Monday, October 24, 2016

Breast Self-Exams for Her

According to Johns Hopkins Medical Center, “Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important.” While mammograms can help you to detect cancer before you can feel a lump, breast self-exams help you to be familiar with how your breasts look and feel so you can alert a healthcare professional if there are any changes. Both men and women are encouraged to perform a self exam at least once a month.
  • About 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.
  • In 2015, an estimated 231,840 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 60,290 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer.
  • About 40,290 women in the U.S. are expected to die in 2015 from breast cancer, though death rates have been decreasing since 1989.
  • Besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women.
Are You at Greater Risk?
  1. Gender: Although men can develop breast cancer, it is more common in women.
  2. Age: The risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer increases as you age.
  3. Genetics: Your risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer doubles if your mother, sister, or daughter has had either types of these cancers.
How to Exam Yourself:
There are multiple ways to perform a self examination. Please see the instructions provided below for each technique.
In the Shower:
  • Put your right arm behind your head and with your left hand check your right breast for lumps or thickenings.
  • Choose 1 of the 3 patterns. With the fingers of your left hand, apply 3 levels of pressure--light, medium and firm--in overlapping, dime sized, circular motions to feel entire breast tissue, including underarm. Examine the underarm with your arm only slightly raised.
  • Put your left arm behind your head and repeat steps with your right hand on the left breast and underarm. Also, look in a mirror for changes in shape, size, or skin texture of breast. Check the nipples for changes, including unusual discharge.
Laying Down:
To examine your right breast, place your right hand behind your head. Follow the same technique as in the shower. Check for lumps, knots, or thickenings. Then put your left arm behind your head, and repeat with your right hand.
Before A Mirror:
With hands firmly pressing down on hips, check for changes in shape, size, or texture of your breasts.

Make an Appointment:
If you feel as though you need to see a medical provider, contact EIU Health Service at (217) 581-3013, visit, or stop by the Human Services building and see an Appointment Clerk to set up a visit.





Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Think Before You Drink

Alcohol intoxication, sometimes known as alcohol poisoning, is a serious and sometimes deadly consequence of drinking large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time. Alcohol poisoning is closely correlated with high risk drinking.  High risk drinking is defined as consuming 4 or more drinks in one setting in the past 2 weeks for women and 5 or more drinks in one setting in the past 2 weeks for men. Drinking too much in a short period of time can affect your breathing, heart rate, body temperature, and gag reflex. This can cause the user to go into a coma and potentially lead to death. Despite the risks, more than 38 million Americans report binge drinking more than 4 times a month and consume an average of 8 drinks per binge (CDC, 2012).

Some of the most common signs of alcohol poisoning are:
  • Confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Seizure
  • Slow breathing (less than 8 breathes per minute)
  • Blue tongue or pale skin
  • Passing out
If you or someone you know experience any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately. 
In the United States, a standard drink is one that contains about 14 grams of pure alcohol, which is found in:

12 ounces of beer
5 ounces of wine
1.5 ounces of distilled spirits or liquor

Virtually all students will be exposed to drinking directly or indirectly at some point in their college careers. Four out of five college aged students consume alcohol. There are many alarming statistics associated with the use of alcohol especially in this college age range of 18-24 (NIAAA, 2016). Many of these statistics are due to a lack of knowledge and experience when consuming alcohol.
  • Death: 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol.
  • Assault: More than 690,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking.
  • Sexual Abuse: More than 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol-related sexual abuse.
  • Injury: 599,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 receive injuries while under the influence of alcohol.
  • Academic Problems: Approximately 25% of college students report academic consequences from their drinking behaviors (including: missing class, falling behind, poor paper and exam scores, and overall lower grades).
  • Health Problems/Suicide Attempts: More than 150,000 students develop an alcohol-related health problem and 1.5% of students indicate that they tried to commit suicide within the past year due to drinking or drug use.
What Can We Do For You?
Request a Presentation
Request a presentation today and the HERC staff will come to you! Whether it be for a residence hall, a Registered Student Organization, class, or other groups, the staff will provide tips, information, and interactive discussions about alcohol, related risks, and how to be safe when consuming alcohol. Visit and fill out the form under “Request Form.”

