Concussions: Know the Symptoms, Get Help

With annual rates nearly doubling since 2007, concussions are a frequent cause of missed school and work among college students. The frequency of these head injuries now reaches in the millions each year.

During Brain Injury Awareness Month, we’d like to give you the tools to determine if you (or a friend) have a concussion and should seek medical care to assist with your recovery.

A concussion is a mild form of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a direct blow to the head or an indirect blow to the upper body–the force of which is transferred to the head and brain. This negatively affects the brain’s ability to function normally.

Contrary to common belief, concussions can occur with or without loss of consciousness. Participants in certain sports are at higher risk for concussion, but at least 30% of the concussions cared for by the IU Health Center occur in non-athletes. Students may slip on the ice, hit their head on a dorm bunk bed, or simply trip and fall, sometimes under the influence of alcohol, and sometimes not.

The effects of concussions are divided into four categories.

  • Physical: The most common, persistent physical symptoms and signs include headache, nausea, light and sound sensitivity, vomiting, and dizziness.
  • Emotional: Individuals with a concussion are more sensitive to stress and fear, and may find themselves emotionally upset to extremes that seem out of proportion for the event.
  • Cognitive: These symptoms pose some of the greater challenges for college students whose primary role is to attend class, learn, and demonstrate their knowledge on a daily basis. The cognitive repercussions include mental fogginess, difficulty focusing and concentrating, and trouble with memory.
  • Sleep: To make matters worse, concussion can adversely affect the quality of students’ sleep–specifically through delay in falling asleep or staying asleep. However, separating these symptoms from the typically sleep-deprived college student can be challenging.

Treatment for concussions is focused on mental, cognitive, and physical rest. Immediately after an injury, we recommend full rest from all academic activities–often a significant challenge for students. The amount of rest varies, but typically begins with 3-5 days.

Following re-evaluation, we may suggest specific re-entry into academic activities with a “return to learn” progression. Students can start with solely attending class (with no outside coursework), then advance to attempting homework, and finally to taking exams.

While resting and gradually increasing mental activity, it is also important to minimize screen time, practice good sleep habits, and stay hydrated. Physical activity should be restricted until all symptoms are fully resolved, as there is an increased risk of severe brain injury during recovery.

Our healthcare providers are experienced in guiding patients’ return to their normal college lives. If you suspect a concussion, call 812-855-7688 and asked to be scheduled with Dr. David Fletcher, our concussion specialist within the Sports Performance and Fitness Health Clinic. The sooner you get help, the better.

IU Kicks Butts Day!

Wednesday, March 22 is the first annual IU Kicks Butts Day! Join us at Wellness at Wells from 1:00-3:00 p.m. (Wells Library Learning Commons, Room 138) for tobacco cessation activities, wellness assessments, free quit kits, free massage, aromatherapy, frisbees, and other fun giveaways!

Did you know Indiana University Bloomington’s campus is tobacco-free?

Quit now. We won’t lecture you. You probably already know that using tobacco is expensive, dangerous, and dirty. We offer support, counseling, and free nicotine replacement therapy, including patches, gum, and lozenges.

In 2016, Indiana University Health Center was awarded a $20,000 grant as part of the American Cancer Society and the CVS Health Foundation’s Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative (TFGCI), a $3.6 million multi-year program intended to accelerate and expand the adoption and implementation of 100 percent smoke- and tobacco-free campus policies. This grant supports our Refresh IU tobacco-free activities, including Kicks Butts Day!

“April 1 is my 30th anniversary of being tobacco free,” said Cathy Wyatt, IU Health Center Assistant Director of Disease Prevention Programs. “I used tobacco beginning when I was 15 years old, sneaking a cigarette butt out of my father’s ashtray. My father was my hero and I wanted to be like him, but that first inhale was followed by 18 years of a heavy addiction. During those years I smoked in the car, in the house and at my work bench in Dad’s Neon Sign shop where I worked. I smoked over two packs a day when I finally came to terms with the cost, health benefits, and how I was role modeling an unhealthy behavior to my own children.”

