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
    • 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





Student Life Student Health Services at the Wilce Student Health Center has long been an ally of the LGBTQ community and at this time following the tragic events in Orlando, we continue to stand with the community and all human beings who value life and love. We mourn those who have lost their lives and continue to work towards an inclusive and accepting world for all.

Wilce is a facility that all students should feel welcome, safe and cared for in the best possible way. We offer comprehensive primary care services and can facilitate specialty care when indicated.  We offer the full spectrum of testing for sexually transmitted infections and we are here for questions and advice about this and other healthcare needs.

With the healthcare reforms of 2010, access and coverage for many groups previously denied care has significantly improved which includes the transgender community. We at Student Health are pleased to offer services to transgender patients not only for general primary care but also hormonal therapy for those interested in making that transition.  We strive to make everyone feel comfortable, including addressing you by your preferred name and using preferred pronouns.  Confidentiality is always a priority.  Several Student Health physicians recently attended conferences on transgender healthcare and we are working towards a focused, evidence-based pathway for providing treatment, and for following those students in a safe and healthy way.  We will discuss the risks and benefits of hormonal therapy, the typical schedule of visits and monitoring lab tests as well as what one can and cannot expect from the therapy.  We work closely with Counseling and Consultation Services and would like anyone considering transition to be working with a counselor since this is such a significant step forward in your well-being.  Please call our appointments line at (614)292-4321 to discuss your particular needs with one of our appointments staff and schedule your visit with an appropriate provider.

We wish the Columbus LGBTQ community an uplifting Pride Week and Month.


Dr. Ryan Hanson, MD


Ebola: Message from STEVEN GABBE, MD and ANDREW THOMAS, MD

October 16, 2014

Dear Students and Colleagues:

In light of the news that a Dallas nurse who has tested positive for Ebola was in Ohio from October 10-13, we want to share some information with the university community about this situation.

We can assure you that you are at no risk of contracting Ebola if you have not had direct contact with a person with active symptoms of the disease. Direct contact would include exposure to an infected person’s body fluids or providing care to an individual with active symptoms. Simply shaking hands with an individual is considered a very low risk contact. Being in the near vicinity of another individual or passing an individual in the street is considered of no risk.

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Student Life’s Student Health Center continue to be at a high level of preparedness for any potential case of Ebola Viral Disease (EVD). We continue to be in close contact with Columbus Public Health, the Ohio Department of Health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other hospitals across the state to aggressively monitor all developments in this situation. We are focused on reducing the risk of exposure as well as rapidly implementing protocols for providing care in our medical facilities or responding to public health concerns across campus. We are confident that we are prepared to care for a potential Ebola patient and plan to do so in the safest environment possible.

The CDC’s recommendation is to seek medical care immediately:

If you have traveled to the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone or if you have been in direct contact with a person with active EVD,

AND, if you develop a fever (temperature of 100.4 degrees F/38.0 degrees C or higher) and any of the other following symptoms: diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, headache, muscle pain, or unexplained bruising or bleeding.

If you meet these criteria for both known exposure AND symptoms, you should limit your contact with other people until you seek medical treatment. Do not travel anywhere besides a healthcare facility.

We will share additional information about the university’s preparedness procedures and additional resources. Until then, more information about Ebola can be found at the CDC website:

As always, the health and safety of all of our students, faculty, staff, patients, visitors and the community is our priority.
Steven G. Gabbe, MD
Senior Vice President for Health Sciences, The Ohio State University
CEO, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

Andrew Thomas, MD
Senior Associate Vice President for Health Sciences, The Ohio State University
Chief Medical Officer, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

Help! I found a tick on me! Am I going to get Lyme Disease?

deer tick versus dog tick

I have an indoor-outdoor dog. Well, he seems to think he’s an indoor dog who should have full run of the house and that the couch is his own personal domain. We beg to differ on that point…. Anyway, when taking him for walks he likes to put his nose to the ground and check out everything which means he is often walking through tall grass. And yes, along the way he is likely to pick up a tick or two. We’ve found a couple on both him and unfortunately also in the house. My husband, who also thinks the cough is his own personal domain, has found a couple of ticks on himself. (Now, he’s trying to sit in my tick-free chair – but that’s not going to happen!)

Anyway, that got me to wondering about Lyme disease. What should you do if you’ve been bit by a tick?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that Lyme disease is spread through the bite of infected ticks. In Ohio, this is through the blacklegged tick more commonly known as a deer tick. Deer ticks are tiny. An adult tick is about the size of a sesame seed, while an immature tick is closer to a poppy seed and very difficult to see. These immature ticks are the ones most likely to transmit the disease as they are difficult to see. Dog ticks, the ones we’ve had in our house, do not transmit Lyme disease (In the image on the right, the top row shows a deer tick from nymph stage to one that is engorged, while the bottom row shows a dog tick.)
Ticks can attach to any part of the body, but are often found in hard-to-see areas such as the groin, armpits, and scalp. A tick must be attached for 36-48 hours or more before the disease is transmitted.

