Stress Awareness Day, April 16th

Stress Awareness DayWhile April is dedicated as Stress Awareness Month, April 16th (the day after taxes are due) is set aside as a day to reflect on how stressed you have become. Stress has many negative effects on both physical and mental health, so to help you cope with both tax and finals season we have compiled two lists: one to help you identify if you are stressed, and another to help you reduce and deal with stress.

Common Signs of Stress

While many people identify being stressed with mental symptoms, there are multiple physical and behavioral signs that may also indicate you are stressed.

  • Physical
    • Headache
    • Muscle Pain/Tension
    • Chest Pain
    • Fatigue
    • Stomach Upset
    • Sleep Problems
  • Mental
    • Anxiety
    • Restlessness
    • Lack of Motivation or Focus
    • Feeling Overwhelmed
    • Irritability or Anger
    • Sadness or Depression
  • Behavioral
    • Overeating or Under-eating
    • Angry Outbursts
    • Drug or Alcohol Use
    • Tobacco Use
    • Social Withdrawal

How to Manage Stress

Chronic stress has been linked to numerous health risks, including but not limited to cardiovascular diseases, obesity, gastrointestinal issues such as GERD, and mental health problems. Because long term stress can be so dangerous, we have included strategies for managing stress.

  • Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol, and Nicotine

Caffeine and nicotine are both stimulants, meaning that they will mimic and increase the feeling of stress. Alcohol is a depressant in large quantities, but can act as a stimulant in larger quantities, making in ineffective for managing stress.

  • Participate in Physical Activity

When you are stressed, your body increases specific hormones in your body- adrenaline and cortisol included. These hormones contribute to your bodies fight or flight response, and can leave you feeling jittery and anxious. Since modern problems are not often remedied by a flight or fight response, physical exercise can act as a surrogate in order to metabolize excess hormones and make you feel calmer.

  • Try Relaxation Techniques

Meditation or repeating a self-affirming mantra are both techniques that have been shown to help reduce stress. A part of why relaxation techniques are so useful is that they focus on slowing down and clearing your mind. Try sitting comfortably in a dark room and focusing on your breathing for a few minutes each day.

  • Talk to Someone

Talking can help distract you from the object of your stress, or help you reduce tension by venting about what is bothering you. Additionally, stress can cloud your judgement, so getting a second opinion from an unbiased person can help put things in perspective.

  • Take Control

Stress can be trigged by seemingly impossible problems. A technique that may help is writing down the problem and any possible solutions you can come up with- no matter how silly or improbable. Determine your best solution and write down the steps necessary to make it happen. Breaking down a problem and making it more manageable can make it seem not so stressful.

  • Learn to say “No”

Many people feel overwhelmed when they don’t have enough time to complete everything they need to do. Instead of taking on additional responsibility, learn to say “No” when you have reached your limit. It may be helpful to practice in a mirror or with friends or family. Another solution if you are uncomfortable with rejecting people is to come up with some preprepared phrases to let people down easily.

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National Student Employment Week

National Student Employment WeekAs of 2015, 43% of full-time college students and 78% of part-time college students had employment. Reasons for student employment range from needing to pay tuition and rent to wanting some extra spending money. Whatever your reason, we have included some tips and tricks to pump up your resume and nail your interview. These tips should help you with employment both in and out of college.

Resume Tips

  • Format Wisely
    • Use a logical format and wide margins
    • Apply bold and italic typeface selectively to guide the readers eye
    • Use bullets to call attention to achievements
  • Identify Accomplishments, Not Just Job Descriptions
    • Focus on what you did on the job, not just what the job was
    • Include 1 or 2 lines of description, and then list your achievements
    • Accomplishments should be unique to you
    • Avoid generic descriptions
  • Quantify Accomplishments
    • Don’t be overly general regarding your achievements
    • Quantify your achievements, whether through dollar amounts, number of employee’s, etc.
  • Cater Your Resume to the Industry
    • Change language or jargon related to the industry you are applying for
    • Know stylistically what is appropriate for the industry you are applying for

Interview Tips

  • Do Research
    • Research the company and industry you are applying for. Your interviewer may ask you questions related to the current state of the industry or the companies competitors
  • Ask Questions
    • Prepare questions ahead of time for your interviewer. It shows you are interested and thoughtful
  • Practice
    • If you are nervous, ask a friend to read you common interview questions. It will get you used to thinking up answers and prepare you for potential questions that the interviewer may ask.
  • Send a Thank You Note
    • Make sure to thank your interviewer after, whether that be through email or a written note. Make it personal to your interview and make sure to send it within 48 hours of the interview.

