The Health Education Resource Center (HERC) is affiliated with Health Service and serves as a source of information on health related topics. The HERC provides students, faculty and staff with a wide variety of health programs. The HERC's goal is to keep EIU's campus healthy, so students can succeed at all of their university endeavors.
EIU, students and staff alike are always looking for new ways to help improve
the daily lives of the campus community. So what is the HERC up to this Spring
semester? One of the new programs that are being featured during Spring 2013 is
the EIU Fruits & Vegetables Campaign!
the Fruits and Vegetables Campaign? The HERC is getting together and working
with County Market and EIU Housing and Dinning in an attempt to get students to
increase their daily consumption of fruits and vegetables to 5-9 servings per
day. According to the American College Health Association, the average servings
a college student consumes of fruits and vegetables each day is only about 2.
is the proper serving amount when it comes to our fruit and vegetable intake?
Well according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and MyPlate,
on average half of your plate each meal should be made up of fruits and
is determined to show students that eating healthy doesn’t mean that you have
to ‘suffer’ through boring foods that they easily get tired of or may never
have the taste for. Each week the Campaign will have a theme in which there
will be certain goals that the participants will take part in. From "Getting Leafy with it" to “Going Bananas,” there are a wide variety of fun and
interesting themes. Each week participating students will also get an
informational card that has tips for the week that go along with each theme.
The informational card will also include a yummy recipe on it! And let’s be
honest… What can go wrong with a free healthy recipe for brownies or omelets?
To accompany this campaign, which will primarily
take place within the dining halls, there will be posters and paw prints
located throughout the dining halls, student union, and County Market that will
help provide students with more helpful tips and information. A presentation
will also be made available upon request which would be great for floor
programs, student organization meetings and more!
This year can be
a year for change, so why not start with a change for the better? Start with
learning about proper nutrition and about the importance of fruits and
vegetables by taking part in this year’s Fruits & Vegetables 2013 Campaign! For more information or to sign up in the
focus group, please email the Nutrition Education Coordinator at email@example.com.
Want a sneak
peak at the campaigns themes? Check it out! Timeline of
Eat 5-9 Servings to Fuel Your 9-5 Life
Make ½ Your Plate Fruits & Vegetables
Get Leafy With It
Veg Out Get Fruity
The ever present sounds of sneezing and coughing ahve begun to surround us once more Panthers! This can only mean one thing... Cold and Flu season has reared its ugly head once again.
While we all pretty much know the basics about the cold and flu and what we can do to prevent it, and this year it is especially important to keep all of that in mind. Why you say? Because according to the Huffinton Post: Huffpost Healthy Living Online, The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Friday [1/18/13] that "the country is facing a particularly bad flu season - one that struck early and is likely to last for several more weeks," according to CDC director Dr. Tom Friedman, "the disease is now widespread in 47 states, up from 41 last week."
Now, while to many
this information may sound a little scary, it is important to remember these
numbers include both sever and mild cases of the flu. So don’t fret dear
readers! There are many ways in which you can protect yourself from catching
the flu. We all know the drill: wash our hands, cover our nose/mouth with a
sleeve or, better yet, a tissue when we cough or sneeze, and of course get our
flu shot. Unfortunately, the last one is often ignored.
It is a well known
fact that the Flu vaccination can help prevent and or lessen the effects of the
Flu. Everyone is recommended to get the shot, but it is very important for
young children (over the age of 6 months) and the elderly to get one, along
with those who have a compromised immune system. These are only some of those
that are at the highest risk of infection, others can still be easily infected
including those that spend a lot of time in classrooms and offices, along with
those such as college students that room together in close quarters. According
to Bill Hanage, an epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health, “a
flu season’s severity boils down to the susceptibility of the population and
the types of viruses that are going around” (The Huffington Post: Huffpost
Healthy Living Online).
It is important to
get a flu vaccination every year because the “strands” or types of viruses have
a tendency of changing from year to year. So with each change, there is a
change in the vaccine to help cover a wider variety of strands.
With news of this
year’s outbreak being one of the worst in 10 years spreading across the nation,
it is no surprise that people are scrambling around to try and find places that
are still providing the vaccine. One pharmacist, Keila Mena, was quoted saying
that "No one wanted shots at the beginning of the season. We were
basically begging people" (The Huffington Post: Huffpost Healthy Living
Online). Flu vaccinations generally start circulating around the month of
October, so why is there always a scramble once the flu actually starts coming
There are the
common reasons as to why people wait: They don’t like shots, or they are too
busy to stop and get one, or the very lame excuse that ‘I never get sick!’ But when it comes down to it, there isn’t a
person alive that is 100% immune to everything. Yes, using proper hand washing
techniques and covering your nose and/or mouth when coughing/sneezing can help
prevent the spread of these viruses, but getting vaccinated is still the number
one recommendation for everyone.
Now, while a lot of
this may, again, seem a little scary to some: I urge you not to freak out!
Worrying is only going to cause unnecessary stress, which can then lead to
getting sick easier. All you need to do is make sure you are as prepared as you
can be. Follow these nice easy steps, and you can help keep yourself protected
on a daily basis:
Get the Shot!