According to the CDC, tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of death and disease. Many students and employees feel stress from school, work, or family expectations and use tobacco for coping. We do our best to make the process of becoming tobacco-free as easy as possible in a judgment-free environment.

“30 years after becoming tobacco-free, I still wake up thankful that I’m not controlled by something that doesn’t walk, talk, think, or reason,” said Wyatt. “I’m happy to be here to help anyone who wants freedom from tobacco.”

Want to share your own story? Leave a comment here or share it on social media this Wednesday with #IUKicksButts!

Tobacco cessation appointments can be made in groups or individually and are FREE! Tobacco cessation sessions are scheduled for Indiana Memorial Union Room M005, or the IU Health Center on Tenth and Jordan. To make an appointment, call 812-856-4468 or join us this Wednesday to chat and set up an appointment in person.

Interested in helping other students with tobacco cessation and more? Check out our student Peer Health and Wellness Educator program. Applications are open now through April 1.

Physical Therapy Department Expands

Undergoing a major upgrade, the IUHC Physical Therapy department has expanded to a 5-times-larger facility, and physical therapy services are now available to faculty and staff.

The new physical therapy center, located on the first floor of the Health Center, allows for easy access to patients and significant room for new equipment and additional employees.

The center hosts a variety of new equipment, including a built-in Theraband wall station, a Plyoback machine, a bike, and a treadmill. The Theraband station allows for targeted, safe strength training with bands of differing resistance levels, while the Plyoback machine is used for rebounding medicine balls, improving balance, and jogging exercises.

Dave Bancek, the newest addition to the PT staff, prepares for appointments in his office.

In addition to current staff physical therapists, Patti Grant and Amanda Clark, the Health Center is excited to welcome a new part-time physical therapist to the team, Dave Bancek.

Bancek is thrilled to be back at the school where he earned his undergraduate degree. Since graduating from IU, he received his PT degree at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri, and has been a practicing physical therapist for 21 years.

In his off days from our facility, Bancek conducts physical therapy home care in Indianapolis, where he currently resides. His favorite part of his job is unsurprising for a physical therapists–seeing his patients improve.

Patti Grant, Jennifer Webb, and Amanda Clark in the new facility.

A new technician, Jennifer Webb, recently joined the PT staff as well. She previously worked for six years as a medical assistant in the Health Center.

The hiring of Bancek and Webb enables the Health Center to expand its physical therapy services to all IU faculty and staff on Blue Cross Blue Shield plans. Physical therapy is now the eleventh service the Health Center offers to university employees (see our full catalog of employee services here).

The PT department offers a wide range of services for musculoskeletal injuries, acute or chronic spine or extremity issues, and post-operative recovery.

Experiencing pain that interferes with your daily activities? Bring in a prescription and get started!

Following an initial consultation assessing your injury, its history, and effects on your daily life, our physical therapists will develop an individualized treatment plan for you. Supervised exercises, hot/cold packs, ultrasound, muscular biofeedback, electrical stimulation, manual therapy, and injury education are just a few of the treatment methods we use.

Whether you’re an IU employee or a student, we welcome you to our new facility.

It’s Sleep Week! Freebies, Freebies, and More FREEBIES!

It’s Sleep Week! Did you know that getting fewer than seven hours of sleep each night is associated with increased stress, lower grades, and poor concentration?

Join us at Wellness at Wells this Wednesday from 1:00-3:00 p.m. in the Wells Library Learning Commons, Room 138, for fun Sleep Week activities and MAJOR giveaways!

The first 35 students to participate in our 5-10 minute free mini wellness coaching session onsite will receive a gift certificate for:

  • 60-minute introduction to biofeedback session ($30 value)
  • 30-minute aromatherapy session (two essential oil samples included) ($20 value)
  • 45-minute table massage ($45 value)

Gift certificates are courtesy of the IU Parents Fund. Biofeedback, massage, and aromatherapy sessions are by appointment and will take place in the IMU Wellness Center (room M005). All gifts should be used by May 5, 2017 and sessions must be scheduled in the order listed above.