For MSUM students, the DragonJobs website has just been updated. DragonJobs connects students and alumni to employers. MSUM now uses a site called Handshake to run DragonJobs, increasing user-friendliness and accessibility.


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March is Endometriosis Awareness Month

National Endometriosis Awareness Month icon design, infographic

What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a chronic and painful disease, in which the tissue that lines your uterus (endometrium), starts growing outside of your uterus in places it does not belong. These growths, called lesions or implants, can cause severe pain and inflammation throughout the month. In many cases, people suffer from endometriosis unaware as doctors often misdiagnose endometriosis, brushing off the pain as a particularly bad period or other “female troubles”.

An easy way to remember the symptoms of endometriosis is to think of the three P’s:

  • Painful Periods
  • Pelvic Pain
  • Pain with Sex

Causes and Risks

The exact cause of endometriosis is unknown. Many scientists think that it happens because of a process called retrograde menstruation. This is when the tissue of the uterus flows out the wrong direction during the period- through the fallopian tubes. This out-of-place tissues can attach and start growing on surfaces and organs in the pelvic region. There are a couple other theories about the cause of endometriosis. These include the immune system not destroying endometrium cells outside the uterus, and normal cells in the pelvic area changing into endometrial cells. Since scientists aren’t sure about the cause, specific risks are widely unknown. However, you may be at risk if you have a family history of endometriosis, starting your period at an early age (before 11), a short cycle (27 days), and abnormally long or heavy periods.


While not everyone experiences the same path to diagnosis, here are some general steps that can be taken if you think you may have endometriosis

  • Make a doctor’s appointment
    • Talk to your doctor about your symptoms, including if they have gotten worse over time or impact your day-to-day life. Your doctor may refer you to a gynecologist if you do not already have one.
  • Pelvic Exam
    • After discussing your symptoms, your doctor may give you a pelvic exam to feel for any lesions, scarring, or cysts.
  • Ultrasound
    • Sometimes, ovarian cysts that form as a result of endometriosis can be seen on an ultrasound.
  • Blood test
    • Your doctor may recommend a blood test to rule out any other conditions
  • Treatment
    • By trying different treatment options, your doctor will better be able to tell if you have endometriosis. Some treatments include painkillers, hormonal birth control, and medication that reduces estrogen.
  • Laparoscopy
    • The final stage is to undergo a laparoscopy, a  minimally invasive surgery used to both diagnose and treat endometriosis.

It can take between 6 and 10 years on average to diagnose endometriosis. According to a 1998 study, 1 out of 3 woman consulted between 3 and 4 doctors before receiving a diagnosis. There are multiple reasons for this. The first is symptoms being dismissed as just “bad periods”. The other is that symptoms of endometriosis can resemble multiple other conditions.

Women’s Health Issues

Thousands of women in America are misdiagnosed everyday, whether that be a result of doctor’s not taking women’s pain seriously, or the lack of medical research done on woman’s health issues. Due to biological differences, symptoms and consequences of a disease present differently between men and woman, but historically the health needs of woman, apart from reproductive concern, have lagged in medical research. In 1985, the Public Health Service Task Force concluded that “the historical lack of research focus on women’s health concerns has compromised the quality of health information available to women as well as the health care they receive”.  Since the publication of the report, there has been more attention given to women’s health issues, from both governmental and non-governmental organizations. While there has been much progress made on things like breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, and cervical cancer, there has been little to no progress made on maternal morbidity and mortality, autoimmune diseases, non-malignant gynecological disorders, and Alzheimer’s disease among others. Additionally, a committee dedicated to women’s health found that the information being found from various studies is not being communicated to women, either due to  complex implications of the study or a result that competes with the marketing forces of industries.


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World Down Syndrome Day, March 21st


Tomorrow March 21st, is World Down Syndrome Day. This a day dedicated to raising awareness of Down Syndrome. 2018 marks the 13th anniversary of World Down Syndrome Day, and this year focuses on how people with Down Syndrome make meaningful contributions throughout their lives. This years hash tag related to World Down Syndrome day is #WhatIBringToMyCommunity.

