Stomach Flu – What to Do?

If you have the stomach flu (not really the flu, by the way), which means you have been experiencing nausea and potentially vomiting, no matter how hungry you might be, do not try to eat or drink anything for at least 60 (sixty) minutes after vomiting.  You need to start small and slow.  Try small sips of water or ice chips.  Limit yourself to just 1 (one) teaspoon every 3 (three) minutes until you have consumed about 1/2 (one-half) a cup of water.  Then wait 15 (fifteen) minutes before trying more fluids.  If your nausea has not increased and you do not vomit, you can then try other “clear” liquids.  Clear as in you can see through them.  This would include:

  • water
  • fruit juices that do not contain pulp and are transparent such as grape juice, apple juice, and cranberry juice
  • Kool-aid
  • Tea – sugar or honey can be added, but no milk
  • broth, but nothing solid
  • sports drinks
  • Popsicles, Jell-O and clear hard candy can also be tried

This DOES NOT include:

  • milk products
  • juices that are acidic or contain pulp such as orange juice, pineapple juice, tomato juis and all fruit nectors
  • alcohol (that includes beer and wine)
  • coffee

After 3 (three) to 4 (four) hours, if your nausea had diminished and you have not vomited, you can then try eating some dry foods.  Again, start small and slow and think bland or boring.  Saltines (soda crackers), pretzels, and dry plain toast are good options.

After another 3 (three) to 4 (four) hours with no vomiting or worsening of your nausea you can advance to more substantial food, but again small and slow and boring.  Try some soup with rice or noodles, plain rice, baked potato (no toppings), or bread products (no toppings).

If it has been 24 hours with no incidence of nausea or vomiting you can then progress to a more substantial bland diet and include items such as skinless chicken breast, banana, or applesauce.  Best to avoid fatty, greasy, and spicy foods, as well as milk products.  Give it a day or two for your stomach to recover before resuming your regular diet.

If you find that your nausea and vomiting is not going away and it has been more than 24 (twenty-four) hours since it’s onslaught , schedule an appointment with your doctor.

Maribeth Mulholland M.D.

Take a step towards better eating

A simple step to eating better:

In college life can be crazy, each week brings new challenges and one’s eating habits get put to the back burner for a lot of people. When someone asks us what we had for dinner we always answer with the main dish: lasagna, pizza, ham and cheese

meal plan options

There are vegetable and fruit options available.

sandwich, or chicken breast. Do you ever tell someone the vegetables or fruit you are having first? “I am having broccoli with chicken breast for dinner.”

 

Start thinking about what vegetable and /fruit you are going to have with your meal first. You will begin having more because you will become mindful of these foods. Stores now have more individual vegetable and fruit portions which you can put on your shopping list, especially in the freezer section.  If you are living in an apartment off campus and on the meal plan, there are vegetable and fruit based items you can add as sides and if you don’t see any ask.

Eating better is about progress not perfection because eating perfect every day is not realistic. If you work on one healthy habit each month by the end of 12 months you will be amazed at how much you have changed.

Kristina Houser, LD

Dietician at Student Life Student Health Services

Kristina Houser, Dietician

Kristina Houser, Licensed Dietician

Going to the dietitian can be exciting for some and terrifying for others. The Student Life Student Health Services dietitian has experience with college students and the health issues they may have related to eating. She is able to coach you with understanding that you are on the meal plan or a budget. Her advice is realistic based on where you are in life right now which is college and all the demands that go with life.

She has helped our students: manage diabetes, learn how to eat for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, lower cholesterol, lose weight, deal with food allergies, adjust for gluten intolerance, eat vegetarian and make progress at being healthier with their eating habits.

Appointments can be scheduled by going on line or calling. You don’t need to have a referral but you should check with your insurance to make sure you are covered. The dietitian is covered by the Comprehensive Student Health Insurance plan.

Kristina Houser, LD

Canker Sores

Canker vs. Cold Sore

Canker vs. Cold Sore

Canker sores, known as aphthous ulcers to the scientific world, are painful sores that develop inside the mouth.  They can form on the inside surface of the cheeks, at the base of the gums, on the soft palate or on/under the tongue.  They are small and shallow and are round to oval in shape with the base usually covered by a white or gray membrane.  An intense red halo commonly surrounds each ulcer.

Canker sores should not be confused with cold sores.  Cold sores, also called fever blisters, are groups of painful fluid-filled blisters.  They are caused by the herpes simplex virus.  While canker sores are not contagious, cold sores are, extremely so.  They usually form on the lips and nose and sometimes on the gums.

