Your Health & You
Alcohol & Your Campus
UW Oshkosh Alcohol Policy
- The alcohol policy of the University and the residence halls is in place to enforce state law and to ensure a safe and secure environment for all residents. Keep in mind that even after you attain the legal age to consume alcohol, it is still an expectation that you consume alcohol responsibly and not engage in behavior that will negatively impact others.
- If an underage student is found in possession of alcohol, University Officials possess the right to dispose of, or have the student dispose of, all alcohol present in the area, including empty alcohol containers.
- If an underage student is found in possession of alcohol paraphernalia (e.g. beer bong, beer bottles full of sand or highlighter fluid, etc.), University Officials possess the right to confiscate all illegal items of this nature present in the area.
Recognizing the Signs of Alcohol Poisoning
Alcohol poisoning occurs when there is so much alcohol in the body that the organs begin to shut down. Alcohol is a depressant, and the depressant effects increase as more alcohol is consumed to point where the brain can no longer support life sustaining functions like breathing or the gag reflex. BAC can continue to rise when a person is unconscious, so it can be very dangerous to leave a person alone to “sleep it off.”
Puking while Passed out: People may vomit after drinking too much, as a way for the body to rid itself of alcohol BEFORE reaching dangerous blood alcohol levels. But, if a person is vomiting AND they are passed out or are struggling to stay awake at the time they are vomiting, this is a clear sign of alcohol poisoning.
Unresponsive to simulation (pinching or shaking): a person who cannot be awakened may be in serious danger. Call for help immediately!
Breathing is shallow and slow: typically, a person whose breathing is very shallow and slow will also be difficult to rouse or wake up. This is a sign that the person’s respiratory system is depressed and they may not be getting enough oxygen to the brain and are in danger of choking on their vomit.
Skin is cold, clammy, or blue: blue skin indicates a severe lack of oxygen and must be addressed immediately to save the person’s life. If a person’s skin is not blue, the person may still need medical attention. If they have cold and clammy skin combined with any other symptom (like unresponsiveness or slow breathing), call for help immediately.
Here are some other critical signs and symptoms to watch out for:
- Mental confusion, stupor, coma, or inability to wake up
- Slow breathing (fewer than 8 breaths per minute or more than 10 seconds between breaths)
- Irregular breathing (10 seconds or more between breaths)
- Hypothermia (low body temperature), bluish skin color, paleness
Coffee, cold showers, or sleeping it off WILL NOT reverse an alcohol overdose. You should call 911 immediately! Remember, Wisconsin has a Good Samaritan Law which protects the overdose victim and the caller from being charged with underage drinking. UW Oshkosh also has a medical amnesty policy, which protects students in emergency situations.
Visit the Mayo Clinic for more information about alcohol poisoning.
Medical Amnesty: What’s it all about?
Have you ever seen someone passed out drunk and thought about calling 911, but didn’t? What stopped you?
Research suggests that fear of police involvement may be the main reason why people do not seek help in an overdose situation. In 2015, Wisconsin passed the Wisconsin Act 279, which provides amnesty for people seeking help in the event of an overdose of drugs or alcohol.
So what does this mean for YOU?
1. A person under the age of 21 who reports an alcohol overdose, as well as the underage person in need of medical attention, is immune from prosecution for a violation of underage possession or consumption if:
- They reported the alcohol-related overdose by contacting the 911 system, a law enforcement officer, or EMS
- The person provided his or her own name to 911 or to law enforcement upon arrival.
- The evidence (alcohol, for instance) was discovered as result of the person calling for help.
2. Students who actively assist in obtaining assistance/medical attention for individuals who are highly intoxicated, will not receive disciplinary sanctions, BUT may receive educational sanctions, for violations of the Alcohol Policy of the Code of Conduct.
For more information about Medical Amnesty at UWO, refer to the University Police website.
All about Blood Alcohol Concentration
What’s your drinking pattern?
What is BAC?
BAC means Blood Alcohol Content, and it is a measurement of the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream at a given time. Many of you may have heard BAC in reference to DUI laws, which prohibit driving with a BAC of 0.08 or higher. BAC is also a useful tool to gauge your level of intoxication.
When your BAC is low and rising, you tend to feel happy, excited, and confident. As your BAC gets higher, the depressant effects of alcohol kick in. At first, you start to feel uncoordinated, and maybe a little tired. At that point, people will often try to have another drink to get the good feelings back, but as your BAC gets higher and higher, you don’t get any more social benefits without also getting sloppy. This is called the bi-phasic response to alcohol.
