Thanksgiving (and every day thereafter), choose to focus on gratitude!


If you read this article to the end, and you would like to enter the Hilbert College Wellness Center monthly drawing, stop by the Wellness Center between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, or send me an email with a brief description of what you learned, at wellnesscenter@hilbert.edu.

For in-depth information on how Gratitude can improve physical and mental health, visit these sites:

Web MD:
https://www.webmd.com/women/features/gratitute-health-boost#1

Mayo Clinic (Positive vs. Negative Self-Talk):
https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/positive-thinking/art-20043950

Mayo Clinic (Practicing Kindness):
https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/how-sharing-kindness-can-make-you-healthier-happier/art-20390060

Harvard University (Information on Research and More…):
https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier

Time Magazine (Research on the Health Benefits of Gratitude):
http://time.com/5026174/health-benefits-of-gratitude/

Mind Body Green:
https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-11819/scientific-proof-that-being-thankful-improves-your-health.html

Today (Be Thankful: Science Says Gratitude is Good for Your Health):
https://www.today.com/health/be-thankful-science-says-gratitude-good-your-health-t58256

Happier Human (31 Benefits of Gratitude):
https://www.happierhuman.com/benefits-of-gratitude/

Psychology Today (7 Scientfically Proven Benefits of Gratitude):
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/what-mentally-strong-people-dont-do/201504/7-scientifically-proven-benefits-gratitude

Psychiatry (Research abstract on “Gratitude and Well Being, the Benefits of Appreciation”):
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3010965/

American Heart Association:
https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-lifestyle/mental-health-and-wellbeing/thankfulness-how-gratitude-can-help-your-health

Avoiding Cold and Flu Viruses

fluseasonFrom the Hilbert College Wellness Center
by Kirsten Falcone, RN

The fall weather is here, and people are spending more time indoors. It is not too soon for cold and flu awareness and prevention!

Colds and influenza are both caused by viruses, but cold symptoms include a sore throat, runny nose, sneezing, congestion and coughing; and the flu adds on fever, muscle aches, chills and headaches (and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea).

Nobody has time to be sick—especially college students—so let’s review the basics of avoiding germs that cause illness.

The good news is you may possibly avoid catching both of them if you follow these tips:

  • Wash your hands regularly. This has been proven to be the number one defense against germs!
    https://community.hilbert.edu/2018/09/19/its-cold-flu-season-wash-your-hands/
  • Contain your coughs and sneezes. A sneeze can travel up to 200 feet! Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough. Recommended ways to do this are by coughing and sneezing into a tissue, into your elbow, into your shirt, or even into your non-dominant hand (if you wash your hands right away).
  • Don’t share water bottles, cups, or utensils. This is common sense, but not always observed.
  • Get a flu shot. A flu shot will help protect against three or four of the most prevalent influenza strains, depending upon which vaccination is available. (The next opportunity to receive a flu shot on campus will be at the Hilbert Wellness Fair on Wednesday, November 7, in the West Herr Atrium from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.)
    https://community.hilbert.edu/2018/10/02/flu-shots-are-on-the-way/
  • Disinfect your bathroom—handles, knobs, sink, countertop. Also disinfect all door knobs and surfaces where germs are more likely to proliferate.
  • Stay home to avoid infecting classmates. Professors are usually sympathetic toward students who call or email them beforehand when they will miss because of illness. (If you need an excuse note, come and see the Hilbert Wellness Center nurse, on duty Monday through Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the back of St. Joseph Hall.)
  • Take good care of you (follow healthful lifestyle habits)—nutrition and hydration, exercise, rest, etc. When you don’t maintain healthful habits, your immune system will weaken, giving germs the advantage.
  • Maintain a positive attitude. Studies show that optimistic people become ill less often than their pessimistic counterparts. You can do this by staying involved in life, giving to others, caring for a pet (if you are able), listening to music, taking up a hobby, meditating and praying, etc.
  • Avoid ill friends. Give them chicken soup, and then make your exit!
  • Don’t touch your face—especially your nose, mouth and eyes. Germs make their entrance into your body through these orifices, since they have the perfect medium for growth.
  • Reduce your stress. Do this by exercising, eating right, and getting enough sleep.
  • Don’t smoke or vape. Smoking puts your lungs at a higher risk for infection with a respiratory virus. It also lowers your resistance to disease. Quitting now is a decision you will never regret!
  • Brush your teeth and tongue two or three times per day. Your mouth can be like a petri dish for germs. By keeping it clean, you may stop a respiratory virus in its tracks.
  • Take your vitamin C. Vitamin C is well-known for boosting the body’s defense mechanisms. It can be found in supplements, but the best way to obtain it is through your daily diet. Fresh fruit, as well as some vegetables, including bell peppers, leafy green vegetables, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and squash are all abundant in vitamin C.
  • Eat red apples. They contain an antioxidant called quercetin, which strengthens your immune system. New research has discovered that blueberries, green tea, broccoli, and cranberries also contain quercetin.
  • Don’t assume you are sick if you have only one symptom. If you have a sore throat, don’t give into the temptation of thinking you are getting sick. Sometimes you will come down with something. But if you are vigilant about taking care of yourself, a sore throat may be the only symptom you will experience.

