Thursday, June 18, 2015

Safety First

June is National Safety Month, and it is just in time for the summer! As Health Studies Students, the focus on safety is important in reducing preventable deaths and injuries during all seasons of the month, but the summertime holds certain risks of its own due to activities popular during this time and, of course, the extreme summer heat.

Many students fill their summer weekends with time at the lake, grill outs, and other fun summertime activities. Boating is a common activity in the summer, especially during the upcoming holiday weekends. These activities are enjoyable, but without proper safety behaviors, they may lead to death or injury. Did you know that there are approximately 4,000 accidents and 400 deaths due to boating each year in the United States (CDC, 2012)?  Thankfully, June is National Safety Month and a great reminder to always practice safe behaviors throughout the summer months.

Practicing proper boating safety guidelines are easy and will reduce the risk of injury or death.

 Wear your lifejacket! In 2009, 7 out of 10 boating accident deaths were due to drowning. Almost 90 percent were not wearing a lifejacket at the time (CDC, 2009). Always wear your lifejacket when in a boat.

 Don’t drink and boat! Not only is operating a boat under the influence of alcohol and drugs illegal, it is also as deadly as drinking and driving. Alcohol use is involved in almost a third of all recreational boating deaths (CDC, 2009). Always have a designated driver inside and outside the boat.

 Wear sunscreen! Sun safety is a vital part of boating and summer safety. The sun’s ultraviolet rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes (CDC, 2014). Lather up to prevent skin cancer.

          Hydrate! Dehydration can be dangerous during the hot summer months. Be sure to drink plenty of hydrating fluids while boating to reduce risk of dehydration. The general rule is to drink 6 to 12 ounces for every 10 to 15 minutes of activity in the heat (Cleveland Clinic, 2012). Continue to hydrate after the activity, as well.

Boating safety courses are available online and are recommended to every passenger and operator of a boat. You can find more information about boating safety and safety courses through the National Safe Boating Council website:
Practice these guidelines all year long to reduce your risk of boating death or injury while boating. Play it safe; play it smart.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2009). Stay safe while boating. Retrieved from
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2014). Sun safety. Retrieved from
Cleveland Clinic (2012). Avoiding dehydration, proper hydration. Retrieved from

By: Kristi Case. 

Ms. Case is a student in the Texas Woman’s University Master’s in Health Studies program.

Take the test. Take control.

June 27th was established as the National HIV Testing Day. The annual observance is to promote HIV testing across the nation. Every year the theme is “Take the Test. Take Control" (AIDS, 2015).

There are many viruses that affect humans and their health. Our body’s immune system can usually fight off the virus until it is eliminated from our body. Unfortunately the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus our bodies cannot get rid of (HIV/AIDS, 2015). HIV and AIDS was first recognized in the United States in 1981 (Averting HIV and AIDS, 2014).

The most common ways HIV is spread is having sex with someone who has the virus or by sharing needles and syringes with someone who has HIV (HIV/AIDS, 2015). Educating yourself and others on ways to prevent contracting HIV can help decrease the spread of the virus.

The most recent data says there are 1.2 million people living with HIV in the United States. Approximately 86% of these individuals have been diagnosed, leaving 14% (1 in 7) of these individuals unaware that they have HIV (Aids, 2015). There are approximately 50,000 people who get infected with HIV every year (HIV/AIDS, 2015).

People think they are not at a high risk for contracting HIV therefore they don’t get tested. CDC recommends healthcare providers make HIV testing part of routine care for people between the ages of 13 and 64 (HIV/AIDS, 2015).
There are several tests that can be administered to check for HIV, most are done at healthcare facilities but there are two options available for use in your home. The tests use an oral fluid sample or a blood sample to check for certain antibodies and antigens produced by your body (HIV/AIDS, 2015).

If an individual finds out they have HIV there are treatment options available. Although HIV cannot be cured, the use of antiretroviral drugs will help in protecting the immune system. The drugs can help you live longer, lower the risk of developing non-HIV related illnesses, and reduce the chances of passing along HIV to other people (AIDS, 2015).

In 2010, President Obama issued the National HIV/AIDS Strategy. The vision stated in the strategy is for the United States to be a place where HIV infections are rare, and if it does occur the individual will have the best care available (National HIV/AIDS Strategy, 2013). There were three HIV health outcome goals: reducing new HIV infections, increasing access to care and optimizing health outcomes for people living with HIV, and reducing HIV-related health disparities (National HIV/AIDS Strategy, 2013).

To find locations near you to get tested for HIV please visit:


Averting HIV and AIDS. (December 12, 2014). Retrieved from

HIV/AIDS. (April 29, 2015). Retrieved from

National HIV/AIDS Strategy. (December, 2013). Retrieved from

By: Ashley Taylor, RDH, BSDH

Ms. Taylor is a dental hygienist, who graduated from the Dental Hygiene Program at Texas Woman's University. To further her education, she is working towards a Master's in Health Studies with a focus in dental hygiene.  

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

We need your help!

We need the help from our faculty, staff and students. TWU Health Studies is conducting a survey to find out what you want to see or have included on the TWU’s Health Studies social media. This is your chance to let your voice be heard. Please click on the link provided and tell us what you think. The survey closes on July 1st. We appreciate your participation.