EIU Collegiate Recovery Community
The EIU CRC provides an empowering environment where students living in, or seeking, long-term recovery from substance use disorders and other quality of life concerns can successfully realize their goals of academic success and an improved quality of life. The EIU CRC mission is to help students maintain a sober and health lifestyle in order to fully engage in their academic, social, and personal pursuits.  In the service of this mission, our aim is to:

  • Provide a safe, supportive space for students with alcohol and drug issues to engage in sober activities with other recovering students
  • Raise awareness about long-term recovery as a viable goal for students who struggle with addiction, as well as combat the stigma associated with alcoholism and drug addiction
  • Foster supportive relationships with the friends, allies, and family members of those who struggle with addiction
For more information about the CRC, please visit or contact Amanda Harvey at (217) 581-7786 or
Additional On-Campus Resources
Health Education Resource Center (HERC)

Health Service
Counseling Center

 Student Standards

Monday, October 10, 2016

Understanding Drug Addiction

Drug addiction is the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma. Addicts often times do not realize or believe they are addicted, even if they show all the signs.

Drug addiction includes: the inability to control drug use, even when it causes bodily harm, a constant, intense craving for the drug(s), and potential harm to both the body and mind.

  • Loss of control
  • Neglecting other activities
  • Risk taking
  • Relationship issues
  • Secrecy
  • Disheveled appearance
  • Increased tolerance to drug(s)
  • Withdrawals

1. Family History of Addiction

Drug addiction is more common in some families and likely involves genetic predisposition. If you have a blood relative, such as a parent or sibling, with a drug problem, you are at greater risk of developing a drug addiction.

2. Being Male

Men are more likely to have problems with drug abuse than women are. However, progression of addictive disorders is known to be quicker in females.

3. Having a Mental Health Disorder

If you have a mental health disorder such as depression, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder, you are more likely to become dependent on drugs.

4. Peer Pressure

Peer pressure is a strong factor in starting to use and abuse drugs, particularly for young people. Research confirms that most adolescent drug users are introduced to this behavior by friends or people that they know.

5. Lack of Family Involvement

Difficult family situations or a lack of a bond with parents and/or siblings may increase the risk of addiction.

6. Taking a Highly Addictive Drug

Some drugs, such as stimulants, cocaine, or painkillers, may result in faster development of addiction than other drugs.

*Information found at


There are several options to choose from when considering the types of treatment and support available to substance users. Some of those options include:

EIU Counseling Center
EIU’s Counseling Center offers addiction counseling to EIU students. Addiction counselors can help patients resist the temptation to keep using or for recovering addicts to use again. To make an appointment, visit or call (217) 581-3413.
EIU Collegiate Recovery Community
The EIU CRC provides an empowering environment where students living in, or seeking, long-term recovery from substance use disorders and other quality of life concerns can successfully realize their goals of academic success and an improved quality of life. The EIU CRC mission is to help students maintain a sober and healthy lifestyle in order to fully engage in their academic, social, and personal pursuits. If you are interested in joining the CRC, contact the Health Education Resource Center at (217) 581-7786 or e-mail
Treatment Programs
Depending on the severity of the addiction, inpatient or outpatient treatment programs may be beneficial. These programs often offer recovery from the effects of addiction through individual and group counseling, as well as provide social support to maintain a drug-free lifestyle.
Additional information regarding drug addiction may be found at

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Flu Myths

It’s that time of year again! Aside from cold weather, winter is often accompanied by sniffles, coughs, and a variety of other illnesses.  While we try our hardest to avoid fall and winter’s vicious illnesses, sometimes it is unavoidable. This is why it is important to cover all of our bases and remain healthy and safe, not only for ourselves, but for those around us. 