The exact cause of canker sores is unknown.  Some people will develop canker sores after eating large amounts of citrus or acidic fruits and vegetables.  This includes, oranges, pineapple, lemons, tomatoes, strawberries, and figs.  Minor injury may also be a cause.  Injuries can be caused by overzealous brushing of the teeth, accidental cheek bite, a sharp tooth surface, or rubbing of braces/retainer.  Toothpastes containing sodium laurel sulfate (SLS) may also lead to canker sores in some people.  SLS is a chemical added to most toothpaste to create the foaming action which aids in the cleaning of teeth.

Other triggers could include:

  • Health conditions, such as celiac disease or Crohn’s disease.
  • Deficiencies in vitamins B12, zinc, folic acid, and iron.
  • Emotional stress.
  • Hormonal shifts during menstruation.

No special treatment is required for canker sores.  They will heal on their own in 1-2 weeks.  If treatment is desired, over-the-counter oral pain medication, such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or naproxen (Aleve) can be used for the pain.  Topical medications containing benzocaine, such as Anbesol, Kanka, Zilactin, and Orajel canker sore gel can be purchased without a prescription.  These medications can numb the pain and cover the open ulcer.  Prescription medications containing steroids such as triamcinolone in dental paste and Kenalog in Orabse can be used to hasten healing and decrease pain.  To prevent canker sores, avoid dietary triggers and eat a well-balanced diet.  Maintain good oral hygiene.  Protect the mouth by brushing and eating carefully.  Address problems with braces, retainers, and sharp tooth surfaces.  Reduce stress.  Avoid toothpaste with SLS, if it appears to be triggering mouth sores.

Maribeth Mulholland, MD

 

Are you really prepared to an Ohio State Student?

Next week you’ll be moving into the dorm or perhaps off-campus housing.  Let’s see if you prepared?

  • Schedule of classes – check!
  • Books purchased – check!
  • Map of campus – check!
  • Coordinated dorm furniture with roommate – check!
  • Purchased bedding, etc. – check!
  • Internet connection – check!
  • Plan for what to do when you get sick ???  Huh??

My guess is you ( or your parents) have been making lists of all that needs to be done, purchased, packed, etc. before you move onto campus.  That is a good thing – but have you considered what you will do if – mostly likely – when you get sick. I know, I know.  You never get sick.  But up till now you’ve been living in a fairly controlled environment.  But,  you are about to move into a living situation where the front door itself is shared with several thousand other people.  People who may or may not be quite as diligent as you at washing their hands.  And then there’s the classrooms, cafeterias, and RPAC.  That is a serious amount of door handle touching and a serious amount of germ sharing.  The odds that you will remain the person “who never gets sick” is, well pretty slim.

So, what can you to do to prepare just in case you do get sick?

  • Make sure you have the necessary information.  Any medical facility you visit will require the following items so make sure you have them with you when you come to campus AND make sure you know where you put them so you can easily access them should you get sick.
    • Medical history of both yourself and your family, here’s a link to the form we use here at Student Life Student Health Services https://shs.osu.edu/forms1/appointments/
    • Insurance card, if it’s a copy make sure it includes both the front and back
  • Know the locations of medical facilities within easy reach of your dorm/housing
    • Student Life Student Health Services is located in the middle of campus, between the Thompson Library and the RPAC.  We are here just for students so this is a great location to know, but we are only open 8am – 6pm weekdays (Fridays 8am – 5pm).  What if you get sick outside of our business hours?  You can find a list of after hour care facilities on our website https://shs.osu.edu/.

 

 

 

How to Lower Your Blood Pressure

From time to time students will come to see me with mildly elevated blood pressure.  The goal is to have a blood pressure reading that is < 120/80.  I don’t typically start medications unless the blood pressure is > 140/90.

If you find your blood pressure slightly elevated, how do you go about lowering it without resorting to medications?

  • Control your weight, striving to keep your BMI < 25, through a good diet and regular exercise.
  • No smoking
  • Keep alcohol at a minimum, no more than 1 drink daily for women and 2 drinks daily for men.
  • Monitor your blood pressure, there are BP machines in the RPAC near the Sport Shop on the ground floor.

After making the above changes for 3 months, schedule an appointment with your health care provider for a re-evaluation.

Douglas Radman, M.D.

Medication Disposal Day – Don’t rush to flush!

