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Campus health basics for university freshers

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A Varsity student reading.

Your university days may be some of the most transformative and memorable moments in your young adult life.

Those days may ultimately lay the framework for your future and many important life choices and habits you will continue to follow, especially when pertaining to your health.

So many of the health habits from that time, have the tendency to remain with you throughout adulthood.

Nonetheless, it’s crucial for students to take full control of their health early on and more so become aware of the following issues that may severely impact their health and wellness while living on campus.

Dating Abuse

The topic of dating abuse and violence really isn’t discussed enough, though it happens often on university campuses.

Your first serious romantic adult relationship may occur while away at school, and as you are swept away by “love”, you may not even be aware of how insidious elements of abuse may manifest and find its way into your relationship.

Always keep in mind that abuse doesn’t only come in a physical form, and verbal or emotional abuse are often the antecedents to physical violence.

If your partner tries to dictate who you hang out with, or tries to control things like your wardrobe or hairstyle, then that is a red flag.

If your partner constantly tries to check your email or phone, those are also concerning controlling behaviors that are major signs that abuse is looming.

Of course, any element of physical or sexual violence is unacceptable and rest assured, if it happens one time then it will likely occur again at another point in the relationship.

If you experience any of these things while dating, then you need to get out of that relationship immediately!

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

For many university students, this time period may be their first real opportunity to start exploring their sexuality.

In doing so, the most important rule to follow is that you must always stay safe and protect yourself during any and every sexual encounter.

You can’t ever afford to ignore your sexual health, so adequate protection with consistent condom use is essential.

Do realize that all it takes is just one unprotected sexual encounter to expose yourself to the world of sexually transmitted infections.

The prevalence of HIV amongst the nation’s young adults only continues to rise and prevention is the only mainstay method to help curtail this epidemic.

Other common STIs such as chlamydia and gonorrhea are also growing concerns; although they are both treatable with antibiotics, again prevention really must be the focus.

All sexually active students should make it a top priority to get tested for STIs (including HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, HPV, and herpes), receive appropriate treatment if positive for an infection, and inform all sexual partners of any positive test results.

Bacterial Meningitis

Bacterial meningitis causes inflammation of the meninges and spinal cord and complications may result in hearing loss, neurological problems, and even death.

University students in particular are vulnerable to the infection by sheer virtue of living in very close quarters on campus in crowded spaces that can increase the likelihood of exposure to the infection. Vaccination prior to the start of school is recommended.

Meningitis may be spread while coughing, sharing a drink, and even kissing.

While on campus, make sure you adhere to very strong hygiene habits (e.g. consistent hand washing) to avoid further spread of infection.

The hallmark meningitis symptoms to look out for include fever, headache, sensitivity to light, and neck stiffness.

If you exhibit this constellation of symptoms, then seek medical treatment immediately.

Depression

Young adults may have their first bout of major depression during their university days.

The transition into university life is not an easy feat, and on campuses worldwide the problem of severe depression is eating away at so many students.

The stress about grades, career plans, and what lies ahead in the future may cause one to feel extremely overwhelmed.

Without the appropriate coping strategies, it’s not difficult for students to head towards the path of high anxiety and depressive states.

Not only can unaddressed depression pose a severe barrier to academic success, it can also contribute to even higher rates of student suicide.

If you start to experience feelings of hopelessness, lack of energy, weight changes, social withdrawal, and especially thoughts of self harm while at school, then getting help is simply a must.

Poor eating habits

Whether you are a party animal or strictly a bookworm on campus, one thing is for sure, it can be easy to slip into unhealthy eating patterns.

You may have a favourite food that you choose to eat non stop as your breakfast, lunch, and dinner simply out of convenience.

Don’t fall into that trap of eating the same thing all of the time. You will likely not obtain the adequate nutrients your body requires.

Although your schedule may be so chaotic and you may always be seemingly on the run, you must stick to a well balanced diet.

You should incorporate a mix of protein, vegetables, fruit, and whole grains with every meal and do your very best to avoid junk food.

Moreover, your days on campus will surely fly by quickly.

But make sure you enjoy and embrace this special time while still paying attention to your physical, mental, and emotional health.


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