Additionally, these students and 15 others will receive a free copy of The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time by Arianna Huffington (50 copies available).

Huffington, a member of Oprah’s SuperSoul 100, is the founder of the health and wellness startup Thrive Global. She is the co-founder and former president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, and author of fifteen books. The Sleep Revolution, on the science, history and mystery of sleep, was published in April 2016 and became an instant New York Times Bestseller.

In May 2005, Huffington launched The Huffington Post, a news and blog site that quickly became one of the most widely-read, linked to, and frequently-cited media brands on the Internet. In 2012, the site won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting.

Huffington has been named to Time Magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people and the Forbes Most Powerful Women list. Originally from Greece, she moved to England when she was 16 and graduated from Cambridge University with an M.A. in economics. At 21, she became president of the famed debating society, the Cambridge Union.

Please note that all giveaways are for IU Bloomington students only.

Zika: How to Protect Yourself

Taking a vacation? Chances are that you’ve heard about protecting yourself against Zika. But just what is Zika and how do you protect yourself?

Zika is a virus primarily spread by mosquitoes, but Zika can also be passed through sexual intercourse from a person who has Zika to sex partners, and from a pregnant woman to her fetus.

A mosquito becomes infected when it bites a person who is already infected with Zika. That mosquito can then spread the virus by biting more people. In addition to the above, Zika may also be spread through blood transfusion.

Many people infected with Zika won’t have symptoms or will only have mild symptoms. The most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain, or red eyes. Other common symptoms include muscle pain and headache. Symptoms can last for several days. People don’t usually get sick enough to go to the hospital.

That said, Zika infection during pregnancy can cause fetuses to have a birth defect of the brain called microcephaly. Other problems have been detected among fetuses and infants infected with the Zika virus before birth, such as defects of the eye, hearing deficits, and impaired growth. There have also been increased reports of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), an uncommon sickness of the nervous system, in areas affected by Zika.

Zika outbreaks are currently happening in many countries and territories, including the United States. Specific areas are often difficult to determine and are likely to change over time. Travelers should visit the CDC Travelers’ Health Site for current travel notices before leaving home.

Here are some additional recommendations from the CDC.

Pack to prevent:

  • Long-sleeved shirts and long pants
  • Clothing and gear treated with permethrin
  • Condoms (if you might have intercourse)
  • Bed net (if mosquitoes can get to you where you’re sleeping)
  • EPA-registered insect repellent (ingredients: Deet, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol, or 2-undecanone). When used as directed, this repellent is proven safe and effective for pregnant and breastfeeding women as well. Babies under 2 months old should not use insect repellent. Cover babies’ strollers and carriers with mosquito netting. Additionally, do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-methane-diol on children under 3 years old.

Protect yourself:

  • Use insect repellent. Reapply as directed. Remember to apply your sunscreen first!
  • Cover exposed skin when possible.
  • Stay and sleep in screened-in or air-conditioned rooms. Use a bed net if sleeping outside.
  • Zika can also be spread through sexual intercourse–use condoms to protect yourself, or abstain.

Ways to STOP the spread:

  • Call your doctor if you have symptoms (red eyes, joint pain, fever, rash).
  • Use insect repellent for three weeks upon your return.
  • Use condoms every time you have sexual intercourse.

How to treat Zika:

  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Drink fluids to prevent dehydration.
  • Take fever/pain-reducing medicine such as acetaminophen.
  • Do not take aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • If you are taking medicine for other medical conditions, talk to your healthcare provider before continuing use.

Stay healthy when you travel. If you’re planning a trip abroad for study or leisure, you can always schedule an appointment at the IU Health Center Travel Clinic. While there is no vaccine for Zika, we offer a full range of vaccines and other preventive medications for your overseas trips. Many of our vaccinations are not available anywhere else in Bloomington.

