No stress, keep the sex, read the signs

College life can easily overwhelm students. Students, new and old, may find themselves caught up in various extracurricular activities or buried in large heaps of academic papers.

Often, health is put on the back burner and symptoms of underlying problems are ignored.

1. Say “no” to stress

Stress weakens the immune system and is a risk factor for certain heart-related conditions, meaning it is important to keep one’s stress levels as low as possible.

A survey conducted by Harris Interactive for the American Psychological Association in 2012 said adults aged 18-33 have higher levels of stress than the rest of the American population. This may be due to the pressures of being a college student.

Students need to pay attention to their stress levels and try to find healthy ways to cope, said Wichita State psychology student Samantha Reed. Some people go to the gym, some go to church and some join groups where they can interact with like-minded individuals. Taking a yoga class at the Heskett Center and visiting a counselor can make a rough semester a lot less stressful.

2. Safe sex or no sex.

Like most things in life, sex comes with its pros and cons.

Sexually transmitted infections that are not diagnosed and treated early can lead to serious health issues, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). The most common STI is the human papillomavirus (HPV). The CDC recommends getting HPV vaccinations before becoming sexually active.

Student Health Services offers STI testing and treatment for both men and women. Other services offered by Student Health include HIV testing, pap tests, pregnancy testing and birth control.

3. Don’t ignore the signs.

Some students are reluctant to get checked by a medical professional for several reasons. It may be due to anxiety, fear or the overly optimistic belief that nothing is wrong.

Some students were brought up to wait for symptoms to go away by themselves, nursing major Precious Omotayo said. Waiting may not be the best option.

“Before it gets worse, get checked,” Omatayo said.

Others refuse to visit medical professionals for financial reasons. Fortunately for WSU students, office visits at Student Health Services are affordable.

“I wouldn’t hesitate to make an appointment,” Chris Friling, a medical technology senior, said. “It’s cheap. It’s fast.”

Early detection of diseases, like diabetes and different types of cancer, can make a huge difference. It would also help students to educate themselves about their families’ medical history.

When it comes to health, ignorance isn’t bliss.

Student Health Services are located in Ahlberg Hall, 978-3620.