If you find a tick on yourself, after you have finished panicking, get a pair of tweezers. Grasp the tick as close the skin’s surface as possible. Pull upward with steady, even pressure until you have removed the tick. Thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, iodine, or soap and water.

Early symptoms of Lyme disease include:

  • Red, expanding rash called erythema migrams (EM), kind of looks like a bulls-eye
  • Fatigue, chills, fever, headache, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes

If you had a tick bite, live in an area known for Lyme Disease, or have recently travelled to such an area and you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention! Make sure you tell your doctor that you have had a recent tick bite. Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics which should allow you to recover rapidly and completely.

Submitted by Tina Comston, M.Ed.

Do you belong to Generation Rx?

Are you concerned about the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs?  Are you trying to educate those around you to its dangers?  Are you concerned about the “other freshman 15”?  Then you may be part of Generation Rx.

Generation Rx began at The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy in 2007 in response to the rapid increase in accidental drug overdose deaths in Ohio.  Its purpose is to combat the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs through educational prevention.  One such component – the “other freshman 15”.  Fifteen facts about prescription drug abuse:

  1. Prescription medications are among the most abused substances in the US.
  2. The average age when prescription drug abuse starts is 21.
  3. Non-medical use of prescription drugs by college students has doubled since 1990.
  4. About half of all college students will have the opportunity to abuse a prescription drug by their sophomore year.
  5. A growing campus culture of self-diagnosis and self-prescribing has the potential to cause negative health effects and lead to the dangers of prescription drug abuse.
  6. Abusing prescription medications is not a safe alternative to using illicit “street” drugs.
  7. Using medications like Vicodin, Adderall, or Xanax that aren’t prescribed for you is against federal and state laws.
  8. Emergency department visits relating to prescription drug abuse now exceed those relating to illicit “street” drugs.
  9. Some prescription medications can be addicting.
  10. Unintentional drug overdose is leading the cause of accidental death in the US.
  11. Most people who abuse prescription medications get them from family members or friends.
  12. It is critical that we store prescription medications securely and properly dispose of them when they are no longer needed to prevent misuse or abuse by others.
  13. It is important to only use prescription medications as prescribed by a healthcare professional.
  14. When you share your prescription medications with others, you could be liable if that person is harmed.
  15. Prescription drugs can help us live longer and healthier lives – but only if they are used properly and under medical supervision.

Take some time and view the Interact play on prescription drug abuse.

If you have prescription medications that you no longer need or that have expired, bring them to the Wilce Student Health Center Pharmacy on April 17, 2014 8am – 2pm for safe disposal.  No cost, no questions.

Learn more about Generation Rx at

Submitted by Candace Haugtvedt, R.Ph., Ph.D.

Reviewed by Tina Comston, M.Ed.

Melanoma – Some Advice from Family Nurse Practioner Students

Protect your skin from the sun

ABCD pattern:  A - Asymmetrical

ABCD pattern:  B - Irregular Borders

ABCD pattern:  C - multi-colored

ABCD pattern:  D - diameter

Ohio State Family Nurse Practitioner Students Promote Melanoma Awareness:

According to the CDC, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. If diagnosed and treated early, skin cancer is very curable. Unfortunately, if skin cancer is not diagnosed until later stages, it can result in disfigurement and even death. Each year over 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with melanomas of the skin.  Please be aware of the amount of sun exposure you receive this year. You can help prevent skin cancer and still have fun in the sun outdoors by protecting your skin. Protection includes seeking shade, applying sunscreen, and wearing protecting clothing, hat and sunglasses. Remember the amount of sun exposure you get in your youth directly impacts your risk for skin cancer later in life.

The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that you perform a full body skin exam on yourself once a month and that you have one done by your doctor/dermatologist once a year. Schedule an appointment with your doctor/dermatologist if you notice any mole or skin changes following the ABCD pattern of melanoma.

For additional information, please visit

Submitted by Ohio State Family Nurse Practitioner Students:  Jennifer Ashton, Shannon Brown, Christopher Daughtery, and Amanda Warner

Help us spread the word, like our Facebook page:

Reviewed by Tina Comston, M.Ed.

Photo Credit:

Is Your Bra a “No Phone Zone”?