Get in-depth, country-specific information before you go overseas. The IU Health Center subscribes to TRAVAX, a national travel health service. We receive weekly updates on vaccine requirements, health recommendations, and regional travel warnings. Our nurses can also provide you with the latest information on health, political, safety, and weather conditions in the countries where you are traveling.

The Travel Clinic is open to IU Bloomington students, faculty, and staff. The general public is also invited to come in for immunizations from our team of registered nurses. There is a charge for travel appointments.

Peer Health and Wellness Educator Applications

The application period for 2017-18 Peer Health and Wellness Educators (PHWEs) is open March 1 through April 1.

IU Health Center’s PHWE program trains student leaders to work on a variety of health and wellness programs that focus on five main areas of health outreach:

  1. Alcohol and Drug Awareness
  2. Nutrition Education
  3. Tobacco Cessation
  4. Sexual Health Promotion
  5. Stress Management

PHWE students challenge their peers to improve their overall health and wellness through positive, interactive, and fun health outreach programs.

“We have a diverse group of students who are not only conducting amazing outreach, but coming up with their own innovative ideas to add to our current health outreach programs,” said program coordinator Aran Mordoh.

Some of the current PHWE team, program coordinator Aran Mordoh, and Dr. Lori Reesor, Dean of Students

The training for those selected will prepare students to facilitate dynamic outreach programs; encourage physical, mental, and emotional health; serve as healthy role models to other students; create informative awareness events; and promote community support to build a healthy campus culture.​

The opportunities are endless when joining the team. Recently, one of the PHWEs, Jamie McNamara, earned a grant award in the form of 500 Trojan condoms to distribute around campus from the Great American Condom Campaign!

“I think it is extremely important to be able to provide the students on this campus with the protection they need while exploring their sexual interests during their college years,” said McNamara. “I’m so excited to have this opportunity to further help the students on our campus!”

This youth-led campaign strives to promote a sexually healthy nation by working with colleges across the country, and thanks to Jamie, Indiana University has joined the GACC movement.

“Many people don’t know how easily STD’s and STI’s are spread, or they think birth control is all they need to protect them,” Jamie said. “I want to make sure everyone has what they need to protect themselves while having a fun, consensual, and safe sexual experience.”

In addition to exciting experiences like Jamie’s, students will acquire work experience as representatives for our health promotion on campus while building leadership skills and bulking up their resumes. The video below is just a tiny snapshot of how the PHWEs promote health on campus.

Students can apply directly online on the program’s website and will be contacted for follow up interviews.

America Saves at Wellness at Wells

As we enter into week eight, it’s hard to believe that the spring semester is almost halfway over. Unfortunately, as the days tick by, so does the money in students’ bank accounts.

Thinking about stretching those college funds all the way into the summer can be daunting. Thankfully, this week is America Saves Week and several events and resources have been put in place on campus to help students understand and better manage their financial lives.

Students often wonder how to make ends meet, how to budget while waiting tables, how student loans actually work, and what to expect upon graduation. On Wednesday from 1-3 p.m., MoneySmarts from the Office of Financial Literacy will join us at Wellness at Wells (Wells Library Learning Commons, Room 138) to touch on questions like these and more!

“The MoneySmarts program, even though we are under the Office of Financial Literacy, considers our approach to be a financial wellness approach–it’s more about recognizing how decisions you make in financial life affect your overall health and well-being,” said Morgan McMillan, Assistant Director of Financial Literacy.

For questions that may be more personal, or require lengthy explanations, the MoneySmarts team can help students schedule free individual 30-minute consultations. Students can choose between a general “financial check-up” or a financial wellness appointment, based on their specific needs.

Equipped with financial wellness experts and loads of information, the MoneySmarts team will be a valuable addition to Wellness at Wells this week–don’t miss it! We’ll have our staple wellness assessments, free massages, and aromatherapy as well!

Here are some other events they’ll be hosting throughout the week as well.

