Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Vacation, vaccines go hand-in-hand

Students preparing for Spring Break often overlook staying healthy during their vacations. However, there are a number of organizations at the University of Wisconsin to help students plan to be healthy no matter where they will be over break.

Amanda Borleske, Wisconsin Society of Pharmacy Students operation immunization coordinator, said students should make sure to look ahead of time to see if there are any recommended vaccines and health tips for their travel destinations.

Borleske warned students may be exposed to diseases such as yellow fever, hepatitis A, typhoid fever and rabies, but students can take measures to protect themselves.

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"Immunizations are optional, but you really should — you're traveling at your own risk if you don't," Rob Dall'Asta, a Travel Center student advisor, said.

Vaccine and other medical travel advice can be obtained by contacting the UW-Travel Clinic where advice is tailored based on where the student is traveling.

Joan Calkins, Travel Clinic Nurse stressed students should especially plan early as many vaccines require a few weeks to provide effective protection.

"Students should make appointments now, because [the travel clinic] can't take care of everyone at the last minute," Calkins said.

Although vaccines should be considered for foreign travel, students should also be aware of general health tips. University Health Services is currently putting together a Spring Break campaign that stresses the importance of safer sex and safer alcohol use during trips.

"The campaign is not necessarily for students going away," UHS Communications Manager Jonathan Zarov said. "It seems like students drink more over spring break [since] they have more free time."

Zarov suggested students be careful not only about how much they drink, but also about where they are drinking.

"Try having a non-alcoholic drink between ones that are alcoholic," Zarov said. "Drinking is an environmental problem, where you are has an influence on what you do."

Whether going to a club in Mexico or Madison, one way students can increase health and safety when going out is to designate a sober person, according to Kathleen Kuhnan, nurse manager of the Women's Clinic at UHS.

"The designated sober person makes sure everyone gets home safely and ideally that they do not drink too much," Kuhnan said.

And Kuhnan said she also feels it is important that students make "commitments" with each other — in terms of alcohol consumption and who they leave with — in order to lower the risk of sexual assault.

While it is important for those planning foreign travel to explore possible vaccinations to protect themselves from disease, it is important for students to protect themselves if they choose to engage in sexual intercourse, Calkins and Kuhnan said.

Regardless of where they are, Calkins said, students are in an environment to acquire a sexually transmitted infection if having sex.

"Condoms, condoms, condoms," Kunhan said. "They are important for two issues, preventing pregnancy and preventing STIs."

Students can visit the Operation Immunization website through the Wisconsin Society of Pharmacy Students at http://travelinfo.zapto.org.

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