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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Spring break safety: Health, safety experts offer tips for break”

    With Spring Break just around the corner, UA health officials want students to remember the magic word: “”moderation.”” Following basic safety rules can prevent fun in the sun from turning into a tropical nightmare, the officials said.

    Travel immunizations

    No matter where students are traveling, there might be an immunization they should get, said Immunization and Travel Clinic Nurse Judy Stivers.

    Stivers said students traveling to Southern Mexico should ask their doctors if they need typhoid or malaria immunizations, but even travelers within the United States should consider getting a Hepatitis A vaccination.

    Stivers said whether someone is traveling across the state or the world, it’s possible to get Hepatitis A, usually from unsanitary conditions in restaurants.

    Because many immunizations don’t take effect for up to two weeks, Stivers said students should consult their doctors or the UA travel clinic immediately to find out what types of vaccinations they need to be safe at their destination.

    Sunburns and skin damage

    Although the prospect of a week without classes, work or obligations is enough to cause students to forget about sunscreen, those decisions could be a big mistake, said Campus Health educator Lee Ann Hamilton.

    Hamilton advised students who plan to spend a lot of time in the sun to wear sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 15 and to reapply often to avoid getting burned.

    Hamilton said although statistics show that three sunburns dramatically increase the chances of getting skin cancer, any burn is damaging.

    “”Any sunburn you get increases your risk (of skin cancer), besides it being painful and ugly,”” Hamilton said.

    Hamilton said limiting sun exposure is the best solution, but it’s possible to spend your days on the beach without suffering long-term side effects.

    “”If you’re going to stay in the sun and have fun, just wear sunscreen and you can avoid the pain, peeling and potential for skin cancer,”” Hamilton said.

    Safe sex

    Students who plan to increase their sexual activity during Spring Break should reconsider, Hamilton said.

    “”It doesn’t matter if it’s spring break or midterms,”” Hamilton said. “”You need to protect your health.””

    Hamilton advised students to think about the long-term effects of their choices.

    “”You do have to think, ‘Is this opportunity worth a disease that can last a lifetime?'”” Hamilton said. “”Is this potential orgasm worth the worry of a pregnancy?””

    Hamilton also said students should know that although “”expressing sexuality”” through ways other than intercourse is a safer option than sex itself, the instance of herpes transmission through oral sex is on the rise.

    Drinking moderately, using birth control and condoms or even telling a potential sexual partner to wait until protection is available are all ways to minimize the risks of pregnancy and sexually-transmitted diseases, Hamilton said.

    Drugs and Alcohol

    UA alcohol and drug prevention specialist Lynn Reyes said students who drink should know that the higher their blood alcohol content, the higher their risk for other problems.

    “”We know from research that most negative consequences start accruing at a .06 BAC,”” Reyes said.

    Reyes said that due to the dangerous nature of drugs, a zero-tolerance attitude toward them is the best way to keep safe. However, students who do choose to use any type of drugs should be aware that coupling them with alcohol can be harmful or even fatal.

    Taking some depressant medications like anti-anxiety pills or painkillers with alcohol is far from safe, Reyes said.

    “”You can take alcohol in moderate amounts and you can take medications as directed by a physician,”” Reyes said. “”Don’t assume it’s safe to combine them.””

    Reyes said if a friend does get alcohol poisoning or drug-induced sickness, that person should not be left alone and should be taken to the hospital. Reyes also said people who are vomiting from alcohol poisoning should not be given any food because it could cause them to choke.

    The Basics

    Hamilton reminded students that whether they’re traveling to Phoenix or to Europe, there are certain safety tips they shouldn’t forget.

    All outdoor activities like hiking and swimming should be done in groups, Hamilton said. Safe driving is also a important issue during Spring Break and year round.

    “”Wear your seatbelt. Drive the speed limit,”” Hamilton said. “”Those are some of the best pieces of advice to follow all the time.””

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