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Spring break safety tips for college students
Joshua Knopp / Staff Writer
With Spring Break coming up, there are several ways that college students can have safe, fun breaks, said student services coordinator at the health and wellness center Noelle McIntyre.
If students are planning on traveling, or just staying in a familiar place, safety is a necessity, McIntyre said. Dangers can creep up from sex, alcohol and the simple fact of being on vacation.
She said her top rule for staying safe is to stay with friends at all times, and it “eliminates about 98 percent of the bad drama.”
“Also, be on the lookout for signs of predatory drugs: extreme wooziness, confusion, difficulty standing and slurring speech,” she said. “If you notice these symptoms in yourself, find your friends immediately and tell them to get you outta there. If you see these signs in a friend, do your friend duty and take them back to the hotel or to a hospital if symptoms are severe.”
McIntyre said that while there is no such thing as safe sex, there are practices that can reduce risk.
These include monogamy with a healthy partner, correct use of a male latex condom and knowing sexually transmitted infection status and any partner’s STD status. She also said vaccinations against the human papilloma virus and Hepatitis B were important, and referred students to Planned Parenthood’s website for specific information about STDs.
A new free website, qpid.me, has started to help confirm the STD status of new partners. Participants can enter their personal information and give the site authorization to access their test results and send their test results to prospective partners upon request.
McIntyre also said to limit risk by limiting alcohol use, particularly in hot tubs where alcohol’s effect combined with blood vessel dilation can dangerously lower blood pressure.
However, in a choice between a wild and relaxing spring break, pre-political science freshman John Andrews hopes to “have a wild one.”
“Currently, I’m probably going to South Padre,” Andrews said. “I’m not set yet because my friends aren’t sure. There’s supposed to be a big rave there.”
Pre-communication design freshman Patricia Cruz has plans on the opposite side of the spectrum.
“I’m going to go to Austin, because that’s where I’m from,” Cruz said. “Probably catch up with friends and be lazy. And tan, hopefully.”
McIntyre’s other travel tips included packing medical supplies and over-the-counter medications, sticking together, keeping cell phones and IDs and giving your itinerary to people who aren’t there.
“Above all, use your common sense,” she said. “You’re in college because you had the grades and motivation to be accepted. Use those skills while you’re out of town, and stay safe.”