The flu, or influenza, is “a highly contagious viral infection of the respiratory passages causing fever, severe aching, and catarrh, and often occurring in epidemics” (Oxford Dictionaries). Fortunately, with the flu shot, our chances of catching the flu decreases drastically. The flu shot not only protects ourselves, but also our community from spreading a potentially harmful epidemic. Flu shot season is October through January. However, the earlier you get it, the better your chances are of NOT catching the flu and spreading it to others.

When and where do we get the flu shot?
Luckily for EIU students and staff, a flu shot clinic will be offered on October 12th from 9 AM to 4 PM in the MLK Union. Faculty, staff, and retiree shots will be given by the Coles County Health Department in the Bridge Lounge. Student shots will be provided by EIU Health Service in the University Ballroom. Be sure to bring your Panther Card to take advantage of this FREE opportunity!

Flu Shot Myths vs. Facts
Immunizations, specifically the flu shot, have been a hot topic in the media over the past year. Unfortunately, many people have been given “facts” about the shot that are not actually accurate.  These "facts" can sabotage our perceptions of immunizations and ultimately effect our decision to get the shot. Let's talk more about those "facts" in detail.

MYTH: "The flu is just like a bad cold."
FACT: Influenza (flu) is far more dangerous than a bad cold. It's a disease of the lungs, and it can lead to pneumonia. Each year about 114,000 people in the U.S. are hospitalized and about 20,000 people die because of the flu. The flu poses the largest risk to children age 2 or younger and adults age 65 or older.

FACT: Flu vaccines are made from killed influenza viruses. These viruses cannot give you the flu.

MYTH: "Even if I get a flu shot, I can still get the flu."
FACT: This can happen, but the flu shot usually protects most people from getting ill. It's is important to note that the flu shot will not protect you from other viruses, even if those illnesses have flu-like symptoms.

MYTH: "The vaccine isn't 100% effective, so I'm better off getting the flu."
FACT: No vaccine is 100% effective. However, if you get a flu shot but still get the flu, you are at a significantly decreased risk to get sick than you would be without protection. 

MYTH: The side effects are worse than the flu."
The worst side effect you're likely to experience is a sore arm. Allergic reactions to the flu shot are rare and often far less severe than complications from influenza.

FACT: "Not everyone can take the flu shot."
If you are allergic to eggs (used in making the vaccine); are very ill with a high fever; or have had a severe reaction to the flu vaccine in the past, a flu shot may not be in your best interest.

MYTH: "Only the very old and sick need the flu shot."
FACT: Both adults and children who are in good health need a flu shot to stay healthy. Even if you aren't at high risk of complications, you should get a flu shot to prevent the flu and to protect everyone you live with and  come in contact with.

MYTH:  "December is too late to get a flu shot."
FACT: The flu shot can be given before or during the flu season.  While the best time to get a flu shot is October or November, a flu shot in December will still protect you against the flu.





Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Benefits of Napping

As college students, our sleep cycles are often not consistent and sometimes we need to take a nap during the day.  Naps can be great for you; they can help us with our memory, learning more information, and enhance our overall performance.

Memory:  We can take in and retain more information after we have napped.  Our memory strength improves because after we nap, it helps our brain solidify our memories by storing them to the cerebral cortex so it is more permanent, leaving room to learn more.
Learning: Since napping clears your temporary storage, you are ready to absorb new information.  Research has shown that taking a midday nap allows students to perform better even a few hours later.  Cramming the night before doesn’t help your brain absorb as much so make sure you are getting enough sleep the night before.

Don’t burn yourself out: Napping can be a great stress relief from overloading your brain and burning yourself out.  Napping can also improve your visual abilities from being exhausted and allow you to perform at a higher level. 
How long should I nap for?
It is recommended that naps are kept short, about 20-30 minutes.  This can make us feel significantly better and won’t leave us feeling groggy or interfere with our nighttime sleep.