What factors influence BAC?
1. Sex: men and women have biological differences that allow men to more efficiently process alcohol. This means a man and a woman of the same body weight could drink exactly the same amount of alcohol in the same amount of time and the man will have a lower BAC.
2. Body weight: the more you weigh, the lower your BAC.
3. Number of drinks: this one is a no-brainer right? The more you drink, the higher your BAC.
4. The amount of time you are drinking: 5 shots in 1 hour will lead to a much higher BAC than 5 drinks over 5 hours.
How much is 1 drink?
Even though they come in different sizes, the drinks above are each examples of one standard drink. In the United States, one “standard” drink contains around 14 grams of pure alcohol.
Are you in the “buzz zone”?
We call 0.06 and below the “buzz zone” because you get the maximum social benefits with the least amount of impairment, which is why we like to call this the “buzz zone.”
Alcohol-Based Calculators: http://rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/tools/Calculators/Default.aspx
Alcohol & Your Health from NIAAA: https://niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health
Centers for Disease Control: http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/index.htm
The Student Health Center physicians, nurse practitioners and health promotion coordinator provide basic nutritional counseling for healthy eating and weight management. Call (920) 424-2424 to schedule your appointment.
Key Nutrient Recommendations*
2 cups of fruits per day*
Key nutrient contributions: Many nutrients, especially dietary fiber, potassium, and vitamin C.
Make at least half your fruits, whole fruits (not fruit juices). Juices consumed should be 100% juice without added sugars.
2.5 – 3 cups per day*
Key nutrient contributions: Many nutrients, including dietary fiber, potassium, vitamins A, C, K, E and B6, copper, magnesium, folate, iron, manganese, thiamin, niacin, and choline.
Make half your plate fruits and vegetables, and vary your veggies.
6 ounces per day*
Key nutrient contributions: Whole grains are important sources of dietary fiber, folate, copper, manganese, vitamins B6 and A, selenium, phosphorus, and riboflavin.
Make at least half your grains, whole grains.
5.5 ounces per day*
Key nutrient contributions: Meats, poultry, and seafood = most heme iron; Seafood = most vitamins D and B12; Nuts and seeds = most vitamin E; Soy products = most copper, manganese, and iron; Eggs = most choline; Meats = most zinc; White poultry = most niacin.
2 cups per day*
Key nutrient contributions: The dairy group contributes nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, vitamins A, D and B12, riboflavin, protein, potassium, zinc, choline, magnesium, and selenium.
Fat-free and low-fat dairy products provide the same nutrients but less fat (and fewer calories).
5 teaspoons per day (or 27 grams)*
Key nutrient contributions: Essential fatty acids and vitamin E.
Oils contain a high percentage of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated (healthy) fats and are liquid at room temperature. The amount consumed should replace solid fats rather than being added to the diet.
*These USDA Food Patterns are designed to meet food group and nutrient recommendations within calorie needs for a 2,000-calorie per day diet. A person might not consume all daily calories with the recommended servings listed above and/or may need more or less of these food groups depending on lifestyle.
Check out ChooseMyPlate for more information and healthy eating tips!
Physical Activity & Exercise
Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by the contraction of skeletal muscles that increases energy expenditure above a basal level. Bodily movement can be divided into two categories:
- Baseline activity refers to the light-intensity activities of daily life, such as standing, walking slowly, and lifting lightweight objects. People vary in how much baseline activity they do. People who do only baseline activity are considered to be inactive. They may do very short episodes of moderate- or vigorous-intensity activity, such as climbing a few flights of stairs, but these episodes aren’t long enough to count toward meeting the Guidelines.
- Health-enhancing physical activity is activity that, when added to baseline activity, produces health benefits. Brisk walking, jogging, dancing, lifting weights, playing sports, and doing yoga are all examples of physical activity.
Adults who are physically active are healthier and less likely to develop many chronic diseases than adults who aren’t active — regardless of their gender or ethnicity.
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans focuses on reducing the risk of chronic disease and promoting health-related fitness, particularly cardiovascular and muscular fitness.
Guidelines for Health-Enhancing Physical Activity
- Do aerobic physical activity in episodes of at least 10 minutes and, if possible, spread it out through the week.
