Honesty is the best Policy

When you come to an appointment at Student Health, we ask you a lot of questions.  Some of these may seem to be unrelated to your appointment, but all of these questions serve a purpose and it’s important that you answer them honestly.

What is the reason for your visit?  The answer you give to this question directly impacts how your provider prepares for you visit.  If you schedule an appointment for a sore throat, but you really want the provider to check out your hemorrhoids, well that would be quite a surprise for your provider and any preparation that has been done for that sore throat would be time wasted.  In some cases an incorrect reason for visit may result in the rescheduling of an appointment as the real reason could require additional time or a specific room.  Be honest when scheduling your appointment and tell them why you need to be seen.

Do you use tobacco and if so how much/often?  The perils of smoking have been touted all over the news, lung cancer, heart disease, premature aging, and so on.  Tell your provider of your tobacco usage, even if it’s one cigarette a week.  This is part of your history and can affect how your provider monitors you.  Oh – and yes, hookah is tobacco so don’t forget to include that in your conversation.

Do you drink alcohol and if so how much/often do you drink?  You might think that it’s not important to mention the tailgate party you attended last week or the Sangria you had the week before – you ate the fruit and that’s healthy, right? – but be honest with your provider and let them determine if it’s important or not.  Too much alcohol consumption has been linked to increased risks of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and breast cancer and only your provider will be able to determine if you fall within these categories.

What medications/supplements are you currently taking?  Your provider needs to know all prescription and over-the-counter medications you are taking and that includes all supplements, vitamins, and pain relievers.  Some supplements cause interactions with medications and the only way for your provider to identify these possible interactions is if you tell them what you are taking.

What symptoms are you experiencing?  Tell your provider your symptoms, even if it’s just that you’ve been feeling tired or sad.  If what you’ve been experiencing is not normal for you, let your provider know.  The information you give your provider all contributes to their ability to properly diagnose and treat you.

If you don’t tell your provider everything, they can’t help you. So fess up – your health depends on it. 

Submitted by Tina Comston, M.Ed.

Reviewed by Mary Lynn Kiacz, MD

Trick or Treat: Did you know….

Trick or Treat....

Candy Corn:  According to the National Confections Association, more than 35 million pounds of candy corn will be produced this year. That’s 9 billion pieces (63 billion calories), enough to circle the moon almost 21 times.

Jelly Beans:  Ronald Reagan started eating jelly beans after he was elected governor of California in 1967 as a way to quit smoking a pipe. Three-and-a-half tons of Jelly Bellies arrived at the White House for the 1981 presidential inaugural parties.

Lollipops:  Creator Enric Bernat wanted to avoid the sticky mess most candy leaves behind so he invented a candy that was “like eating a sweet with a fork.” The lollipop celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2008.

Twizzlers:  During his historic moon landing in 1969, Astronaut Neil Armstrong allegedly said, “I could sure go for some Twizzlers right now.”

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups: Hershey’s makes enough of this favorite in one year to give one cup to every single person in the USA, Japan, Europe, China, Africa, and India.

M&Ms: According to Beth Kimmerle, author of Candy: The Sweet History, M&Ms were originally developed as a easily transported, energy-laden rations for soldiers during World War II. They were packaged in slim tubes designed to slide easily into the pockets of cargo pants. But when troops came home, they still wanted the candy.

Baby Ruth: Many people associate this candy bar with legendary baseball player Babe Ruth (the candy’s web site does feature a baseball stadium), but it was actually named after President Grover Cleveland’s daughter, who was often called “Baby Ruth.” 

Mike & Ike: In 2012, rumor had it that Mike and Ike were splitting up, Ike claiming that Mike was “spending way too much time on his music” and Mike accusing Ike of “spending way too much time on his graffiti art.” But promotional packaging at Halloween still had both names on the box.

Information for the above taken from Health, www.health.com.

Submitted by Tina Comston, M.Ed.

Medical Mythbusters – Can you catch the flu from the flu vaccine?

Q: I’ve heard that you the flu shot can give you the flu.  Is that true?

A: Definitely not! This is one of the most pervasive and frustrating medical myths out there. The flu shot contains only dead virus so there is no way it can infect you.

It is possible that the shot can induce an immune response that gives you flu-like symptoms such as muscle aches or a low grade fever, but nothing compared to getting the actual flu.  If you do get the flu after a flu shot, it is likely that you were exposed to the flu or another illness before getting the shot, since it takes about 2 weeks after your shot for full immunity to develop. The flu vaccine doesn’t guarantee 100% protection; it is always possible to catch a strain of the flu not included in the vaccine.

Certain people who are at especially high risk of complications from the flu definitely need to get vaccinated every year, but the flu shot is available to anyone who wants to avoid getting the flu.

You can find information on getting the flu vaccine at OSU Student Health Services here.  

Angela Walker, Med IV (Ohio State College of Medicine)

John A. Vaughn, MD (Ohio State Student Health Services)

Reviewed by Tina Comston, M.Ed. (Ohio State Student Health Services)

Non-smoking versus Tobacco-Free – they are not the same

As of right now, The Ohio State University is a non-smoking campus, but January 1, 2014 that will change.  A new policy is going into effect to make The Ohio State University tobacco-free.  Non-smoking, tobacco-free, what’s the difference?

