A new way of looking at – and treating – sinus problems!

A neti-pot in action!

I just came across a great article in the New York Times about chronic sinusitis. 

Sinus problems are one of the most common issues we see at the Student Health Center (any primary health care provider will tell you the same) and for those people who suffer with them chronically, they can be one of the most frustrating.  Literally tons of antibiotics, antihistamines, and decongestants have been prescribed and for a lot of people, they don’t seem to do much. 

But there are some scientists out there looking at new theories of what causes this problem and how to treat.  I encourage you to check out the article to learn more.  Obviously, if you are having problems with your sinuses, be sure to see your primary health care provider for evaluation.  But in the mean time, this article should give you some good ideas.  Here’s the best one:

The most effective first-line intervention, said Dr. Palmer, is nasal irrigation using a neti pot or saline irrigation bottle, which helps flush out mucus and any inflammatory bacteria or allergens in it. “If you took all the people who say they have chronic sinusitis in the world, and you put them all on nasal saline irrigations, a big proportion would not have any symptoms anymore,” he said.

John A. Vaughn, MD
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University

What the Hepatitis is going on around here??

Where's my liver? (CDC)


May is Hepatitis Awareness Month – so, how much do you know? 

“Hepat-” (liver) and “-itis” (inflammation) is a general condition that can be caused by toxins, chemicals, or viruses. The most commonly recognized viral types of hepatitis are Hepatitis A, B, and C.  All three irritate the liver cells and cause abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, and discolored urine.  But, each one is a different virus and impacts your body in different ways. 

Hepatitis A travels through the body in the stomach and intestines, and can be spread between people through sewage-contaminated water or food, through direct contact with feces (poop), or through sharing of saliva. 

Hepatitis B and C travel through the blood, and can be spread through blood exposures.  Blood-borne infections can also be spread through sex activities (contact with semen and vaginal fluid), but Hepatitis B is much more likely to spread through sex than Hepatitis C.

Vaccines are currently available for Hepatitis A and B.  Research is underway for a Hepatitis C vaccine, but progress has been slow. 

Interested in more details?  Check out this CDC summary, and go the CDC Hepatitis home page.  Learn about hepatitis, how to avoid it, treat it, and prevent it.  If you have more questions, come visit us at Student Health Services.  We have professionals who can get you answers, provide testing, and offer you the available vaccines. 

Live Healthy!

Roger Miller, MD

OSU Student Health Services


Buckeye Flash Mob at Race for the Cure!

On Saturday (5/14), a flash mob featuring more than 200 people affiliated with The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) started dancing in the streets shortly before the start of the 19th annual Komen Columbus Race for the Cure.

The goal was to do something special to bring awareness to the fight against breast cancer and the importance of research in helping us find a cure, and ultimately to create a cancer-free world. The flash mob featured physicians, researchers, nurses, staff, students, cancer survivors and friends and family of Ohio State employees.

Check it out and join your fellow Buckeyes in the fight to beat cancer!  Go Bucks!!

John A. Vaughn, MD
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University

Getting Healthy for Spring!

Now that spring has finally shown up (knock on wood… this is Columbus, after all, so it could be snowing tomorrow), it’s a great time to re-commit to getting fit! The best ways to improve your overall health and wellness are by exercising and eating a healthy diet – which is really easy to say and really hard to do.  But there are some great resources at Ohio State that will hopefully make it a little easier for you.  
If you are in need of a workout program or are just not comfortable with the gym, the RPAC has personal trainers that can help you get started and provide that extra bit of motivation you might need. Information can be found on the RPAC website

Joining an intramural team is a fun way to get exercise and make friends. Ohio State has tons of intramural sports for all skill levels. Check out the Rec Sports website for more info.

Exercising outdoors is a great way to improve your cardiovascular health. Fred Beekman Park is located on Kenny Rd. between Lane Ave. and Woody Hayes. The track is a mile loop, so it is easy to monitor your progress.  The rec sports website also has cool maps of different walking loops around campus that vary by distance and location; you’re already covering a lot of this ground when you walk to class so you might as well see how much good cardiovascular work you’re doing.  You don’t have to run a marathon your first day out.  Make it safe and fun – walk with a group of friends and work on gradually increasing your pace and distance.
Following a healthy diet is another way to maintain good health.  While that is often easy to say and hard to when you don’t have time to cook or money to buy healthy foods, there are resources on campus to help you.  We have two fantastic registered dieticians here at the Student Health Center who are dedicated to helping you achieve your optimal nutritional health.

John A. Vaughn, MD
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University

Is Spray Tanning Safe?



Q: Is spray tanning safe?

A: Sunless tanners generally use an ingredient called dihydroxyacetone (DHA), a chemical that reacts with amino acids in dead skin cells on the skin surface to cause a darkened color. The color does not fade but gradually sloughs off with the skin cells over about a week.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates color additives such as DHA – if a color additive is used in an unauthorized way, it is considered unsafe under the law. The FDA safety regulations for DHA state that it should only be applied externally to the skin and not to the lips, around the eyes, or to internal body surfaces covered by mucous membranes: mouth, nose, vagina, rectum and lungs (by inhaling it). So home use of sunless tanning products is generally safe, as long as you are careful to avoid those areas. 

Spray tanning booths are a different story. The FDA cannot vouch for the safety of the use of DHA in spray tanning booths since it’s difficult to avoid exposure to the lips, eyes and mucous membranes. If you decide to go ahead with spray or mist tanning, make sure to ask whether your eyes and lips will be protected, and whether you will be protected from internal exposure by inhalation.

Compared to tanning in the sun or using UV tanning beds, spray tanning is probably a safer bet – we all know UV rays cause skin cancer, right?  Just be sure it only sticks to your skin!

John A. Vaughn, MD
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University

Travel Medicine In Focus


Gorakhpur, India

Q:  I am going to (FILL IN YOUR DESTINATION HERE) and I don’t really think I need any shots to go there.  Should I still make a travel appointment at Wilce Student Health?

A: We see OSU students traveling to nearly every destination on the globe, and the risks do vary from country to country, no doubt.  However, there is more to a travel appointment than getting an exotic vaccine.  Our travel medicine providers will: 

·   Provide current health and security information about your destination(s)

·   Update your routine immunizations

·   Recommend tuberculosis (TB) testing when indicated

·   Prescribe travel medicines, including anti-malaria pills

·   Advise you on getting adequate supplies of your prescription medicines

·   Provide information on staying healthy while traveling, such as food and water safety, sun and insect protection, and more

·   Explain and recommend travel vaccines for diseases like typhoid and yellow fever

So, even if you are traveling to a destination with limited risk, you still might want to consider coming in for some advice and recommendations. 

Wilce Student Health is an Ohio Department of Health-approved vaccine site, and routinely stocks the most commonly used travel shots at reasonable prices.  We also issue official World Health Organization vaccine certificates to all travel patients. 

Happy Travels! 

Roger Miller, MD
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University

What to do on a sunny day in Columbus… if we ever get one


Itching to get out from the library, classroom, dorm, conference room and get some exercise in the company of Mother Nature? If it ever stops raining, the City of Columbus makes it easy for you to explore the multitude of great parks here in the Central Ohio area. Get out and shake your groove thing surrounded by lush foliage and the proverbial silver lining of all those rainclouds. 

Explore the City Park system at the Columbus Parks and Recreation Website.

Or check out “getActive Columbus”.

Last, but definitely not least, the glorious Metro Parks in and around Franklin County have lots to offer!

John A. Vaughn, MD
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University