The Student Health Services Pharmacy will be holding our 6th annual DEA-approved Medication Disposal Day Thursday, April 20th, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. 

All students, staff, and faculty are invited to bring unused or expired medicines to be disposed of in a safe, legal, and environmentally-friendly way.  This service is entirely free of charge and is completely anonymous.  No questions asked!  We will take any expired, damaged or unused medications (even if they are a controlled substance like narcotic pain medication or ADD medication).

Please note: Do not remove medication labels before drop-off.  Syringes, needles, and thermometers will not be accepted.

Our goal is to address a vital public safety and public health issue by removing potentially dangerous prescription drugs from your backpacks and medicine cabinets.

  • Since 2007, more Ohians have died from unintentional drug overdosing than motor vehicle accidents.
  • More than 7 million Americans currently abuse prescription drugs, according to the 2009 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
  • Each day, approximately 2,500 teens use prescription drugs for the first time to get high, according to the Partnership for a Drug Free America.
  • Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including the home medicine cabinet.

These expired medicines can be as bad for our environment as they are for our health.  Measurable quantities of some common medications are showing up in lakes, reservoirs, and municipal water supplies, thought to be due in large part to improper flushing of medications down sinks and toilets.

So make the right choice and join us for our 5th Annual Medication Disposal Day!  It’s a great way to keep yourself healthy and our campus safe!

This event is jointly sponsored by Student Health Services (Office of Student Life), Department of Public Safety, and Generation Rx.

Phil Anderson, RPh
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University

You might be a germophobe if…

  • You die a little inside when someone sneezes without covering their mouth.
  • You probably own at least 50 pocket hand sanitizers.
  • Lysol/bleach is a household necessity.
  • You hate unnecessary physical contact.
  • Handshakes make you anxious.
  • You wonder how the seven dwarfs could continue living with Sneezy.

But despite your best efforts, you may still be coming into contact with germs.  Check out this Mythbuster episode where they track the transfer of germs at a typical gathering.

 

 

Trouble Falling a Sleep – Could be your electronics

Trouble falling asleep? That could be my mantra.  I am bone tired and yet as soon as I hit the pillow I am wide awake.  I can feel myself starting to drift off and then, boom, my mind jerks me back awake and I just lie there.  Ugh!  Or I drift off to sleep only to awaken in the middle of the night unable to fall back asleep.  Oh, what I would give for even 6 straight hours of sleep.

Trust me when I tell you this – I have tried everything. Sleepy time tea, warm milk with honey and nutmeg, no liquids after 8pm, meditation, relaxation exercises, breathing sequences, Benadryl.  You name it, I have been willing to give it a try.

Blue light affects sleep

Ok, well almost everything. The experts are constantly saying that we need to turn off all devices at least 2 hours before bed.  Seriously – 2 hours?!  By the time I get home from work, do the dinner thing and whatever else needs to be done – that would mean no devices at all on the weekday evenings.  Is that realistic?  That’s when I catch up with my family on Facebook, play a couple of games, and read a chapter in a book.  I also hold online chats with students a couple of nights a week and yes, computers and laptops count as devices.

So why the insistence that we turn off devices at least 2 hours before bed? It all has to do with blue light.  According to Scientific American the blue light emitted from our devices has a higher concentration than natural light and this affects our levels of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.  Normally melatonin would be released naturally by our bodies a few hours before bedtime as the sun sets.  The blue light from our devices, however, resets our body’s clocks to a later schedule which in turn interferes with our sleep.

So, what to do? I don’t know about you, but not using electronics after 8pm just is not practical – especially on those nights I meet with students.  Turns out that there are several blue light filters out there that you can install on your devices, yes even your computer and laptop.  These apps allow you to essentially implement a night mode by indicating your time zone and then automatically adjust the lighting of your device as the day progresses, from a strong blue light during the day to an amber color at night.  When I get home tonight, I’m going to install one of these apps on my IPad and computer and give it a go.  I’ll let you know the results in a couple of weeks.

Mythbusters – Hand, Elbow, or Hankie

We are constantly told to COVER OUR COUGH or to SNEEZE INTO OUR SLEEVE, but does it really matter?  Is sneezing or coughing into my sleeve really any better than using a tissue, for instance?  Mythbusters decided to put it to the test.  They inhaled some dye and then sneezed, using different barriers, the hand, a hankie, and a sleeve.  The results – SLEEVE!  Not only did this result in the least amount of exposure, but the odds of passing it on to another person through a handshake or by touching another surface was infinitely less.  You can view their test cases below.