Iowa State University
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News Service

News Service:

Annette Hacker, director,
(515) 294-3720

Office: (515) 294-4777

12-06-05

Contacts:

Dr. Marc Shulman, (515) 451-4950 mobile

Dan Kuester, News Service, (515) 294-0704

Students, travelers should think, act healthy over break

AMES, Iowa -- The recent cold weather has many Iowa State University students and staff looking forward to break. Many will go home, while others may travel to warmer climates.

Whether you're going south, overseas, home or staying on campus, Dr. Marc Shulman of ISU's Thielen Student Health Center has some advice.

"Stay healthy and come back safe," he says. "One of the reasons for break is to recharge yourself mentally and physically."

To stay healthy, he offers some common-sense advice.

Driving

When driving home, he says, everyone wants to make great time. Trying to beat the clock or beat the weather can cause drivers to make poor decisions.

"If you're tired, get off the road. Everyone is excited to get home, but don't drive when you're tired," he said.

He adds, "If you've been drinking, it's never a good idea to drive. Be responsible. It's not just your life you're risking, it's everybody else on the road."

Illness

There's concern worldwide about avian influenza, or "bird flu."

Shulman says that right now, there is no threat in the U.S. "At this time, we don't have strains of avian influenza in the United States that can affect people," he said. "People are worried about it going from human to human, but it doesn't do that yet. It goes from bird to human."

Avian influenza cases in humans in other countries have come from close contact with infected poultry. The healthcare community and the Centers for Disease Control are closely monitoring the disease and how it is spread.

If you come in contact with any poultry that you suspect may be sick, wash your hands, clothes and contact your doctor.

"Eating poultry will not give you the bird flu," Shulman said.

For ordinary flu, Shulman recommends getting vaccinated.

Students, faculty and staff can call ISU's Thielen Student Health Center at (515) 294-5801 to get information.

Relatives

"If you're visiting older relatives - grandparents for instance - who may be infirm, make sure you wash your hands before you meet them," Shulman says. "Make sure you don't bring disease or sickness to others."

Other common-sense advice from the doctor:

Don't share prescription drugs with others. Even though you may have the same symptoms as a friend, don't take drugs not intended for you.

Use sunscreen if you're going somewhere warm, or if you're going skiing.

"Eat right, get rest," may be the best advise Shulman can give. "Spending 10 days sick in bed is a lousy way to spend your break."

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Quote

"Stay healthy and come back safe. One of the reasons for break is to recharge yourself mentally and physically."

Dr. Shulman, ISU's Student Health Service