*Image from The Wall Street Journal
How do I get the most out of napping?
If we can learn how long it takes us to fall asleep, we factor that into our nap time too.  If you have a sleep app or fitness tracker, you can get a general idea of how long it takes.  Setting an alarm on our phone can be another help tip, add about 5-10 minutes to your time to allow for how long it takes you to fall asleep.  You’ll be able to relax more knowing you won’t sleep too long and become groggy.
Choose the right time of day to get the best nap, usually after lunch works for a lot of people, assuming it fits into your class schedule.  This helps you get a better nap since your energy levels are naturally decreased and you won’t feel like you are struggling to relax during the day.
Practice can definitely help too!  What college student doesn’t want to hear that practice the art of napping is a good thing?  Over time, you will begin to know what works for you—change up your time of day, nap length, or different ways to wake up.
Don’t think you’ll be able to fall asleep?
That’s okay, it’s beneficial just to rest for 10 minutes, it can help improve mood regardless of whether or not someone falls asleep.
Snoozin’ Like a Panther
Come to our open session about healthy sleep habits and how restful sleep can impact your life personally, professionally, and academically.
October 17th: Martinsville Room of the MLK Union at 6:30pm
You may request a presentation for your residence hall floor or RSO by clicking here. For additional information on sleep, call the HERC at (217) 581-7756 or email the Health Promotion Coordination’s at or

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Let's Talk About Consent

In our society today ‘consent’ is sometimes a scary word. Consent means a lot of different things to different people. It can mean awkwardness, a roll of the eye, scared, court, a sexy question, etc. A lot of times, consent is seen as the feeling we have towards the notion of consent. But here is what consent actually means a freely given, clear, unambiguous agreement between the participants to engage in sexual activity. This basically means, AGREEING to any form of sex at your own FREE WILL, saying a verbal “YES!’. It’s NOT coerced, physically or verbally. Consent is NOT the absence of ‘no’, which means, if someone doesn’t answer you it’s a ‘no’ because they are nervous or they aren’t conscious enough to give an answer. Which is another thing, for someone to give consent, they must be sober. So their judgement is not impaired in anyway and they can give you verbal agreement.  Now I get it, understanding consent can be tricky and hard to grasp at times so here is an example of consent that everyone might understand better.

Sex is like Pizza! Yes, I said it, PIZZA! When you want to order a pizza with a friend, roommate, significant other, or a stranger you ask, “Hey, what do you want on it?” or “What size of pizza do you want?” they usually give you a clear answer on what they want or say, “anything BUT (insert nasty pizza topping here).” They, FREELY, give you a CLEAR answer of what they want and what they don’t want. So, together, you come up with a pizza that you both agree on and ‘BAM!’ you both enjoy your pizza together because it was something you both wanted and agreed upon. So you may ask, “What if they are unsure on what they want or they don’t know if they even want pizza anymore?” Then you don’t get to order pizza and you don’t get to make the decision for them. They are allowed to be unsure or change their mind.

Consent looks similar to deciding on a pizza with someone. You ask what they want, what they like, what they don’t like, etc. Just like sex, you want to ask the other person, what they like, what they don’t like, if they want to have sex or if they don’t want to have sex. What makes sex so much fun and beautiful is that BOTH people are participating and wanting it. Some tips on how to gain consent are, ASK THEM. You know what is powerfully sexy? Someone who asks me if they can kiss me. That means they have respect, knowledge of common courtesy, and know what consent is and how to ask for it. So just ask and enjoy all the pizza in the world together!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Stress & Time Management: The Basics

Do you need help getting more value out of your time? Would you like to improve your quality of life? Time management is your answer! Time management is a set of principles, practices, skills, tools, and systems that work together to help you get more value out of your time with the aim of improving the quality of your life. By following a few simple guidelines, you can take control of your time and achieve your goals.

There are 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day, and 168 hours in a week. However, it is not necessarily about how much we have, but rather the way in which we use it. It is important to note that time cannot be saved or stored. The bottom line is how well we use it.

