Paws for Wellness

Renee Covatto

Soon, many Villanova students will be dropping their books and boarding a plane destined for a spring break trip. From the slopes of Vermont and the warm beaches of Cancun and Acapulco, to the towns of mission and Habitat for Humanity trips, Villanova students look forward to a week of creating memories.

Beach locations are prime spots for spring break travelers. Crystal clear water and an exciting nightlife draw thousands every year. Although these places seem like paradise, it is important to remember safety to ensure the ultimate spring break experience. First, you should remember that when you vacation in another country, you are subject to the laws of that country. Excessive alcohol consumption and unruly or uncontrolled behavior can lead to serious problems with international authorities. According to the U.S. Department of State, alcohol is involved in the vast majority of arrests, accidents, violent crimes and deaths suffered by American tourists in foreign countries. It is also important to be aware of the facts, regardless of where you travel; 90 percent of sexual assaults involve alcohol, one in four women is sexually assaulted in their college career and 84 percent of sexual assaults occur between people who know each other (acquaintance rape). Know your limits and wherever you go, travel with someone else.

When traveling abroad, it is also important to be aware of what you eat. Avoid ice, raw foods, salads, uncooked vegetables and foods that require extensive hands-on preparation. Stick with foods that are well cooked and served hot and with beverages that are canned or bottled. This will drastically reduce the chance of getting diarrhea from bacteria, parasites, viruses or toxins. Remember to drink plenty of bottled water, even if you do not feel thirsty, as dehydration results from sun exposure, air travel, spicy foods and alcohol consumption.

Although the sun is a warm welcome from Villanova’s winter weather, follow these important precautions so you can enjoy the sun and keep safe; avoid sun exposure during the hottest hours of the sun’s rays, limit your time in the sun, be aware of overcast days during which you can still get a sunburn, apply sunscreen with at least a SPF of 15 and reapply after swimming and perspiring and protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses with UV protection.

Before hitting the beaches, many students may try to shed a few pounds. However, this can be taken to an unhealthy extreme and jeopardize physical and psychological health. To learn about disordered eating and healthy fitness and nutrition tips, attend one of the many events during National Eating Disorder Week and Health and Wellness Week. Throughout the week of Feb. 23, Villanova will host special events combining fun activities and education. Juice the ‘Cuse kicks off the week at 6:30 p.m. on Monday in the Villanova Room. Come catch the ‘Cats against Syracuse on the big screen, win some prizes, enjoy free food and pick up some information about nutrition and fad diets. Other events scheduled for Monday, Feb. 23-Friday, Feb. 27 include:

Life-Sized Barbie: Connelly Center, Monday-Wednesday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Free and confidential Eating Disorder Screening Program: Counseling Center, Wednesday and Thursday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The Truth About Fad Diets: Room 200, Health Services Building, Monday, 2 p.m.

Juice the ‘Cuse Game Watch: Villanova Room, Monday, 6:30 p.m.

How to Help a Friend with an Eating Disorder: Room 200, Health Services Building, Tuesday, 4 p.m.

Casual Healthy Bites Mini Conference: “Food for the body and mind,” Villanova Room, Tuesday, 7 p.m.

Spring Break Safety Booth: Connelly Center, Wednesday, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

The Great Jeans Giveaway for the Covenant House teens and a concert by The Big Huge Concert: Belle Air Terrace, Wednesday, 10 a,m. to 2 p.m.

National Fearless Friday: A Day Without Dieting

On behalf of the Center for Health and Wellness Education, I would like to wish everyone a safe and happy spring break!