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.).
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
The main symptom of headaches is head pain. Though the majority of headaches are benign or not life-threatening, some may be an indicator of a more serious health issue. There are two categories under which most headaches fall:
- Primary headaches are not associated with an underlying health condition and associated with areas of the head and surrounding area that are sensitive to pain. Tension headaches (often triggered by stress, can range from mild to severe, and are characterized by dull, constant pain, pressure with possible aches in the jaw or neck), migraine headaches (characterized by intense, pounding pain lasting for hours or even days that may begin in the forehead, on one side of the head, or around the eyes and may also be accompanied by nausea and vomiting), and cluster headaches (less common and start very suddenly, are shorter in duration, often very severe, and occur once or more each day for a period of time) are all types of primary headaches.
- Secondary headaches are considered a symptom of an underlying medical issue and vary quite a bit in severity. These can be associated with a range of conditions such as sinus infections, dehydration, withdrawal from substances such as alcohol, drugs, caffeine, or certain medications (called rebound headaches), influenza (flu), concussions, panic attacks, high blood pressure, stroke, and meningitis, among others.
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.