Student Health Office
Self Help Guide
Common Health Problems
Since the cause for abdominal pain may vary so much from constipation to unexpected pregnancy, please call SHO (x6418) when symptoms are severe to make an appointment for most accurate determination.
Signs and Symptoms
The following occur on the face, back, or shoulders:
- Whiteheads/ blackheads
- Red and painful pimples
- Deeper lumps (cysts or nodules)
Causes and Risk Factors
Acne results when oil ducts below the skin get clogged. Risk factors include:
- Hormone changes during adolescence, before a female’s menstrual period or during pregnancy
- Oily makeup or rich moisturizing lotions
- Nutritional supplements that have iodine, some anticonvulsive medications and lithium, or illegal (anabolic) steroids
- Use an over-the-counter lotion or cream that has benzoyl peroxide
- A topical cream, gel, or liquid with retinoic acid
- A topical cream, lotion or wipe with an antibiotic
- An antibiotic pill
- A specific birth control pill for some females
- If severe, seek help from a dermatologist
- For acne on the face, the most important thing is to gently wash your face with an appropriate cleanser and clean, soft washcloth. Wash after you exercise or sweat. Do not squeeze, scratch or poke at pimples. Avoid the sun and greasy creams or makeup
Allergies and Asthma
- Allergy is the condition in which the immune system reacts to a substance (allergen) that is normally harmless
- Asthma is one condition- a chronic, lower respiratory disease that affects the bronchial tubes
Signs & Symptoms
For common allergies
- Runny, stuffy, or itchy nose. Sneezing. Burning, itchy, or watery eyes. Dark circles under the eyes.
- Itchy, irritated, or red skin
- Loss of smell or taste. Frequent throat clearing.
- Hoarseness. Coughing or wheezing
- Repeated ear and sinus infections
For a severe allergic reaction
- Shortness of breath. A hard time breathing or swallowing. Wheezing.
- Severe swelling all over or of the face, lips, tongue, and/or throat.
- Pale or bluish lips, skin, and/or fingernails.
- Cool, moist skin or sudden onset of pale skin and sweating.
- Feeling dizzy, weak, and/or numb. Fainting. Decreasing level of awareness.
- A cough lasts more than a week. Coughing may be the only symptom. It may occur during the night or after exercising.
- Prolonged shortness of breath. Breathing gets harder and may hurt. It is harder to breathe out than in.
- Chest tightness or pain.
Causes & Risk Factors
In both allergies and asthma, the immune system releases chemicals that cause inflammation. With asthma, the inflammation is in the breathing tubes. With allergies, the inflammatory response can affect the eyes, nasal passages, the skin, etc.
- Touching, breathing or ingesting allergens. Note: Insect stings, nuts, penicillin, and shellfish are common causes of a severe allergic reaction.
The exact cause of asthma is not known. A family history of it and/or having allergies increases the risk for asthma. Note: It is common in children
- who live in houses with pets and/or tobacco smoke.
- Factors that might trigger an asthma attack include: breathing an allergen, respiratory infections, sulfites (addictives in wine and some foods,) some medicines (such as aspirin,) cold air, exercise, strong feelings (including laughing or crying,) hormone changes.
- Avoid allergen(s). Skin tests can identify allergens. Wear a medical ID alert tag for things that cause a severe allergic reaction.
- Take prescribed medicine, such as EpiPen, as advised. Then get emergency care!
- For hives and itching, take on OTC antihistamine, such as Benadryl. Note: Do not take an antihistamine if you have asthma.
- Don’t use hot water for baths, showers, or to wash rash areas
- For itching, use an oatmeal bath or calamine lotion.
- Asthma is too complex to treat with OTC medications. A doctor should diagnose and monitor asthma.
- To prevent asthma attacks, do as follows:
- Don’t smoke or let others smoke in your home. Stay away from smoke and air pollution.
- Drink lots of liquid
- Do not consume things with sulfites, such as wine and some shellfish.
- Protect your sensitive airways by wearing a scarf around your mouth And nose when you are outside in cold weather.
- Stop exercising if you start to wheeze.
- Sit up during an asthma attack.
- Keep your asthma rescue medicine handy and take it as prescribed.
- Use acetaminophen, not aspirin.
- Avoid your asthma triggers. Try to keep your bedroom allergen free.
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