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5 Health Tips College Women Need to Know

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Good health is essential for a successful school year. Yet, with everything from classes and practice to hanging out with friends, it can be easy to neglect your health. Start this year off right by putting your health and safety at the top of your back to school checklist.
 
Keep in mind these 5 tips to help you ace your health this school year.
 

1. Visit the Health Center

Whether you are a first year student or returning student, you should go to the health center to find out what services are available and what you should do if you get sick. Many health centers offer a range of services including sexual and mental health care. They also have lots of free health information.
  • Ask Questions – The staff at your student health center can explain the facts about your medicines and health care.
  • Make a Plan – If you have health concerns, prepare a plan with the staff on how to manage your health on campus.
  • Get the Facts – Talk to the staff about scheduling pap tests and learn more about HPV, HIV and birth control.
 

2. Use Medicines Wisely

Taking too much or too little medicine can make you sick. You may be thinking that medicines are only important if you have a serious health problem, but that’s not true. If you take vitamins, cold medicine or birth control, it is important for you to use medicines wisely. If you have a chronic condition like diabetes or depression, it is important that you monitor your medicines and stay on track with your treatment. Here are a few tips to help you manage your medicines on your own.
  • Follow Directions – Read the label and ask your healthcare provider how much you should take and when. Make sure not to double up on acetaminophen.
  • Don’t Use Expired Medicines– Check the expiration date before taking any medicine or dietary supplement. Expired medicines may not work or may make you sick.
  • Store Safely – Put your medicines away after each use, and keep them out of sight. Medicines can cause harm if taken by the wrong person.
 

3. Take Care of Mental Health

Sometimes college can get hard and be stressful. It is important to take care of the most important person, YOU! Talk about your feelings with someone you trust. Visit the health center for mental health resources. If you already have a mental health condition, make a plan with your health care provider before you arrive on campus. This plan should include how to deal with issues that may arise while you are at college.
 
  • Learn the Signs of Depression – Most students will feel sad or stressed at some point during the school year. Get help if you feel sad for more than two weeks or have these other signs of depression.
  • Stay on Track with Your Treatment – Plan how you will handle your medications or counseling sessions with your busy schedule. If you do take medicines for depression, use our guide to help you work with your healthcare provider.
  • Talk with Someone You Trust – Don't suffer in silence. Have a conversation about how you are feeling with your parents, a counselor at the health center or another trusted adult. Get tips on how to start the conversation. disclaimer icon
 

4. Commit to Getting More Sleep

Many factors can affect your sleep, like late night studying or binge watching your favorite show. Getting enough sleep is the key to staying refreshed and focused, especially if you have an 8am class. Use these tips to stay safe.
  • Take Time to Rest – Most adults need 7 – 8 hours of sleep each night. Limiting caffeine and passing on naps after 3 p.m. can help you get a good night’s rest. Learn more tips for better sleep.
  • Get Help for Sleep Problems– Talk to your doctor or nurse about all of the risks and benefits of using prescription and OTC sleep medicines. Sleep medicines work well for many  people, but they can also cause serious side effects and affect your driving.
  • Avoid Pure Powdered CaffeinePure powdered caffeine is a powerful stimulant. You may think it can help you stay awake, but it may cause accidental overdose. A single teaspoon of pure caffeine is roughly equivalent to the amount in 28 cups of coffee, which may cause accidental overdose.
 

5. Protect Your Eye Health

It is important to keep your eyes safe. Whether you are applying make-up or putting in contact lens, safety should always be first. Ignoring eye health can cause infections and other health problems. Remember these tips to keep your eyes healthy.
  • Take Care of Your Contacts – Follow your eye doctor’s directions on how to wear and clean your contacts. Click here for contact lens care tips.
  • Get a Prescription for Decorative Contacts– Decorative contacts are not “one size fits all.” You need an eye exam from a licensed eye doctor. Never buy lenses from beauty supply stores, flea market or internet sites that do not require a prescription.
  • Don't Share Make-Up– While it may be tempting, do not share or swap your makeup – not even with your best friend, roomie or sorority sister. Another person's bacteria may be harmful to you. Get more eye makeup tips.

 

Want more health and safety tips? Visit the College Women's Health webpage at

www.fda.gov/collegewomen

 

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Page Last Updated: 08/15/2017
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