What is Down Syndrome?

Down Syndrome is a genetic disorder that is caused when abnormal cell division results in extra genetic material from chromosome 21. In every cell in the human body there is a nucleus, which is where genetic material is stored. Genes carry the instruction manual for all of our inherited traits, and are grouped along rod-like structures called chromosomes. In the typical person, each parent provides 1/2 of every pair of chromosomes (23 pairs in total). Down Syndrome occurs when a person is born with a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. This additional genetic material changes development and causes the characteristics associated with Down Syndrome. Nearly 1 in every 700 babies born in the United States has Down syndrome.

Physical Traits and Characteristics of People with Down Syndrome

  •  Low Muscle Tone
  • Small Stature
  • Upward Slant to the Eyes
  • Flatter Faces
  • Protruding Tongue
  • Loose Joints

Babies born with Down Syndrome are typically an average size at birth, but may grow more slowly than others. Additionally, due to their low muscle tone and loose joints, they may have trouble holding themselves and keeping their heads upright.

Misconceptions about Down Syndrome

Traditionally, parents who had children with Down Syndrome were encouraged from an early age to institutionalize them, the reasoning behind this being that they would not be able to live normal lives, and be a burden on their families. In reality, many people with Down Syndrome live on their own with limited assistance, hold jobs, and have romantic relationships just like anyone else. Below are some additional popular misconceptions about Down Syndrome.

  • Only older parents have children with Down syndrome
    • According to the CDC, about 80% of children who have down syndrome are born to women younger than 35. There could be a discrepancy in this information, however, as on average younger woman have more babies.
  • People with Down syndrome die young
    • The average life expectancy for a person with Down syndrome is nearly 60 years old. Some people with Down syndrome live into their 80s.
  • People with Down syndrome can’t read or write
    • The majority of children with Down syndrome can learn to read and write.
  • All people who have Down syndrome will develop Alzheimer’s disease
    • Nearly 100% of people with Down syndrome will have the plaques and tangles in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease, however this does not mean that they have the actual symptomatic disease. One study from 1989 indicates that between 20-55% of people with Down syndrome with develop symptomatic Alzheimer’s disease.
  • People with Down syndrome cannot have children
    • While it is true that a person with Down syndrome may have challenges conceiving, women who have Down syndrome are fertile and can give birth. There are some older studies that are currently being investigated, which claim that men with Down syndrome are infertile. However, there have been a handful of documented instances in which men with Down syndrome have fathered children.
  • People with Down syndrome are always happy
    • People with Down syndrome have different moods and feelings, the same as anyone else. In fact, one recent literature review of previous studies found that people with Down syndrome are at a higher risk for depression, and there is evidence to suggested that it is under-treated.



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Fargo-Moorhead Event on March 21! Keeping Tech/Social Media Positive & Healthy

Cyber Bulling statistics show that over half of teens have been bullied online and have engaged in cyber bulling. They also show that more than 1 in 3 teens have experienced cyber threats online. Come join Professor Dave Eisenmann on March 31st for a presentation for parents and students about keeping technology and social media positive and healthy for students of all ages.  This is a FREE event and is open to the community. Eisenmann will be giving the presentation from 7PM-8:30PM at the First Lutheran Church in Fargo. This presentation will cover topics about cyber bullying and harassment, sexting, and the dangers of pornography. Why students should be careful about information that they share online through Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter and how this a permanent digital record will also be covered in the presentation by Eisenmann. Attend this event to help students all ages understand how to keep their technology and social media positive and healthy.

For more information about this event click here:

Poison Prevention Week 2018


2016 statistics show that there is an average of 1 poison exposure reported to U.S. poison control centers every 14.6 seconds. Fortunately, not all reported incidents resulted in an actual poisoning. Do you know how to avoid a poisoning incident or what to do in the case a possible poisoning does occur? The Health Resources and Services Administration has dedicated March 15-21 as Poison Prevention Week to bring awareness. Read on to learn more about poison prevention and care.

