Ready for summer? Safe Swimming Tips from the CDC

For us land-locked Ohioans, summer swimming means one thing – heading for the pool, the lake, the water park, right? 

Swimming is a great way to get exercise, be social, and enjoy your summer free time (ok, except for you grad students, who are busy 24/7).

But, how much do you think about the water in which you are leisurely floating?  The CDC wants you to consider some health issues surrounding taking a swim. 

Issue 1 – You have been having diarrhea on and off for the past day.  Is swimming a good idea for you and your fellow swimmers? 

Stay tuned for more healthy swimming tips this summer on BuckMD!

Roger Miller, MD (OSU Student Health Services)


Students – Ride for Team Buckeye in Pelotonia 12!

 Did you know that 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will be diagnosed with cancer?

Help change this startling statistic by riding with us on August 11th in Pelotonia 12! Pelotonia is a grass roots bike tour with one goal: to end cancer. Last year, Pelotonia raised a record $13.1 million for life saving cancer research at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.

  • Every dollar raised by ridersgoes directly to cancer research.
  • Every rider will receive a Team Buckeye jersey.
  • As a Buckeye, the registration fee is reduced and your fund raising minimum can be as low as $650, depending on how far you commit to ride.
  • All funds must be raised by Friday, October 12, 2012.

Please read the Full Student Guidelines carefully, and then visit here to register. 

Thanks and Go Bucks!

John Vaughn, MD (OSU Student Health Services)

Roger Miller, MD (OSU Student Health Services)

Give Student Health Your Old Drugs!

The Student Health Services Pharmacy will be holding our 2nd annual DEA-approved drug Take-Back Day this Wednesday, May 30th, 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 and unused medications (even if they are a controlled substance like narcotic pain medication or ADD medication), as well as sharps containers (containers that store used needles). 

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 2nd 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

For the Student Traveler, Part II

We hope you do get a chance to study abroad and want you to know that we are here to help you do it. In Part I, we talked about things you should do before you head out of the country.

Once you have gotten your shots, there are still a number of things to keep in mind WHILE traveling that will reduce risks for short- and long-term health issues resulting from your travels.

Most students have great experiences abroad, but travel can pose some risks to your health and safety.  Student Health Services is prepared to guide you through some of those hazards and make sure you are armed with everything you need to stay safe – good information and advice as well as vaccines and medicines. 

Question – do you know the most common cause of preventable death in travelers in other countries?  Malaria?  Typhoid?  Flu?  Guess again.  It’s motor vehicle accidents. 

Watch the following video for more useful prevention information from the CDC:


BTW, you need a passport to do all of this stuff.  Don’t have one?  Check out the Office of International Affairs website to find out how to get one. 

Bon Voyage!

Roger Miller, MD (OSU Student Health Services)

Please tell my girlfriend I didn’t cheat on her!

I was just diagnosed with Mononucleosis and my girlfriend INSISTS that I can ONLY have gotten it from kissing someone. I have never cheated on my girlfriend and never will.  How can I prove her wrong so she calms down?  PLEASE HELP!

Infectious mononucleosis (“mono”) became known as “the kissing disease” in the 1950’s when Dr. Robert J. Hoagland, the chief medical officer at West Point, found that out of 73 cadets who had it, 71 had been involved in “deep kissing” within the past six weeks.  Like other catchy names that have stuck around despite having fairly little to do with the infection they describe – I’m looking at you, ringworm – it tends to cause more trouble than it prevents.

Mono is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) which is spread mainly through the saliva of people who have had the infection.  EBV has also been isolated in cervical epithelial cells and seminal fluid, which suggests that it might be transmitted through sex as well.  (But I would suggest NOT bringing that point up with your girlfriend – it’s kind of theoretical and based on a blood test, so it’s really impossible to determine whether it was the kissing or the sex that spread the virus).     

Yes, heavy smooching is one good way to catch mono (they don’t call it “swapping spit” for nothing), but there are other ways to pick it up: sharing cups or utensils or toothbrushes.  Mono isn’t really a super contagious infection, but the virus can be shed in someone’s saliva for months or even years after the infection has cleared up, so it can be spread by people who aren’t actively sick.  Heck, if your girlfriend had mono in the past, it’s theoretically possible that you caught it from kissing her

What it comes down to is that it’s impossible to say exactly where or from whom you got the infection, but you can reassure your girlfriend that your having mono is not definitive proof of infidelity.

