In Case of the Emergency of Lice – College Edition

In Case of the Emergency of Lice – College Edition

Better to be safe than sorry is the motto
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I know, the first thing you may have done when you read the word “lice” is cringe or start scratching yourself out of paranoia. If you didn’t, then you either have been through the whole, draining ordeal that is lice infestation or you are just one of the odd ones out.

Wait, isn’t lice infestation something that is only supposed to happen to kids? Sadly not. It is the most common with children, yes, but it can still happen anyone. College dorms and housing can also be culprits. Between sharing beds, that couch that is always passed down, and/or sharing hair brushes, hats and towels, there are ways you might catch lice at some point if at all during your college career. It can happen to anybody, even if it may not be likely to happen to you.

The reason why I am writing this article that is making your paranoia rise is that my roommate and I had a lice scare last week. In the case of a lice emergency, it’s very likely to panic and Google what you might be able to do. Sometimes Google doesn’t do you justice during your state of panic, and then your Resident Advisor(s) don’t/doesn’t have a policy or action plan to deal with students with lice. So after my week of paranoia and research, I feel like I can actually be helpful and help direct you in how to go about this terrible situation that you may be in.

Do you think you have head lice? These are the signs you need to check off:

  • Your scalp itches like crazy and you can't stop scratching
  • Small, red bumps on the scalp, neck, and shoulders (bumps may become crusty and ooze)
  • Tiny white specks (eggs, or nits) on the bottom of each hair those are hard to get off. This is the main factor on deciding whether you have lice or if it’s just dandruff (this is what got my roommate and I): dandruff is dry, flaky skin from your scalp and it comes off when you brush it out. Nits stick to your hair like glue and takes way more effort to get them off/out.

If you think you check out for head lice, take a couple of deep breaths and keep on reading.

Please note that I go to a University in the city and I live in the dorm system. I recommend you alter these procedures to your situation.

1.Call your RA. I know at least at my school, in every hall there is an RA on Duty at all times. Call them, tell them your situation and ask what you should do. If they have a policy/action plan for you, follow that.

2. Depending on what time of day it is, go to the school’s health center/nurse and get checked out immediately. If you go to them during the hours that they are open and you check out for lice, they will give you further instructions from there.

3. It’s the middle of the night, what am I supposed to do? You can do a couple of things: a) if you’re paranoia isn’t that terrible, you can attempt to sleep through the night and go to your school’s health center first thing in the morning. Or b) Get to work on fixing the (potential) problem: put your hair up (if it is long enough), strip all your bedding, throw all your hats and possibly infected clothes and fabrics in the wash on high heat and then in the hot dryer as well.

While that’s going, go to the nearest convenience or drug store in search of lice killing shampoo and a special comb (that will usually come with the lice killing shampoo). Follow the instructions on the lice killing shampoo and go through the whole process. Warning: the longer the hair, the worse the process will be.

4. While the shampoo sits in your hair, if you are able to, disinfect and clean everything. No matter what, you will need to disinfect and clean everything. The easiest way to do this is with disinfecting wipes. Wipe down everything. If you haven’t thrown your comb/hair brush out yet, soak it in anti-lice shampoo, disinfectant or rubbing alcohol for an hour. Put clothes and fabric items that cannot be washed in a sealed plastic bag for 2 weeks before dry-cleaning them. Vacuum your floor (for any hairs that may found its way to the floor).

5. Visit a doctor or your health center first thing in the morning. Tell them what happened, what the situation is and what you have done so far in terms of clean up and disinfection. Even if it may not have been lice at all, it’s still better to be safe than sorry.

ALL of your roommates should get checked out for lice, even if they do not think they have any. If you are not sure if you have lice or not, go get checked out by a doctor immediately. When it comes to lice, or the possibility of lice, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

For further information and help, please check out these links:

https://www.virginiamason.org/body.cfm?id=1215&action=detail&aearticleid=000840&aeproductid=adam2004_117

https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/lice/

Cover Image Credit: www.123rf.com

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Yes, I Had A Stroke And I'm Only 20

Sometimes bad things happen to good people.
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Recently, I read an article on Cosmo that was written by a woman that had a stroke at the ripe old age of 23. For those of you who don't know, that really doesn't happen. Young people don't have strokes. Some do, but it's so incredibly uncommon that it rarely crosses most people's minds. Her piece was really moving, and I related a lot -- because I had a stroke at 20.

It started as a simple headache. I didn't think much of it because I get headaches pretty often. At the time, I worked for my parents, and I texted my mom to tell her that I'd be late to work because of the pain. I had never experienced a headache like that, but I figured it still wasn't something to worry about. I went about my normal routine, and it steadily got worse. It got to the point that I literally threw up from the pain. My mom told me to take some Tylenol, but I couldn't get to our kitchen. I figured that since I was already in the bathroom, I would just take a shower and hope that the hot steam would relax my muscles, and get rid of my headache. So I turned the water on in the shower, and I waited for it to get hot.

