Alcohol: Lowering Risk

Alcohol can be a way to enhance social experiences, especially when consumed in a way that reduces the risk of negative health effects. Most Columbia students who choose to drink practice lower-risk drinking behaviors. Lower-risk drinking helps you maximize the fun and minimize the potential for harm that can occur due to alcohol intoxication (e.g., acute dehydration, legal troubles, etc.).

Alcohol: When is it a problem?

Patterns of alcohol use can change over the course of a lifetime or even over a semester. Deciding if your patterns of alcohol use are problematic can sometimes feel difficult. One way to conceptualize alcohol use is to think of it as behavior falling on a continuum.

Common Cold Care

First signs of a common cold, also called an upper respiratory infection (URI), typically include a sore throat and runny nose, followed by coughing and sneezing. The common cold is caused by a virus. Antibiotics will not help you recover from a cold. If you catch a cold, it’s recommended that you get lots of rest, drink plenty of fluids, and avoid smoking and second-hand smoke. Colds can last from one to two weeks, but there are a number of ways to relieve symptoms. Over-the-counter (OTC) medications may help ease symptoms, but some products may contain medications or alcohol you don’t need or want. Always use as directed and consult your health care provider if you have questions, especially if you have a chronic health condition or are taking other prescription or OTC medications. 

Communicating and Relating

Many people agree that communicating with others is scary. In fact, enough books on communication and relationships have been published to fill a library. When it comes to relating with fellow humans, there are a number of important factors to keep in mind:

Flu (Influenza): Overview

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. It can cause illness ranging from mild to severe, and sometimes leading to hospitalization or death. Most people who get the flu will recover in a few days to less than two weeks. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccination.

Healthy Sleep Habits

Sleep plays an integral role in maintaining physical and mental health. Not getting enough quality sleep can interfere with a person’s ability to store newly learned information, potentially leading to a negative impact on academic performance. In addition, sleep deprivation is associated with daytime sleepiness, depressed mood, impaired concentration and memory, and a weakened immune system. Practicing healthy sleep habits (also known as good sleep hygiene) can make a big difference in a person’s quality of life. A considerable amount of research has demonstrated that practicing sleep hygiene strategies such as the ones listed below, improves sleep quality and prevents sleep disturbances among university students.

Making Balanced Choices About Food

Deciding what to eat every day can be a challenge! Rather than focusing on always making perfect choices, think about balancing your diet with foods you love and foods that are nourishing.

It’s generally a good idea to refuel every three to four hours and avoid waiting until you are hungry to eat something. Protein-rich foods like lean meats, beans, eggs, and nuts will fill you up and last longer (great for late-night studying!). Keep in mind that fish, chicken, and turkey are healthier choices than beef because they are lower in fat. Also, meat can be substituted by tofu and other soy-based foods as a vegetarian option.

Physical Activity — Getting Started

Errands, such as trips to the grocery, are multitasking opportunities for exercise and physical activity. You can jog or even ride your bike to work, the grocery, and/or the cleaners, and avoid wasting time in traffic or finding a parking spot. Physical activity will not only help you to get closer to your ideal body shape, but has the potential to relieve stress, increase work productivity, boost after work energy level, and improve sleep quality.

Stress: The Basics

Stress is a normal psychological and physical reaction to the demands of life. Work, school, relationships, and daily hassles can often serve as stressors, or sources of stress. Stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Good stress, or eustress, pushes us to work harder. When this stress becomes overwhelming or hard to manage, it’s called distress and can impact your health.

Zika virus

The Zika virus is a virus transmitted through an Aedes mosquito bite. Most commonly, these mosquitoes become infected when they bite an infected individual. The virus is then spread to other people through subsequent bites. A few cases of Zika virus have been transmitted through sexual intercourse, blood transfusion, or from an infected pregnant mother to her baby, but more research is required to fully understand these processes. While outbreaks of Zika virus have mostly occurred in regions of Africa and Asia, a growing number of cases are occurring in parts of South America, Mexico, and the Caribbean.