- Do Aerobic Activity: For substantial health benefits, do one of the following:
- 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) each week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity (such as brisk walking or tennis)
- 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) each week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity (such as jogging or swimming laps)
- An equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity
- Avoid Inactivity: Some physical activity is better than none — and any amount has health benefits.
- For even greater health benefits, do one of the following:
- Increase moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity to 300 minutes (5 hours) each week
- Increase vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity for 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) each week
- Do Muscle-Strengthening Activity: includes resistance training and lifting weights and causes the body’s muscles to work or hold against an applied force or weight.
- Exercise all of the major muscle groups (leg, hips, back, chest, abdomen, shoulders, and arms) at least 2x per week.
- No specific amount of time is recommended for muscle strengthening, but muscle-strengthening exercises should be performed to the point at which it would be difficult to do another repetition without help
Office of Disease Prevention & Health Promotion: https://health.gov/paguidelines/
Sleep Habits & Academic Performance
College students report at least two times as many sleep difficulties as the general population. This is of particular concern because poor sleep quality can cause increased tension, irritability, depression, confusion and lower life satisfaction. There is also strong evidence that getting adequate sleep can positively affect academic performance and GPA.
WHY do we need sleep?
Sleep is important for a number of reasons. It restores our energy, fights off illness and fatigue by strengthening our immune system, helps us think more clearly and creatively, strengthens memory and produces a more positive mood and better performance throughout the day. Sleep isn’t just a passive activity and something to fill the time when we are inactive, but rather it is an active and dynamic process vital for normal motor and cognitive function.
HOW MUCH sleep do we need?
Most adults need somewhere between 6-10 hours of sleep per night. Different people need different amount of sleep to feel rested. If you are frequently tired or irritable during the day and find yourself sleeping more than an extra 2 hours per night on weekends, then you are probably not getting enough sleep during the week. Try for 7-8 hours and see how you feel.
What are the RISKS of sleep deprivation?
Lack of sleep is associated with both physical and emotional health risks.
- More illness, such as colds and flu, due to a lowered immune system
- Feeling more stressed out
- Increased weight gain and obesity
- Lower GPA and decreased academic performance
- Increased mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety
- Increased automobile accidents due to fatigue caused by “drowsy driving”
- Decreased performance in athletics and other activities that require coordination
Should you take a NAP?
Approximately 30-50% of college students nap, but the effect is that nappers sleep less than non-nappers. If you do nap, nap early in the day and keep it to about 20-30 minutes.
Sleep & Academic Performance
According to a health survey administered to UWO students, 1 in 5 students indicate that lack of sleep has impacted their academic performance in a negative way. They have made lower grades, missed a paper or project deadline, or had to withdraw from class. Some students rely on staying up most of the night to study, but pulling an all-nighter and cramming at the last minute can actually be counterproductive.
The very qualities you need to maximize in order to do well on tests, such as recall, concentration, and alertness, are decreased when you are sleep deprived. Research has shown that students who get 6 or fewer hours of sleep have a lower GPA than those who get 8 or more.
Additional Sleep Resources:
Sleep Disorders...Do you have one?
Sleep disorders…Do you have one?
Most of us have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep at some point in our lives. Sometimes these problems are temporary and can be due to stress. In other cases, the problem persists for weeks or even months. If you are unable to fall asleep for more than 30 minutes after going to bed, 3 or more nights per week for 4 weeks, then you may have what is known as primary insomnia. This may be due to psychological and/or physiological causes, and if it persists for more than a month, you should see your clinician.
For more information on sleep disorders, click here.
Use condoms every time you have oral, anal, or vaginal sex. Know where to get condoms and how to use them correctly. Aside from abstinence, condoms are the only contraceptive method that also protects you from sexually transmitted infections.
Choose a birth control method that works for you and your partner(s).
Get the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to protect you and your partner from genital warts and cancer.
Talk with your partner(s) about healthy sexuality, including pregnancy prevention, STI testing, and consent. Learn how to build and maintain a healthy relationship.
Get tested regularly for sexually transmitted infections. Many STIs do not cause symptoms, so getting tested is the only way to know for sure if you or your partner have an STI.
Avoid using alcohol or drugs before having sex. If you are impaired, you may be more likely to take risks, like not using a condom. Plus, you are less able to give and receive consent.
Make an appointment to meet with a medical provider to assist you in developing a quit plan. You are more likely to succeed with your quit attempt if you have a plan, use nicotine replacement products and prescribed medication.