Cupcakes and Condoms Sexual Health Fair

Are you curious about how different types of condoms feel, but don’t want to buy an entire box to experiment with? Have you ever wanted to try lubricant, but had no idea what kind to purchase? At Cupcakes and Condoms, a sexual and reproductive health event for all students, we’ll help you with these questions, as well as the ones you didn’t even know you had!

Visit the Frangipani Room at the IMU between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. this Tuesday, February 28, for an event packed with free cupcakes, free sexual health and safety products, photo booth fun, and more!

Cupcakes and Condoms will feature a plethora of intriguing booths for visitors to explore, including:

  1. Photo booth: Yes, there will be two people dressed in a cupcake and condom costume available for pics! We’re guessing you won’t find this photo opportunity on a regular basis!
  2. Consent: A sexual health event would be incomplete without a booth designated to reminding everyone of the importance of consent.
  3. Condom “dos” and “don’ts”: If you’re interested in learning more about male condoms, female condoms, and other barrier methods, this is the booth for you. You’ll also find advice on where to find free condoms, as well as how to store and discard them.
  4. STI information: College students have a tendency to underestimate the likelihood of contracting an STI. Did you know that 15 to 24-year-olds account for half of all new sexually transmitted infections (CDC)? Visit this booth to take a confidential risk assessment and identify potentially unsafe behaviors.
  5. Touch, feel, and proper fit: When it comes to condoms, one size does NOT fit all. In fact, not only are there different sizes to choose from, but there are different styles as well! We will have a fun variety of condoms to give away at this booth!
  6. Lubricants: Believe it or not, there are certain types of lubricant (water, silicone, or oil-based) that should be used differently depending on the activity you and your partner would like to engage in. Which kind of lubricant pairs best with sex toys? Which kind lasts the longest? Which should you use during water activities? Find answers to these questions and more!
  7. Consent condom races
  8. Sexual health goodie box & birth control methods
  9. Partner communication: Use role play and modeling to brainstorm communication barriers in your sex life and ways to overcome these obstacles.
  10. The Game of Life (sex Life): This grown-up twist to a childhood board game will facilitate discussion about the consequences of STIs and unintended pregnancy, and how your life could change provided one of these occurs.
  11. Genital health and self-exam information
  12. Condom crafts
  13. Ask Big Red: Ask our trusted Sexperts any of your sex questions in person, or fill out our online Ask Big Red questionnaire!
  14. Reproductive justice
  15. Pharmacy residence hall delivery
  16. Free safety products
  17. Cupcakes!!!!!

If you want reassurance that safe sex is fun sex, peace that comes with being well-informed, or even just free goodies, join us Tuesday!

Mumps on the IUB Campus

Indiana University is investigating a cluster of mumps cases on the Bloomington campus. Five total cases have been confirmed since December. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mumps cases nationwide are at a 10-year high, with 46 states reporting cases in the last year. IU is taking all precautions to protect its students, faculty and staff, including offering immunization to potentially exposed persons.

The university is working with the Monroe County Health Department and the Indiana State Department of Health to identify and directly notify anyone who may have been in close contact with the students. They also are implementing measures to help prevent the additional transmission of mumps. Additionally, IU advises that the campus and surrounding community educate themselves about the symptoms, transmission and prevention of mumps.

  • According to the CDC, symptoms for the mumps include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, loss of appetite, and swollen and tender salivary glands under the ears on one or both sides. Mumps is spread from direct and indirect contact with an infected person’s respiratory droplets, which can be transmitted by sneezing and coughing. People with mumps can spread their infections for up to two days before and five days after the onset of symptoms. Therefore, anyone with symptoms should stay home and avoid others to prevent the further spread of illness.
  • Mumps is caused by a virus, so antibiotics are not indicated. Symptoms typically appear 16-18 days after infection but can range from 12-25 days. Generally, mumps is a mild illness, and some people may not have any symptoms. While complications and more serious issues can result from a mumps infection, they are generally rare, with a 1 percent to 3 percent complication rate.
  • The university encourages university members to check their vaccination records with their primary-care provider. Currently, the best way to prevent mumps is to be vaccinated with two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, or MMR. Two doses of vaccine are only considered around 88 percent effective at preventing infection, so some people who have been fully vaccinated with two MMRs may still contract mumps.
  • Practicing good hygiene habits–such as regularly washing your hands with soap and water, sneezing and coughing into a tissue or your elbow, and avoiding the sharing of drinks, food and utensils–is a good way to prevent illness and transmission.
  • Students with symptoms–even if they have received a MMR vaccine–should stay home and immediately call before going to the IU Health Center at 812-855-5002 during office hours or 855-303-2631 after hours.
  • If students have any concerns about possible symptoms, they should contact the IU Health Center or their primary-care provider. Treatment for mumps is geared toward alleviating symptoms. Bed rest, a soft diet and a pain reliever for aches are often recommended.