Are you one of the 40% of college females who has taken to the practice of storing their cell phone in their bra?  What about one of the 3% who report doing it more than 10 hours a day?  You’re in luck, two enterprising college students have invented the JoeyBra.  This bra features a side pocket big enough to hold your phone.

But – is this really a good idea?  What about the whole cell phone next to the skin causes cancer thing?

To date there is no scientific evidence proving or disproving a correlation between cell phones and cancer.  The technology is just too new for there to have been sufficient long term studies.  It could actually take as long as 20 to 30 years to accumulate and study the clinical cases where the cell phone is suspect.

Some doctors, however, say that they are seeing evidence of breast cancer that could be connected to the storage of cell phones in the bra.  Both Donna Jaynes, 38, and Tiffany Frantz, 21, were diagnosed with breast cancer. Neither had genetic or family risk factors, but both were in the habit of storing their cell phone in their bra.   The locations of their tumors were relative to where they stored their phone.

Should you declare your bra a “No Phone Zone”?  That’s up to you, but keep in mind that phone manufacturers do provide a recommendation for safe storage in their documentation.  For the IPhone that safe distance is at least 5/8 of an inch away from the body.

Submitted by Tina Comston, M.Ed.

Reviewed by Mary Lynn Kiacz, M.D.

Anatomy of a Safe, er, Less Dangerous Mirror Lake Jump

Be Safe Bucks!

Rumor has it that thousands of students will Jump into Mirror Lake on Tuesday evening.  Our health and safety concerns are not likely to impede this event, so let’s consider a few steps to make it safer.

Feet:  Wear something on your feet!  Between glass shards on High Street and sticks in the grass and unknown objects buried in the muck on the bottom of the lake, bare feet are prime targets for cuts and other trauma.  At a minimum, consider wearing a cheap pair of flip-flops, strapped on with duct tape so that they don’t fall off in the mud.

Neck:  Never, ever dive into Mirror Lake or any other shallow, murky body of water.  The risk of disaster, including catastrophic injury to the brain or spine, is ridiculously high.

Skin:  When running, jumping, wading, and falling meets rocks, sticks, broken glass, and throngs of partiers, there is great opportunity for bruises, abrasions, and lacerations.  Add contamination with skanky lake water, and risk for infection is high.  When you get home, take a shower (seems like reasonable advice regardless) and pay special attention to wash any broken skin with soap and water. 

Eyes:  If you wear contact lenses, consider leaving them at home.  At a minimum, take out the contacts as soon as you get home and wash or replace them.  Skanky water (a recurring theme) + contact lenses + horseplay + late night =  increased risk for funky mirror lake eye infection, especially if the cornea has been abraded by friction from the contact lens. 

Hypothermia:  Our colleagues in the Emergency Department at the OSU Wexner Medical Center tell us that many of the students who end up in the ER in the hours during and after the Jump suffer from hypothermia.  This isn’t surprising given typical midnight temperatures in Columbus in late November coupled with the dubious heat-retaining properties of a wet pair of speedos.  The nature of the Jump does not lend itself to staying warm and snuggly, but it also does not require coursework in computational astrophysics to appreciate that intoxication makes hypothermia all the more dangerous.

Soul:  Friends don’t let friends do the Mirror Lake Jump alone.  Go with a friend.  Keep track of your friend.  If there’s trouble, ask for help.  Call 9-1-1.  Do the right thing.

If you Jump, please be safe.  FYI, Student Health Services will be open Wednesday.

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

James R. Jacobs, MD, PhD
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University

Wash those germs right off of your hands!

Have you ever considered the door knobs/handles in your dorm?  Think about it for a minute.  How many people live in your dorm?  All of those people are going in and out of the dorm, perhaps multiple times each day and every time they do they are touching those knobs/handles.  And then you come along and you touch that knob/handle.  You have just exposed yourself to the germs that were on the hands of everyone else who used that knob/handle – YUCK!

Now consider the door knobs/handles of your classrooms and buildings.  How many people are taking classes in those buildings?  Again, every time you touch that knob/handle you are exposing yourself to the germs that were on the hands of everyone else who used that knob/handle – again YUCK!

Is it any wonder that college students get sick?!!  The most effective thing you can do to avoid getting sick, according to the CDC, is to wash your hands.  Frequent washing will help to limit the transfer of bacteria, viruses, and other microbes. 

What is the right way to wash your hands?

  • Wet your hands with clean running water (warm or cold) and apply soap.
  • Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub them well; be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Continue rubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry.

Don’t underestimate the power of hand washing! The few seconds you spend at the sink could save you trips to Student Health Services.

Submitted by Tina Comston, M.Ed.