College Health and Safety
College is full of exciting new things, from meeting people to living away from home. But, college can also be stressful as you try to develop new routines, live on a limited budget and manage responsibilities on your own. Keep the tips and information below in mind to stay safe and healthy in college.
Find a healthcare provider at your school or local health clinic for routine check-ups and when you have health concerns. Check-ups can help ensure you stay healthy and can help identify and correct problems early.
Vaccinations help prevent diseases and save lives. Be sure to ask your healthcare provider about getting vaccinated for meningitis, human papillomavirus (HPV), tetanus, flu and other diseases.
Fight Fatigue and Sleep Deprivation
- Avoid stimulants like caffeine and nicotine. The stimulating effects of caffeine in coffee, colas, teas and chocolate can take as long as eight hours to wear off fully.
- Have a good sleeping environment. Get rid of anything that might distract you from sleep, such as noises or bright lights.
- Stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on the weekends.
- See your health provider if you continue to have trouble sleeping.
- Avoid pulling an all-nighter to study.
Get Physical Activity
Be active for at least 2-1/2 hours a week. Include activities that raise your breathing and heart rates and that strengthen your muscles. Find something you enjoy, such as jogging or running, dancing or playing sports.
Eat a Balanced Diet
- Talk with a nutritionist or dietician at a health clinic on campus or in the community about improving your diet.
- If you or someone you know is showing signs of an unhealthy eating habits, get help. Find a friend to go with you, or offer to go with a friend to talk to a counselor or doctor who knows about eating habits.
Maintain Mental Health
- Develop a support network for friends. Campus and extracurricular activities, such as a playing in a college band, joining a sports team or writing for the school newspaper are great ways to meet new friends.
- If you have concerns about your study habits, ability to take tests or managing your coursework, talk with teachers, counselors, family, and friends for advice and support.
- Stay active. Regular physical activity improves one’s mood, helps relieve depression and increases feelings of well-being.
- Visit the health center, and discuss concerns with a health professional. If the health professional advises treatment, follow instructions. Watch out for side effects, and attend follow-up appointments to assess improvement. If you don't feel any better after 4 to 6 weeks, tell your health professional.
Have Healthy Relationships
- Communication is essential in healthy relationships. Take time to talk with and listen to your friends and loved ones. Express your thoughts and feelings clearly and directly, without intentionally hurting or disrespecting others.
- Avoid relationships with those who act aggressively or treat you disrespectfully.
- Lower your risks by trusting your gut. If anything in your relationship makes you feel uncomfortable, talk to someone you can trust, such as a parent, doctor, counselor, religious leader, or teacher.
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