Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The UCF Health Center Women's Clinic

By: Karen Yerkes, ARNP - UCF Health Center

For a healthy you, be physically active each day, eat colorful meals, have regular preventive screenings at the clinic and avoid risky behaviors. All new patients at the UCF Health Center's Women’s Clinic receive educational packets on physical fitness, healthy diets, daily calcium, health screenings, preventive measures like self breast exam and HPV vaccines.

Physical exercise has terrific benefits for a healthy woman. These health benefits include relaxation, stress management, weight management and energy gains. Active women feel healthier and tend to outlive inactive women. Walking can improve your life by adding energy. Yoga focuses on breathing and meditation; working in unison to provide a clearer mind.

Eat more nutritional meals with a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Low fat dairy products like skim or 1% milk, yogurts and cheeses help to keep your bones strong. Folic acid in fortified breads and cereals, green leafy vegetables and folic acid supplements or women’s daily vitamins will boost your immune system and prevent serious birth defects. All women of child-bearing age will benefit from folic acid supplements.

Preventive screenings like clinical breast exams, SBE, cervical cancer screenings and the Gardasil vaccine are available at the UCF Health Center Women’s Clinic. We provide comprehensive women’s health services such as: contraceptive prescribing and counseling, routine PAP screening, colposcopy referrals and exams, HPV vaccinations, STI testing and counseling, and pregnancy testing and counseling.

We are located in the Purple Pod on second floor of the UCF Health Center.

A great reference for healthy women is:

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

How to Treat the Symptoms of Colds and Flu

By: Jason Perry, UF PharmD student - UCF Pharmacy Intern

Cold and flu symptoms make you feel miserable. There are, however, options available without a prescription to treat some of the most bothersome symptoms. Please seek medical attention if you have a fever over 102°F, have colored phlegm with fever and chills, or your symptoms do not improve.


Fevers are a natural defense against infection. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) are available over-the-counter to reduce fevers. NSAIDS include ibuprofen, naproxen and ketoprofen.


Rest! You may feel tired for a number of reasons. Loss of sleep due to illness, lack of nutrients from vomiting or not eating, infection, and dehydration are some potential causes. Resting is one way to help your body heal. Get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids.


Coughing is a natural defense against lung infection. There is only one ingredient available over-the-counter that will treat a cough, it is dextromethorphan. If your cough is productive (you can break up mucus) then you should avoid suppressing your cough.


Sneezing can be treated with over-the-counter antihistamines. There are several to choose from. Antihistamines are available as drowsy or non-drowsy formulations. Keep in mind, these products may cause dry mouth so drink plenty of fluids.

Sore Throat

If your sore throat is due to a simple cold you should increase your fluid intake, gargle with warm salt water, use lozenges, take an over the counter pain reliever (Tylenol or Advil) and rest your voice. To create salt water solution use ¼ teaspoon of salt in half a glass of warm water. Please seek medical attention if you’ve had a sore throat for several days and it is accompanied by a fever.


Sinus pressure and congestion can cause significant discomfort. There are two products available without a prescription that can be taken by mouth; they are pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine. Pseudoephedrine is more effective and is kept behind the pharmacy counter. Decongestant nasal sprays are also available and should not be used for more than two days.
Further reading and additional information can be found at

Cold and Flu Care Kits are available at YOUR UCF Pharmacy and Knight Aide for ONLY $5.00!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

By: Glenn E. Gaborko, Jr. PA-C MPAS - UCF Health Center Provider

Everyone knows that uncomfortable feeling of a runny, congested nose, sore, scratchy throat, and sneezing – the first signs of a cold which probably is the most common illness known. Although usually very mild, the common cold lasts from one to two weeks and is the leading cause of doctor’s office visits and of job and school absenteeism.

We call it the “common cold” for a good reason. It is estimated that there are over one billion colds in the United States annually. There are over 200 different viruses (particularly the rhinoviruses) documented that cause the symptoms of a cold. Children typically are the most common carriers of the viruses. They are exposed in school and the virus spreads to the home where the parents keep the strain alive with their coworkers.