Check with Health
Service to see if they have any vaccinations available! They run many flu
clinics throughout the fall semester that provide free shots for students and
staff. But if you have missed those windows of opportunity, it doesn’t hurt to
call and ask to see what is available! If they don’t have any in stock, they
may be able to point you in the right direction as to where you may be able to
find someone who does!
your Hands is a Must!
I know we hear it
all the time, but it’s true! Washing your hands often will help protect you
from germs. Wash your hands for at least 30 seconds to effectively kill germs.
You can measure the time by singing the "Happy Birthday" song twice.
When you can’t wash your hands, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer.
Coughs & Sneezes!
It is common
courtesy… Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing/sneezing can
help prevent those around you from getting sick. It is also important to avoid
touching your eyes, nose, and mouth because it makes it easier for germs to
travel after you’ve touched a possibly contaminated surface. ICK!
Keep Shared Surfaces
Office equipment, handrails,
desks… They all are used by several people throughout the day. So it is
important to keep these shared areas cleaned and disinfected more often than
other times of the year.
Importantly: Listen to your Body
You know yourself
better than anyone else. If you aren’t feeling 100% then something is up.
Remember to drink plenty of fluids (at least 8 glasses of water a day), get
enough sleep, and avoid close contact with those who may be sick and/or if you
are sick. Plenty of rest is needed in order to fight any bug, so make it a
Getting the right
information is important, especially when it comes to keeping yourself and
others around you healthy. For more information about colds and the flu,
contact the Health Service at (217)581-3013 or check out the HERC’s Cold and
Flu Page online at: http://eiu.edu/herc/coldfluprevention.php
“Flu Outbreak 2013:
Many Americans Caught Off-Guard; CDC Unveils Updated Numbers” by Lynne Peeples
for the Huffington Post: Huffpost Healthy Living Online. Posted on 01/11/2013 at:
many times have you heard the phrase, “The dumbest question is the one that’s
never asked”? Let’s face it… we all want to ask certain questions about our
health and wellness, but still have a tendency to feel like those topics are
off limits and should be kept quiet. It has been drilled into our minds that we
are supposed to just ‘know’ these things and/or just figure them out for
ourselves; but seriously… you can’t know if you don’t ask! Here at EIU, one of
the many health related organizations include the H.E.A.L.T.H. Peer Education
Program, also known as H.E.A.L.T.H.: Peer to Peer.
what does H.E.A.L.T.H. stand for exactly? It stands for Helping, Educating,
Advocating, and Learning Through Health. EIU’s Peer Education program helps to
provide an opportunity for students to promote positive lifestyle choices among
their fellow students, while also providing students with some helpful
you may be wondering… What exactly does a Peer Educator do? Well, in a nut
shell, a Peer Educator helps create and run relaxed, yet informative programs
on a wide variety of health related topics. These topics can and do range from
healthy sexuality to things such as alcohol and other substance abuse
prevention. These programs are presented to different organizations both on and
off campus and throughout the community. These include, but are not limited to:
resident halls, sororities and fraternities, academic classes, as well as other
interested student organizations!
I bet you’re asking yourself: Why are Peer Educators and this program so
important? Well that answer is obvious… right? We all know just how awkward it
can be to ask questions in general, let alone about topics such as sex, health,
and substance abuse such as alcohol and bystander intervention. Students who
both lead these programs, as well as attend them can benefit immensely!
study that was done at the University of California, Santa Barbara reported in
2009 that they believed that “Peer Health Educators play an important role in
promoting healthy behaviors in the areas of alcohol and drug use and in eating
and nutrition.” Some of the positive results of the study included the fact
that students reported after having contact with a Peer Educator, they were
more likely to report less alcohol consumption and less related negative
consequences after their first year in college, while those who had no contact
with a Peer Educator didn’t show these same changes. They also reported that
while students who had contact with Peer Health Educators initially engaged in
more unhealthy weight management behaviors then did their no-contact
counterparts during their first year, they were also more likely to decrease in
these types of behaviors, while those that had no contact with Peer Health
Educators showed no changes at all (White, 503).With these types of positive
changes being seen throughout the country, it is easy to see why these types of
programs are needed, and how they benefit the student’s involved.
that lead the programs here at EIU begin by becoming educated in the topics
covered as well as become certified in peer education. These leaders then gain
confidence in themselves and their skills in areas such as leadership,
presentations, motivational speaking and in running different team building
scenarios. As a Peer Educator, you will become a valued source of information
and a role model to your fellow students.
a participant of the program, students gain valuable information that can help
them make overall healthier lifestyle choices. Students can ask their questions
in a safe, nonjudgmental environment, which is always a plus for those of us
who tend to shy away from these kinds of subjects! There is no worrying about
being judged, because these environments are run and attended by your peers!
And it is safe to say that if you have a question, even one you think is really
“silly” or “awkward,” then someone else is bound to have the same and/or
involved is important, especially when it comes to Peer Education and support.
For more information about the H.E.A.L.T.H. Peer Education Program and to
become a H.E.A.L.T.H. Peer Educator, contact the Community Organizing and
Leadership coordinator at (217) 581-7786 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Journal of American College Health:
Mar/Apr2009, Vol. 57 Issue 5, p497-506
Evaluation of Peer
Health Education on a College Campus: Impact on Health Behaviors.”
By Sabina White, Young S. Park, Tania Israel, and Elizabeth D. Cordero