The current Non-Smoking Policy:

  • Prohibits smoking inside of any Ohio State building or facility (owned, operated, or leased)
    • This includes any tobacco product that is generally smoked, such as cigarettes, cigars, pipes, etc.
  • Permits smoking outdoors with the exception of
    • Building entrances
    • Designated tobacco-free zones
    • Stadiums, amphitheaters and other such outdoor facilities

The new Tobacco-Free policy:

  • Prohibits the use of tobacco products on Ohio State property (owned, operated, or leased), indoors or outdoors.
    • This includes ALL tobacco products, regardless of whether or not they can be smoked.

Long story short, effective January 1, 2014, all tobacco products are banned from The Ohio State University.

Submitted by Brandi Elking, Health Sciences Student

Reviewed by Tina Comston, M.Ed.

To supplement or not to supplement – Creatine


I grew up in the “No pain, no gain” era, meaning that if you wanted to become stronger, faster, whatever you had to work at it.  You had to do the reps, run the sprints, you had to sweat.  Now, however, it seems that more and more people want to skip the “pain”/sweat part of the equation and go right to the “gain” through supplementation.  One option people are considering for this short cut is creatine.

Creatine is something we already have.   It is a compound produced by the kidneys, pancreas, and liver and it plays a role in releasing energy when the body moves quickly or powerfully.  So, when you are sprinting or lifting weights creatine is involved.  It gives us the energy to do the lifting and sprinting and, like everything else, as we progress through our workout our creatine levels become depleted and our ability to keep pumping that iron or running those sprints diminishes.  In other words, we run out of energy.

The whole point of creatine supplementation is to allow the body to produce more energy and with more energy you will be able to complete another set of reps or run a few more sprints and with these additions you will become stronger and/or faster.  So, it’s not really a shortcut, it just gives you the energy to be able to put in some extra work and through that extra work you will see additional results.

Now, just because creatine is naturally produced by our bodies does not mean that taking it in supplement form is good for us.  As with any supplement you should talk with your doctor before taking it.  You should also be aware of potential side effects, such as:

  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Muscle cramping
  • Diarrhea

Patients with kidney disease should completely avoid using creatine, and caution is advised for diabetics and people taking blood sugar supplements.

If you chose to take creatine supplements, you should expect to gain weight.  Initially this will be due to retention of water, approximately 2 to 4 pounds in the first week, but after that it will be due to an increase in muscle as a result of being able to exercise longer and harder.

Submitted by Tina Comston, M.Ed.

Reviewed by Kendra McCamey, MD

An Apple a Day – Fact or Fiction

Last year I participated in a study here on campus regarding apples.  I had always wondered about the ‘Apple a day keeps the doctor away’ saying and I liked apples, so I thought, why not.  When I signed up for the study I was told that participants would be divided into four groups.  Group 1 would take a placebo each day; Group 2 would take a capsule each day containing polyphenols, a type of antioxidant found in apples; Group 3 would eat an apple each day; and Group 4 would not only eat an apple a day, but also apple sauce and drink a glass of apple juice.  Lucky me – I ended up in Group 4.  Let me just say, that was a lot of apple.

The study was held over a 4 week period.  Prior to starting the study a blood sample was taken and I was asked to spit in a cup.  After the 4 weeks another blood sample was taken and again I spit in a cup.  I wondered about the whole spitting in a cup thing, but having read the results of the study it now makes sense.

And the results, they were fairly significant.  Those individuals who consumed an apple a day for 4 weeks lowered by 40% the blood levels of oxidized LDL – “bad” cholesterol.  This is what contributes to the hardening of arteries.  As far as spitting in the cup, they also found that eating apples has some effect on the antioxidants in saliva which has implications for dental health.

It appears that ‘An Apple a Day’ could indeed keep the cardiologist away.  As for an apple, apple sauce, and apple juice – that was a bit much. 

To read more about this study:

Submitted by Tina Comston, M.Ed.

A Week of Activities – Mental Health Week

Feeling a little stressed or depressed about the upcoming week.  Wondering what you might do?  The Office of Student Life Counseling and Consultation is sponsoring a series of Mental Health awareness activities to raise awareness and decrease the stigma of mental illness.

Here’s a list of what’s available:

  • Oct 7, 10am RPAC Meeting Rooms 1 & 2:  Preventing, Indentifying, and Managing Stress, Anxiety, and Depression
  • Oct 7, 5-6pm, Younkin Success Center:  Stress Reduction Workshop
  • Oct 7, 5-7pm, green space between Baker and Smith-Steeb:  “Live Well Hut”, meet a therapy dog, get wellness goodies, and learn ways to improve your mental health
  • Oct 8, 10:30am, Ohio Union, US Bank Theatre: PeaceLove presents “Getting Better”
  • Oct 9, 4:30pm, Ohio Union, Dance Room 2: Yoga for relaxation and stress reduction
  • Oct 10, 12:30-4:30pm, Suite 100, 700 Ackerman Rd: Strees Screenings
  • Oct 10, 5-7pm, courtyard outside Haverfield House:  “Live Well Hut”, get wellness goodies, and learn ways to improve your mental health
  • Oct 11, 11am-3pm, Ohio Union, Great Hall Meeting Room 3: Positive Psychology Activities

You can find out more at buckeyewellness.osu.edu.