  • A good start to preparing for or handling a poison incident is to have the Poison Help line written in a convenient location. That number is 1-800-222-1222. Keep the number in your phone and have a magnet on your fridge.
  • Poison proof your home. Keep medications in properly labeled containers and stored appropriately. Have properly functioning carbon monoxide detectors near bedrooms and furnaces. Keep cleaning supplies in proper containers and out of reach of children. Keep an eye on children when they are using craft supplies that may be made with chemicals and wash all surfaces after contact with the supplies. Use proper food preparation and storage techniques such as washing hands before handling food and storing foods at proper temperatures. Know what animals, insects, and plants are in your area that may be poisonous such as snakes and mushrooms.
  • What do you do if you suspect a possible poisoning? Do your best to stay calm and call the Poison Help line. Doing so may save you a trip to the Emergency Room. However, if the person is not breathing you must call 911. When you call the help line, an expert will be able to help you by giving first aid advice. If the poison was inhaled, get fresh air immediately. If the poison came in contact with the body, take off clothing that has been touched by the poison and rinse the skin with running water for 15-20 minutes. If the poison in in the eyes, rinse the eyes with running water for 15-20 minutes.

Being aware of possible poisoning incidents will help you be better prepared when a real incident occurs. Know what materials and organisms may be putting you at risk. Finally, if an incident does occur, do not wait for signs of a poisoning to call for help.

Where will you travel to in 2018? Be safe while you are there!


In 2017, about 79,767,026 United States citizens traveled internationally. Traveling has increased in popularity over the years and the industry grows every year. Traveling is exciting and fun, but it is important to stay safe and healthy while at your chosen destination. Whether you are traveling for work or adventure, take a look below for some safety and health tips while traveling abroad.

  • Travel Advisories: Are you traveling to a safe location? The U.S. Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs issues travel advisories for each country. There are four levels based on safety and security risk. Where does your destination land?
    1. Exercise normal precautions
    2. Exercise increased caution
    3. Reconsider travel
    4. Do not travel
  • STEP: This acronym stands for Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. It gives travelers information and updates about their location. It also allows the U.S. Embassy to contact you in the case of an emergency.
  • Weather: What’s the weather like? Does it rain often? Is it tropical storm season? Bring appropriate clothing and have a plan in the case severe weather conditions occur.
  • Driving and Road Safety: Do you plan on driving yourself while at your destination? Make sure you know the laws and road conditions (and what roads to avoid) as well as driving norms (i.e. driving on the left side of the road rather than the right side). Carry spare tires and extra fuel. Make sure you have the proper driving permits and documentation. Some countries require international driving permits
  • Medications, Vaccines, and Hospital Availability: Will you be bringing medications with you? It is advised to carry a doctor’s note that describes your medical condition, leave your medications in their original container with a clear label. Check out your destination’s drug policies to see if your medications are allowed. Another tip to consider is to see what vaccinations are recommended for traveling in general or for your particular destination. You should also have a plan if you do happen to get ill or injured. Find a doctor or hospital to go to and see if your insurance covers you while abroad. It’s important to be prepared.
  • Food Safety: Avoid foodborne illnesses and other diseases by practicing good eating and drinking habits. Safe foods are typically thoroughly cooked and hot. Packaged foods are also typically safe to eat. Bottled and canned beverages are also safe to drink. However, make sure bottles have not been tampered with and wipe the mouth of the can clean before drinking. Raw food, tap water (and ice made from tap water), and fountain drinks can be risky. Also use precaution when eating from street vendors as they may have decreased hygiene standards.
  • Belonging Safety: We all may have heard stories about belonging getting stolen while traveling. To avoid having your own belongings taken, don’t keep everything in one place. When going out, only bring the necessities and do not carry them in your back pocket. If you are carrying a purse or bag, keep it toward the front of your body. If you happen to be in a situation where someone is trying to take something of yours, it may be best not to fight for it. Although this may be hard to do and not your first reaction, you should remember that your safety is more important.
  • Money: What kind of money is used (i.e. Euros, Pesos, British pound)? You may wish to pick up some currency at your U.S. bank to reduce the cost of exchanging dollars into local currency overseas. Research the use of credit cards if you plan to use one. Call your credit card company to let them know you are traveling or your card may be declined overseas.

While these tips do not cover all areas of travel health and safety, they are a good start! We hope that this information will provide a safer and healthier experience while traveling abroad.