If you read this article to the end, and you would like to be in the Hilbert College Wellness Center monthly drawing, stop by the Wellness Center between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For more information on avoiding colds and the flu, visit these Web Sites:

WebMD:            

http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/default.htm

http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/ss/slideshow-foods-cold

MedlinePlus:

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/commoncold.html

 

Feeling Disconnected? How to conquer homesickness while away at college

FROM THE HILBERT COLLEGE WELLNESS CENTER

Feeling Disconnected?
How to conquer homesickness while away at college
By Kirsten Falcone, RN

Are you, or someone you know, feeling a little blue lately? It isn’t difficult to imagine that this is a common problem across college campuses right now. The excitement of being away from home and the novelty of new classes have worn off, and reality has set in. This is hard work! Plus, you miss your family, friends, and even your pets! Everything is a little overwhelming, to say the least. Sometimes it is easy to fall into a brief pit of depression.

It is, therefore, helpful to know the difference between depression and homesickness. Depression has these signs and symptoms: feeling down, hopeless, worthless, helpless, irritable, restless, disinterested in activities you formerly enjoyed, difficulty concentrating, difficulty making decisions, disturbed sleep patterns, weight gain or loss, and sometimes thoughts of death or suicide. Homesickness usually exhibits milder symptoms and is accompanied by longing thoughts of people and places left behind, and a feeling of loss, especially loss of real connection.

If these feelings are new to you, perhaps you indeed do have a bit of homesickness. You are not alone! Homesickness is normal! Even seasoned college students have this feeling from time to time. The good news is homesickness can be only temporary, if you make some adjustments. Here are some ideas:

  • Sleep. Make sure you are getting the right amount. Seven to nine hours of sleep at the same time every night does wonders for the mood. It is also crucial for good health. Discover how many hours you need, and try to get that every night.
  • Exercise. Just a brisk half-hour walk three times per week is enough to change your outlook, especially if you take a friend. On Hilbert’s campus, Don Vincent leads a group on runs or walks on Wednesdays at 3:15 p.m., meeting out back by the service road in between the soccer fields.
  • Fresh air. A dose of fresh air can lift your spirits. Go outside!
  • Sunshine. Besides improving our moods, sunshine actually has a reaction with your skin that produces vitamin D. Studies show that vitamin D could lessen the symptoms of depression.
  • Vitamin D Supplements. You can also supplement with vitamin D. However, since your body uses fat to absorb vitamin D, you may want to consult your doctor before taking large doses. The best bet is to add food rich in vitamin D to your diet. Some foods that have vitamin D are salmon, swordfish, mackerel, tuna, sardines, egg yolk, beef liver, and fortified cereal and milk.
  • Proper nutrition. Skip the sugary pop, junk food and fried food, and opt for some fresh veggies and a lean piece of meat. Add vitamin D fortified milk (see above) and some whole grains, and you will feel human again.
  • Hydration. Drinking enough H2O is actually energizing. It increases a sense of well-being by helping to maintain almost every chemical reaction in your body. In fact, depression is one of the symptoms of dehydration.
  • Socialization.  This is what you especially need right now. One idea is to attend religious services. Mass on Hilbert campus is Wednesdays at 8:00 a.m. in St. Clare Chapel. There are also numerous churches in the area who will welcome students warmly. Other ideas are joining a club, attending social events on campus, and becoming a volunteer. Hang out with new friends. Be patient if you don’t connect with everyone you meet on the first try. Just don’t spend too much time alone. Be selective, and choose positive people.
  • Keep active. It takes a little determination sometimes, but making yourself show up for events and activities is worth the effort. “I always encourage students to purposely be active, busy, and involved—in classes, clubs, or activities,” says Jeff Papia, Director of Mission Integration and Campus Ministry.
  • Talk therapy. Go talk to someone who is trained to help walk you through. Sometimes having an expert there to hold your hand is just what you need. At Hilbert College, that expert is Psychologist Phyllis Dewey, who is located in St. Joseph Hall. Phyllis is eager to help all students with this and any other issues that crop up. Phyllis’s phone number is 926-8930, and her email address is pdewey@hilbert.edu.
  • Avoiding alcohol. Alcohol is a known depressant. Overdrinking on a regular basis can cause brain damage and change your brain chemistry. Currently, the only alcohol considered healthful is five ounces of red wine per day for women and 10 ounces per day for men.
  • Antidepressants.  Use these only as a last resort after you have made lifestyle changes, and only if you experience long-term depression. There is no “happy” pill. In fact, these drugs take several weeks to take effect. Antidepressant medication has side effects that are…well…depressing! Their dosage also needs regular fine-tuning. However, some people do show improvement on these drugs, and physicians prescribe them quite regularly.
  • Perspective. Get off-campus once in a while. Plan to go home for the weekend occasionally, if possible, (but ideally, not every weekend!) Try something new, or go see a movie. Drive to Lake Erie to watch the sunset. Visit downtown Buffalo’s waterfront. Take a trip to a museum, or visit a local park. Do something to take your mind off your homesickness.
  • Keeping organized. Write down all your assigned work, classes, and events in an agenda. The Student Life office, in Franciscan Hall, has free Student Handbooks with an academic calendar contained inside. Writing everything down will increase your sense of control, thus reducing your homesickness.
  • Journaling your feelings. Vent your concerns safely in a journal or diary. This will help you become more aware of your feelings, so that you can move forward.
  • Play music. Listen to upbeat music. Make certain its message is positive. You might even want to sing along, which can help move oxygen throughout your body and brain. If you can play an instrument, go ahead and serenade your roommate!
  • Calling home. Give yourself permission to call home as much as you need to, right now. A phone call is better than a text or an email (or even snail mail!) because your voice inflections can be heard, and you can hear theirs. One useful suggestion is keeping a picture of your loved ones handy to remind you how much you are loved.
  • Focusing on the positive. “Eighty percent of success is showing up.”—Woody Allen. So, just show up. Don’t miss class, even if you don’t feel motivated. Get involved in campus activities, even if you doubt yourself. Invite a new friend to go to lunch with you, even if it feels awkward. Remember, everyone else feels that way, too, even if it doesn’t appear that way. Ask your R.A. for advice. But most of all, give it time. Give yourself a break. Take a deep breath. Things will get better!