  • Goal setting
  • Planning
  • Prioritizing
  • Decision making
  • Delegating
  • Scheduling

Plan Each Day
Planning your day can not only help you accomplish more, but also make you feel more in control of your life. Make a list of everything you need to accomplish for the day. Be sure to keep a schedule of your daily activities to minimize conflicts and last minute rushes.

Some questions to think about when you are planning your time are:
  • Do you need time to prepare for studying?
  • What time of the day do you study best?
  • Do you plan out what you are going to study first?
  • Do you stick to study priorities once you set them up?
Prioritize Your Tasks
Time consuming, but relatively unimportant tasks, can consume a lot of your day. When prioritizing your tasks, ensure that you spend your time and energy on those tasks that are truly important to you by numbering each of the components in order from most to least important.

Here are some questions to consider when prioritizing your tasks:
  • What items must be done today?
  • What items can be rescheduled?
  • What can be delegated?
  • Which tasks most closely match my priorities and goals?
  • Which items can be eliminated?
Delegate Your Tasks
Take a look at your to-do list and consider what you can pass on to someone else. Is there someone else who has (or can be given) the necessary information to complete the task? However, it is important to be conscious of your timelines/deadlines and your expectations or goals for the project when delegating a task.
Limit Distractions
Block out time on your calendar for big projects. During that time, close your door and turn off all electronics to avoid distractions from your friends, family, or work via texts, phone calls, e-mails, etc.

Some of the most common distractions people report are:
  • E-mail
  • Phone calls and/or text messages
  • Internet
  • Other people
  • Work environment
  • Tiredness
  • Noise
Get Plenty of Sleep, Have a Healthy Diet and Exercise Regularly
A healthy lifestyle can improve your focus and concentration, which will help improve your efficiency so that you can complete your work in less time. Eating a balanced diet, exercising at least 60 minutes per day, and sleeping 7 to 9 hours each night can really help!

Say No to Nonessential Tasks
Don’t take on more than you can handle. Be sure to consider your goals and daily schedule before agreeing to take on additional work.

Here are some statements that are beneficial when turning down a task, job, invitation, etc.:
  • “I appreciate that you thought of me, but I cannot do…”
  • “I respect the fact that you want me to attend; please respect the fact that I cannot.”
  • “I am touched that you invited me, but I must decline.”
  • “I would love to, but my schedule will not allow it.”
  • “Although that sounds great, I can’t give it 100%, so, I must pass.”
Poor time management skills are often a direct result of procrastination. A basic definition of procrastination is putting off the things that you should be doing now. Try to beat stress by living a more organized life!

Steps to curing procrastination:
  • Identify your goals--both short term and long term.
  • Reward yourself when you have completed a goal. For example, if you study for 2 hours, take a 30 minute walk outside.
  • Know when to ask for help from professors, friends in class, RA’s or other on-campus services such as the Counseling Center, Career Services, HERC, or the Student Success Center.
  • Handle big projects or papers in steps. No need to tackle it all in 1-2 days.
  • Carry and utilize a planner.
  • Start NOW!
The Health Education Resource Center wants to help you in reducing some of the stress of midterm week, exams, and college life! We will have stress balls, sleep kits, healthy recipes, and relaxation coloring sheets available for all students to use and take with them. See below for the dates and times!
  • October 10th: Bridge Lounge of the MLK Union from noon to 3 PM
  • October 11th: Lawson Hall lobby from noon to 3 PM
  • October 17th: Pavilion between Klehm & Lumpkin Hall from noon to 3 PM
  • October 18th: Thomas Hall lobby from noon to 3 PM 
Request a time management presentation today and the HERC staff will come to you! Whether it is for a residence hall, a Registered Student Organization, class, or other groups, the staff will provide tips, information, and interactive discussions about good time management habits. Visit and fill out the form under “Request Form.”

If you feel as though you need to speak to a counselor, please contact the Counseling Center at (217) 581-3413 or stop by the Human Services Building. If you would like to make an appointment to see a medical provider, please contact the Health Service at (217) 581-3013 or visit