I hope this helps convince her that you are an upstanding guy.  If you want a little non-medical advice, I’d recommend sending her the link to this post on a card attached to some flowers. 

Good luck!

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

For the Student Traveler, Part I

Surfer on the Beach

Thinking of taking a trip to another country this summer?  Now is the time to start making plans to protect your health while you travel.  Vaccinations and other treatments are highly recommended, and sometimes even required for certain destinations. 

Want to make your trip a learning experience (and get some course credit at the same time)?  The Office of International Affairs has lots of information about the wide array of programs available.

Student Health Services Travel Medicine is ready to assist you with all the steps needed for your pre-travel health preparations.  The following brief video from the Centers for Disease Control has a number of helpful hints:



Healthy Travels! 

Roger Miller, MD (OSU Student Health Services)

Pale is Hot – Cancer’s Not! May is National Skin Cancer Month

Public Health Image Library

Public Health Image Library

Public Health Image Library

In news you can use, the World Health Organization announced that tanning beds definitely cause cancer. Until now, discussions about the cancer causing effects of ultraviolet radiation (either from the sun or from tanning beds) always involved wishy-washy modifiers like probably.   No more! Tanning beds have now officially joined the ranks of other goodies like asbestos, tobacco, coal tar, mustard gas, and (for all you chemistry majors out there) the ever popular N,N-Bis(2-chloroethyl)-2-naphthylamine.

The incidence of melanoma – the worst kind of skin cancer – from ultraviolet light exposure has increased dramatically over the last three decades, particularly in young women.  We aren’t talking about a few isolated cases here, either. According to the American Cancer Society, there were 62,000 new cases diagnosed in the United States in the last year alone, and 8,000 people died from it!  Researchers believe that excessive exposure to UV radiation before the age of 30 is a very significant risk factor for developing melanoma.

The tanning bed industry has long maintained that their beds were safe because they mostly emit the “safe” UVA form of ultraviolet light.  Turns out that in their rush to get you (and your wallets) on their tanning beds, they might have been a little… overly optimistic.  UVA, UVB, and UVC all cause cancer, no matter where it comes from.

The moral of this story, young Buckeyes, is that the healthy glow of a tan is not healthy at all.  This summer, make like an extra from the set of Dark Shadows and go for pale!  Pale is best – put your sunscreen to the test!

Vicki Rentel, MD (Student Health Services Alum)

Is it OK to sleep in my contact lenses? May is Healthy Vision Month!

click to enlarge

The Student Health Center

Q: Is it OK to sleep in my contact lenses? What if they are a “Night & Day” brand?

A: Even though there are particular designs of lenses that are approved for “extended wear” (the industry term for overnight wear), it is very important to have your eyes examined to ensure that they would be safe for wearing lenses overnight.

The cornea (the clear, outermost layer covering the colored part of the eye) has no blood vessels so it gets all of its oxygen from the outside environment. Even though contact lenses let some oxygen pass through to your cornea, they filter out a significant amount so wearing lenses for a long period doesn’t let your cornea “breathe”. This can lead to significant degrees of inflammation, irritation, redness, and discomfort. 

Additionally, nighttime lens removal, cleaning and soaking in a disinfecting solution (NOT JUST SALINE) is an essential step to maintain adequate eye health for contact lens wearers. This overnight soak removes deposits and neutralizes bacteria and viruses that build up on the lens throughout the day. So, when you wear lenses overnight, they are often contaminated with bacteria that increase the risk of infection. This can lead to a potentially serious disorder called a corneal ulcer, which can lead to blindness.

Because of these serious consequences, we recommend that you only wear your lenses overnight under the guidance of an eye doctor. However, we realize that not all overnight wear of contacts is planned. If you think there is a chance that you might be sleeping in your lenses, stick a lens case in your pocket or purse. If you do forget to take out your lenses, be sure to consult your eye doctor if you experience any redness, discharge, pain, light sensitivity, or reduced vision. Even if you don’t have any of these symptoms, it might be a good idea to wear glasses the next day to give your eyes a chance to “breathe.”