Again, you should stay away from others if you think you may have mumps. To learn more, visit this mumps webpage and view these fast facts here. Family members can read more information about the university’s health services on our website.

Celebrate EveryBODY Week!

This Monday is the start of Celebrate EveryBODY Week and we’re celebrating YOU! Too often students focus on the things they don’t like about their bodies, the things they want to change, and the things society tells them don’t look quite right. Her nose is too big, he’s too short, her breasts are too small, his smile is crooked, she’s overweight, he’s ugly…

Celebrate EveryBODY Week strives to change this thought process by celebrating what we appreciate about our bodies and what our bodies allow us to do!

Join IU Health Center staff and other campus partners throughout the week for body appreciation activities, inspiration, and free giveaways!

Campus #CEBW Activities

Monday, Feb. 20: Embrace movie screening – 7:00 p.m. in Ballantine 013, sponsored by IU Body Project. Also, from 6:00-8:00 p.m., stop by the SRSC, contribute to a mural, use a SnapChat geofilter, and get some cool swag!

Tuesday, Feb. 21: Body image activities, giveaways, and information about body image and eating disorders, 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. in SRSC and Wells Library foyers, sponsored by IU Health Center. Also, from 6:00-8:00 p.m., stop by the WIC, contribute to a mural, use a SnapChat geofilter, and get some cool swag!

Wednesday, Feb. 22: Wellness assessments, massages, giveaways, and your chance to write positive messages on the walls of Wells Library (well, one wall…just one), 1:00-3:00 p.m. in Wells Library Learning Commons, Room 138, sponsored by IU Health Center and IU Libraries. Also, from 6:00-8:00 p.m., stop by the SRSC, contribute to a mural, and get some cool swag! Check out our Snapchat filter at both locations!

Thursday, Feb. 23: Time to tell us what you love about yourself using the hashtag #CEBW!

Friday, Feb. 24: Stop by the SRSC from 6:00-8:00 p.m., contribute to a mural, use a SnapChat geofilter, and get some cool swag!

Outside of this week, there are many ways you can help change the way we view our bodies. Did you know that 30% of college women rate their own personal appearance as “traumatic or very difficult to handle”?

First things first, to counteract statistics like these, you can serve as a positive role model for others. Work to develop an accepting and appreciative attitude towards your own body and actively challenge the negative messages that are pervasive in our society. For example, if a friend makes a negative comment about their own or another person’s body (we call this “fat talk”), you might respond by saying “I don’t think that physical appearance is something we should be focusing on; there are so many other important things to think about like (relationships, school, work, personality, etc.).” Also, when you compliment others, focus on qualities that don’t relate to appearance.

Another way to help is to get involved in the Body Project, a peer-led interactive and discussion-based activity program. This community promotes body acceptance activism and healthy body image by challenging society’s “appearance ideal.” The Body Project has been shown to be very helpful in improving body image and reducing unhealthy dieting. For more information, please contact Chris Meno at or Anna VanMeter at and follow the Body Project (TwitterInstagram, Facebook).

We know that society’s focus on appearance and striving for “perfection” is both unrealistic and damaging to our health. Shift that focus. Let’s celebrate what our bodies can do rather than worry about how they look, this week, and every week.

Need more help? Check out COPE.