If you read this article to the end, and you would like to be in the Hilbert College Wellness Center monthly drawing, stop by the Wellness Center between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For additional information on conquering homesickness, visit these Web sites:

WebMD general information:
http://www.webmd.com/depression/tc/topic-overview-depression

Focus on the Family
http://www.focusonthefamily.com/lifechallenges/emotional-health/depression/depression

Allegheny College:
http://sites.allegheny.edu/deanofstudents/wellness-education/todays-topic/suggestions-for-coping-with-homesickness/

 

Flu Shots are on the Way!

From the Hilbert College Wellness Center

Roll up your Sleeve:
Flu Shots are on the Way!
By Kirsten Falcone, RN

If you have not received your flu shot yet, here is good news! There are two dates approaching on which you may be able to attain your flu vaccine on campus in the West Herr Atrium. Mark your calendar for:

Wednesday, October 3 from 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., or

Wednesday, November 7 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Here is what you need to know about the flu vaccine:

What is the flu? Influenza (flu) is a contagious infection that spreads most easily each year from October to May (flu season). A virus causes the flu, and coughing, sneezing and personal contact are the ways it spreads. Everyone is susceptible to the flu virus, but symptoms can vary by age and immunity status. Typical symptoms are fever with chills, sore throat, achy muscles, unexplained fatigue, coughing, headache and a runny or stuffy nose.

The flu causes thousands of deaths in the United States every year. Many more are hospitalized. Most of these people are immunity challenged, such as infants and young people, people 65 and older, pregnant women, and others with compromised immune systems.

How can I prevent contracting the flu? Even if you are not immunity challenged, medical experts believe one of the best ways to stop the virus from spreading is by attaining a flu vaccine. A flu vaccine can also keep you from contracting the flu, or it may help make your symptoms less severe. Because there is no “live virus” in the vaccine, a flu vaccine cannot cause the flu. (As always, remember hand washing is the ultimate way for you to prevent the spread of viruses.)

Can I still get the flu if I get a flu vaccine? Yes. A flu vaccine contains only those strains of the virus thought to be most prevalent for the year in question. The flu vaccine offered on campus will be “trivalent,” meaning it will protect against three common flu strains. (There is also a “quadrivalent” flu vaccine available many places, upon request.) It is possible to contract a rarer strain of the virus. Further, because the vaccine takes approximately two weeks to become effective, you may still become ill within that two-week window of time. However, once immunity is established, it will protect you for the entire flu season.

There are illnesses that look like flu, but are actually other illnesses. This may explain why some people have claimed that the flu vaccine caused them to contract the flu. This is probably not the case.

Should some people forgo the flu vaccine? Yes. People who have had Guillain-Barre Syndrome, or someone not feeling well, should not get the vaccine. In the past, people with egg allergies could not receive a flu vaccine. However, now only a very small percentage of those people ever have any kind of reaction. If you have a history of a severe egg allergy, you should still get your flu shot in a medical setting, and be monitored for 30 minutes.

For otherwise healthy people, side effects of the flu vaccine can be rare or mild. But, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), they may include skin soreness around the area of the vaccination; hoarseness; itchy, sore, red eyes; cough; muscle aches; fever; itching; fatigue; and headaches. These mild effects usually last one or two days, but they are a much better alternative than contracting full-blown influenza. Most health professionals agree that the flu vaccine is a worthy effort in keeping healthy through the winter months. So go ahead and roll up your sleeve!

For more information, visit these Web sites:

Medline Plus
https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/flu.html

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season-2017-2018.htm
https://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/egg-allergies.htm

Rite Aid Flu Shot Information
https://shop.riteaid.com/info/pharmacy/services/vaccine-central/immunization-information/flu?gclid=CPmw–7xocgCFZeaNwod2VIPmQ&gclsrc=ds