The staff of Ohio State Student Health Optometry Services is always happy to see you about your eye safety concerns.  We’re here to protect your sight and keep your eyes healthy!

Adam Brandeberry (OSU College of Medicine and Public Health)

Gregory J. Nixon O.D., F.A.A.O. (Associate Professor of Clinical Optometry, OSU College of Optometry and Student Health Services)

What to do while you are waiting for an appointment… at CCS

CCS is on the 4th floor!

The Following is a special guest post from your friendly neighborhood campus counseling center.  Check it out – it’s a good one!

Spring quarter is the busiest time of year for Counseling and Consultation Service.  The stress of graduation, multiple transitions and other concerns keep us moving to help the students of the Ohio State University.  During this time you may experience a longer wait for an initial consultation and even longer for a first session appointment with your assigned counselor. In many cases it could be 2-3 weeks before you can get in.

In the meantime, we would like to offer you some suggestions for what to do while you are waiting for an appointment.

If you are in need of immediate assistance, please call and ask to speak to an urgent counselor Monday- Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.  If you need immediate assistance outside of our normal business hours, please call Net Care Access at (614) 276-CARE (2273) or go to the nearest emergency department.

Some Quick Tips for Improved Health and well-being:

  • Try to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night!
  • Go to the gym!
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables!
  • Learn time management skills!
  • Think positive!
  • Walk to class!
  • Drink more water!
  • Set realistic goals!
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
  • Create a bedtime routine!
  • Vary your meals!

Go to a Workshop.

We provide drop in workshops on a weekly and quarterly basis. They are free and open to all students:

  • Chi-lel Qigong: Every Thursday at 9:00- 10:00  a.m. Younkin 300
  • Feel Better Fast:  Every Thursday 4:00- 5:00 p.m. Younkin 324
  • Self Management Skills: Every Wednesday 3:00-4:30 p.m.Younkin 324
  • Mental Skills for Stress Management:  Mondays, May 7,14 and 21, 4:00-5:00 pm, Younkin 300
  • Self Esteem Workshop: Monday, May 21 3:30 -4:30 pm, Younkin 430, please check in with front desk. 

Check out Group Therapy.

  • We have and extensive group program that offers 25+ groups each quarter to meet individual needs. A full list of our spring quarter offerings can be found at here.

Need Immediate Assistance?

  • We have urgent counselors Monday thru Friday 9:00 am- 5:00 pm. If you need immediate assistance outside of our normal business hours, please call Net Care Access at (614) 276-CARE (2273) or go to the nearest emergency department.

Watch a video on our YouTube channel. 

  • We have a 3 minute breathing practice and many other favorite videos to help you get your needs met.
  • We also favorite videos that help, inspire and educate students on a variety of mental health issues.

Like us on Facebook.

  • We share weekly inspirational quotes, link to inspiring stories on a variety of mental health topics and update the campus community on CCS offerings.

Peruse the Self Help section on our website.

Try other on-campus Resources:

Other facilities that offer therapy with a fee to both students and community residents:

Academic Issues:

  • Walter E. Dennis Learning Center free, confidential, one-on-one appointments. Trained in learning and motivation strategies, Learning Specialists work with Ohio State students to examine academic strengths and weaknesses, and explore strategies that lead to success in college
  • Student Advocacy can help advocate for you with other entities on campus, mediate with your professors, help you determine whether or not you need to withdraw from classes, etc.
  • Office of Disability Services can help you determine if you are eligible for disability services depending on your functional limitations in the academic setting

Financial Concerns:

Housing Concerns:

Health Information:

Counseling & Consultation Service

We offer counseling and therapy to help you address personal, mental health, academic, and career concerns. Both individual and group counseling are available. In counseling, we work together to help you develop more personal awareness and the skills needed to overcome problems and help you grow and develop in ways that allow you to take advantage of the educational opportunities at the university. We are also available to provide consultation to faculty and staff who are concerned about the well-being and academic success of OSU students. Most services free, all services are confidential.