At this point, I was sweating. I've never been that warm in my life. My head was still killing me. I was sitting on the floor of the bathroom, trying to at least cope with the pain. Finally, I decided that I needed to go to the hospital. I picked up my phone to call 911, but I couldn't see the screen. I couldn't read anything. I laid down on the floor and tried to swipe from the lock screen to the emergency call screen, but I couldn't even manage that. My fine motor skills were completely gone. My fingers wouldn't cooperate, even though I knew what buttons needed to be pressed. Instead of swiping to the emergency call screen, I threw my phone across the room. "Okay," I thought, "Large muscle groups are working. Small ones are not".

I tried getting up. That also wasn't happening. I was so unstable that I couldn't stay standing. I tried turning off the running water of the shower, but couldn't move the faucet. Eventually, I gave up on trying to move anywhere. "At what point do I just give up and lie on the floor until someone finds me?" That was the point. I ended up lying on the floor for two hours until my dad came home and found me.

During that two hours, I couldn't hear. My ears were roaring, not even ringing. I tried to yell, but I couldn't form a sentence. I was simply stuck, and couldn't do anything about it. I still had no idea what was going on.

When the ambulance finally got there, they put me on a stretcher and loaded me into the back. "Are you afraid of needles or anything?" asked one EMT. "Terrified," I responded, and she started an IV without hesitation. To this day, I don't know if that word actually came out of my mouth, but I'm so glad she started the IV. She started pumping pain medicine, but it didn't seem to be doing anything.

We got to the hospital, and the doctors there were going to treat me for a migraine and send me on my merry way. This was obviously not a migraine. When I could finally speak again, they kept asking if I was prone to migraines. "I've never had a migraine in my whole life," I would say. "Do you do any drugs?" they would ask. "No," I repeated over and over. At this point, I was fading in and out of consciousness, probably from the pain or the pain medicine.

At one point, I heard the doctors say that they couldn't handle whatever was wrong with me at our local hospital and that I would need to be flown somewhere. They decided on University of Maryland in Baltimore. My parents asked if I wanted them to wait with me or start driving, so I had them leave.

The helicopter arrived soon after, and I was loaded into it. 45 minutes later, I was in Baltimore. That was the last thing I remember. The next thing I remember was being in the hospital two weeks later. I had a drain in my head, a central port, and an IV. I honestly didn't know what had happened to me.

As it turns out, I was born with a blood vessel malformation called an AVM. Blood vessels and arteries are supposed to pass blood to one another smoothly, and mine simply weren't. I basically had a knot of blood vessels in my brain that had swelled and almost burst. There was fluid in my brain that wouldn't drain, which was why my head still hurt so bad. The doctors couldn't see through the blood and fluid to operate, so they were simply monitoring me at that point.

When they could finally see, they went in to embolize my aneurysm and try to kill the AVM. After a successful procedure, my headache was finally starting to subside. It had gone from a 10 on the pain scale (which I don't remember), to a 6 (which was when I had started to be conscious), and then down to a 2.

I went to rehab after I was discharged from the hospital, I went to rehab. There, I learned simple things like how to walk and balance, and we tested my fine motor skills to make sure that I could still play the flute. Rehab was both physically and emotionally difficult. I was constantly exhausted.

I still have a few lingering issues from the whole ordeal. I have a tremor in one hand, and I'm mostly deaf in one ear. I still get headaches sometimes, but that's just my brain getting used to regular blood flow. I sleep a lot and slur my words as I get tired. While I still have a few deficits, I'm lucky to even be alive.

Cover Image Credit: Neve McClymont

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I'll Always Be An Organ Donor

I mean, outside of the cute little heart I get to have on my state ID.

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Check yes, nod at the clerk, give them a big thumbs up... It's really not hard to sign up as an organ donor. For me, it looks less than five seconds when buying a state ID to tell my clerk that yes, I did want to donate my organs to anyone in need after I died.

Organ donors like myself are always in high demand, especially because only 3 in 1,000 people die in ways that allow for an organ transplant. That wouldn't be too bad if the vast majority of people were organ donors, but only 54% of Americans are signed up to be donors.

Unsplash- Thoracic cavity

But why aren't people donors?

One word: religion.

While most all major religions are not in opposition of organ donation, studies have found that people will cite their religious beliefs are why they're opposed to donating their organs. Many people believe that they may not have access to the afterlife if their bodies aren't fully intact, but I have a problem with this logic.

"God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them." Hebrews 6:10.

"None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself." Saheeh Al-Bukarhi.

Most large religions have this reoccurring theme of altruism, and that's what organ donation is all about: sharing something you have with someone less fortunate. Giving them a body part that I'll no longer be using won't harm me, it will help them, and it will hopefully look good if there's a Big Guy Upstairs.

Unsplash- heart made from neon lights

So go watch an episode of "The Bachelor." In those 60 minutes, 6 people have been added to the organ transplant list.

Go spend a relaxing weekend at the beach. In those two days, 40 people died waiting for an organ transplant.

Go to the DMV. Check that box. Save a life. Save eight lives, even. Be that person's shot at a second life.

It's not like anything is stopping you.

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