Colds can occur year-round, but they occur mostly in the winter (even in areas such as Central Florida with mild winters). In areas where there is no winter, colds are most common during the rainy season. Seasonal changes in humidity also may affect the prevalence of colds. The most common viruses are able to live with low humidity and cool temperatures. Cold weather also dries out the nasal passage that makes one more vulnerable to a viral infection.

When a person has a cold, their nasal passages are swarming with virus. Nose blowing and wiping along with sneezing spread the virus. You can catch a cold by inhaling the virus if you are sitting close to someone who sneezes, or by touching your nose, eyes, or mouth after you have touched something contaminated by the virus.

Once exposed, the body does everything it can to fight back. The immune response sends a message to the brain, which releases special white blood cells to the infected area. Typically involving the nasal passages, the membranes become inflamed and swollen. Increased mucous production is initiated and hence the runny nose.

The three most frequent symptoms of a cold are a runny nose, sneezing, and nasal congestion. People are most contagious for the first 2 or 3 days of the illness, and usually not contagious by days 7 to 10. Adults and older children routinely have minimal or no fever at all. Once you have “caught” a cold, the symptoms will begin in 2 to 3 days. Initially with a watery discharge that leads to nasal secretions that become thicker in nature and yellow or green in color. This is a normal part of the common cold and there is no need for antibiotics because of the color of the nasal discharge.

Depending on which virus attacks your body, other symptoms that you could have as well include: sore throat, cough, muscle aches, headache, postnasal drip, and decreased appetite. Still, if indeed it is a true common cold, the main symptoms will occur in the nose. The entire cold is usually over within 7 days possibly with a few lingering symptoms.

While we live in a society very dependent on antibiotics, the common cold is NOT treated with antibiotics. Over-the-counter cough and cold preparations will not actually shorten the length of the cold, but they will decrease the symptoms, which provide relief to the person. Decongestants will drain the mucous while antihistamines will dry the membranes. Throat lozenges and cough drops will help sooth the scratchy throat. Meanwhile, plenty of rest and relaxation will also help the body build its natural response to the infection. Plenty of fluids also help flush the body of the virus. Lastly, chicken soup has been used for treating the common cold since the 12th century. The heat, fluid and salt may help you fight the infection.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Is Body Image Affecting Your Health?

By: Meghan Van Camp, RD, LD/N - UCF Wellness Center Nutritionist

For many students, both males and females, body image is a sensitive topic that causes stress and feelings of inadequacy. These students have a distorted view of a healthy body image which can be detrimental to their health and well being.

There are many influences affecting one’s self image. In particular, the barrage of images that the media supplies can not be overlooked. From the pages of fashion magazines to the actors in movies and mannequins in store windows, we are confronted with super thin or super hero images that are not realistic and usually unobtainable in a healthy way.

Let’s put things into perspective.

The average woman is 5 feet 4 inches and weights 140 pounds. That represents a BMI of 24 which is considered a healthy weight by all nutritional standards.

The average model, on the other hand, measures 5 feet 11 inches and weighs 114 pounds. This size has a BMI of 16.3 which is classified as malnourished.

Many models employ dangerous eating habits that can result in tragic health issues. After a model died from cardiac arrest while walking the runway, the modeling industry in Madrid created new regulations to help insure the model’s health. Models are now required to maintain a minimum BMI of 18 to work in Madrid.

Eight million people have eating disorders in America alone. Eating disorders are accompanied by lack of self esteem, lack of confidence and stress resulting from their negative body image. This can lead not only to serious health issues but can hold individuals back from accomplishing their goals in life. Symptoms of negative body image include chronic dieting, constant negative thoughts about one’s body, preoccupation with numbers, and little concern for one’s overall health.

If some of these issues feel like they are getting out of control for you or a friend, help is all around you. UCF students can get advice and assistance from professionals at the Wellness Center, Counseling Center and Health Center. Call 407.823.2811 for Counseling, 407.823.3850 for an appointment with a Dietitian or Health Center provider, or drop by the Wellness Center on the first floor of RWC to discuss your concerns with a Certified Peer Consultant who can help you decide on the next step.