From “Top Songs of the Summer” to “Top Movies of the Summer” to, “Top Tops for a Tops Summer,” everybody loves a list, especially if it’s about summer. Show me someone who doesn’t love a summer list and I’ll show you someone who deserves your pity. So in that spirit, I present the “UCSB Student Health Top 5 Tips for a Healthy Summer:”
Prescriptions: If you are on prescription medications and will be away for the summer, it is imperative to have enough medications to last until fall. The Student Health pharmacy, with the approval of your healthcare provider, can dispense a three-month supply of your medication. Alternately, your healthcare provider can print a prescription for you to take to an outside pharmacy near your summer locale. CAUTION: U.S. prescriptions may not be honored in other countries. (But the U.S. ’sup head nod is universally recognized).
Health Insurance: If you have GHI and will be returning in the fall, your GHI will cover you over the summer. If you are a graduating senior and have GHI, your GHI will cover you through Sept. 17, 2016. So it’s a good idea to start planning for that transition as soon as possible. The social workers at Student Health can help you research and evaluate different health plans. Coveredcalifornia.com is another great resource for finding healthcare coverage. The sooner this process is started, the better. CAUTION: some insurances may not have international coverage. Please check with your insurer.
Travel Safety: Zika is getting all the headlines these days. If you will be traveling to Zika endemic areas such as Mexico, Central and South America or some of the Oceania nations, it is important to address Zika prevention. Since Zika is transmitted by a daytime-biting mosquito, preventing mosquito bites is the best way to prevent getting infected. This includes using bug spray with DEET, mosquito netting when sleeping and long-sleeved shirts and pants.
More Travel Safety: Even though Zika is trending, it’s important to also be prepared for some of the old school infectious diseases such as tetanus, meningitis, yellow fever and malaria. Check the UCSB Student Health website for information on our travel services and important links for up-to-date information on recommended travel vaccines and malaria prevention for your given destination. You can also make an appointment with our travel clinic where we offer travel information, all travel vaccines and medications for malaria prophylaxis and traveler’s diarrhea. For even more travel safety, visit the UCSB Student Health website, studenthealth.sa.ucsb.edu, and click on “Medical Services,” then click on “Travel Services.”
Sun Protection: Unless you’re traveling into the depths of Antarctica, the sun will be the most omnipresent travel risk. Sunrays warm us, make our skin and beaches glisten, but also cause skin cancer. So sun protection is another very important aspect of having a healthy summer. Sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher is recommended. Reapplication is very important.
Even the sweat-resistant-all-day-all-weather-sport-pH-balanced-fair trade-organic-hazelnut sunscreen wears off with sweat and water exposure. Another key point to keep in mind is that sunscreen does not prevent sunburns. It only delays it. So taking a break from the sun is an integral part of sun safety. Spending 15 minutes of every hour in the shade is a good rule of thumb.
From all of us here at Student Health, we wish you a safe, happy and healthy summer break. If you’re returning in the fall, we look forward to seeing all of your well-rested, refreshed, exuberant faces. For those who are moving on to other ventures, we wish you all the best and we will miss you.
Dr. Ali Javanbakht is the UCSB Student Health Medical Director.