• By Katherine Ruby, Minot State nursing student

Stay safe on spring break

There are many places to travel in the world. With Spring Break approaching, many of us are excited to plan our trip. Many times, we forget about safety, which should be a priority when choosing a destination. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends protecting yourself and others around you while you are traveling.

Limit alcohol: If you are planning to drink, be responsible. Protect yourself by knowing your surroundings, not drinking excessively, never leaving your drink unattended, and never driving under the influence.

According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), people ages 18-22 drank 48.2% in the last month while college students the same age drank 53% of the time. College students between the ages of 18-24 are very vulnerable while under the influence.

It is estimated that in 2017, about 1,519 people died from unintentional alcohol-related injuries. It was reported that 696,000 students were assaulted by another student, while 97,000 reported being sexually assaulted or date raped.

Approximately 9.6% of full-time students meet the criteria for alcohol use disorder. According to the CDC, one in four students reported academic difficulties from alcohol such as missing class, getting behind on schoolwork, or forgetting due dates.

Plan accordingly: Research the area you are traveling to and what activities you plan to partake in. If you are going to be hiking or camping, make sure you have the all the equipment you need. It is important to research the trails’ terrains along with resources available to you.

If you are going to a body of water, make sure you know boating laws and how to stay safe. Always let another person know where you will be and provide them with contact information.

Be active: As students, we spend a lot of our time sitting in class and spend hours on homework assignments. Eat a well-balanced diet with meats, vegetables, and grains. Get out of the routine of late-night snacks and eat more nutrient-based foods that keep you fuller longer while giving you adequate energy. As always, stay hydrated by drinking enough water if you are out in the sun or hitting the slopes.

Protect yourself: Think about all the different ways to protect yourself. If you are in the sun, wear sunscreen and protective clothing because you can still get a sunburn through clothing. Protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses. If you wear contacts, make sure to have a backup set and second pair of glasses. It is important to bring your glasses so you can take your contacts out because sleeping in them can cause permanent eye damage.

Protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases. Wear latex condoms and limit your partners. Avoid situations and people that put you at risk for sexual violence.

As college students, we are finally on our own which requires us to be responsible for ourselves. Remember to educate yourself, know your limits, and listen to what your body is telling you. We are all working hard to follow our dreams. Make sure you return to school injury-free with an epic trip to brag about.

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