Health Benefits of Aromatherapy

Alexus Baldwin | Staff Writer

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Courtesy of Alexus Baldwin

Aromatherapy is a substitute medicine that involves the use of essential oils that can be inhaled by people who have numerous health conditions. Health benefits include inducing sleep, improving the digestion system, relieving depression and anxiety, and strengthening of the immune system.

Fortunately, nature has provided mankind these oils to cure certain medical conditions.

The most known use of aromatherapy is for the relief of stress. Inside the oils, there are relaxants that help reduce anxiety levels and calm people down. Most use aromatherapy in their homes because of how easy the mixtures are.

Studies have shown that lavender, peppermint, vetiver, lemon oil and bergamot are most effective. These oils can provide a number of benefits; for instance, lemon oil can improve aging.

“Personally, I have never used aromatherapy. But, my mother has, and I have seen a huge improvement with her moods,” Baltimore native Rachel Jones said. “She is no longer as angry as she once was and is a lot calmer.”

Aromatherapy also helps with relieving depression. The most common oils used for this are lavender, jasmine, peppermint and chamomile.

Alzheimer’s disease affects memory, typically in the elderly. Although this disease is still incurable, aromatherapy can reduce the progression of this condition and can be used as an alternative with dementia as well.

Aromatherapy also has been shown to help younger people improve their memory capacity as well. Sage oil is recommended for this purpose.

Unlike aromatherapy oils, coffee, cigarettes and pills tend to have very dangerous side effects and should not be used for energy boosts.

“While a lot of us grab coffee in the morning to help us with energy, aromatherapy can do the same thing and is less damaging. There are plenty of oils to help with energy and even increase circulation,” registered nurse Marcella Douglas said. “If you want to give yourself an energy boost, try cinnamon, clove, tea tree, rosemary, sage or black pepper.”

Kayla Davis, a nursing major from Richmond, concurred.

“College students should highly consider this rather than running to Starbucks every morning before class,” Davis said. “This is a way healthier alternative than caffeine.”

Headaches and migraines are common occurrences. Instead of grabbing Tylenol or Motrin, aromatherapy is a healthier solution. Not only can it get rid of the headache, but it will also help with the medical origin of your headaches to prevent them from coming back in the future.

College students are welcome to take advantage of aromatherapy, especially considering the stress they face on a daily basis.

“After reading more about aromatherapy,” Jones said, “I plan to use this to help with my anxiety especially when there is an upcoming test or quiz.”

Nationwide flu outbreak strikes Hampton’s campus

Alexus Baldwin |Contributing Writer

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Leenika Belfield-Martin

H3NU — a relatively new strain of influenza — is causing a nationwide outbreak that college students are particularly prone to.

“The Health Center has seen an increase in influenza activity this semester, which is consistent with activity nationwide,” said MeGan Hill, a certified health education specialist.

H1N1 and Influenza B viruses are spreading as well. Those with the vaccine will not suffer as much as those without. The CDC said, “All states except for Hawaii and Oregon continue to report widespread flu activity.” It also reports that 42 states and the District of Columbia are experiencing high levels of influenza-like illness activity.

Certain people are more likely to contract the influenza than others.

“Students that have a weakened immune system or chronic illness such as diabetes, anemia, asthma, cancer or kidney disease are at an even higher risk,” said Marcella  Douglas, a registered nurse located in Yorktown. “Pregnant women have also shown an increase in issues dealing with influenza.”

Influenza A H3N2 was first identified in United States pigs in 2010. This virus can be deadly and is causing most of the sickness. According to the CDC, there have been 53 pediatric deaths in this 2017-2018 flu season.

If you display symptoms of influenza such as congestion, muscle aches, coughing, sneezing, sore throat or even new rashes, you are advised to call the Health Center to schedule an appointment or walk in.

The health center recommends that all students should get vaccinated if possible. The most recent campus flu shot clinic was held Feb. 7 in the Student Center atrium. Students also can receive vaccinations at the Hampton Health District or the nearest Walgreens.

“This year, I failed to get vaccinated, and I ended up becoming sick and leaving campus,” said Nyah Davis, a biology major from Richmond. “Now I know that getting vaccinated is critical. I plan on making an appointment and convincing other students to do the same.”

To prevent spreading influenza and to protect yourself, be sure to frequently wash your hands, cover your sneeze/cough with your inner elbow, use medication recommended by your doctor and sanitize your surroundings.

“[Hampton University] should make sure every classroom and auditorium has tissues and hand sanitizer for students, especially in the winter [when] it is common for students to be coughing and sneezing,” business major Brandon Davis said.

To find out more information in regards to influenza, visit cdc.gov/flu. For those with questions about the University Influenza policy, contact the Health Center at (757) 727-5315.

Debunking common myths associated with mental disorders

Alexus Baldwin | Contributing Writer

It is common for people to be more sympathetic for someone who is being afflicted by something that can be physically seen, such as a person who has lost their skin pigment in patches due to vitiligo.

However, when someone is suffering from a mental disorder and other psychiatric issues, it can be far less noticeable, unless time is spent with them daily. In today’s society, people tend to keep their pain very secretive in fear of judgment and shame.

Dr. Stanley Jones, former professor from Youngstown, Ohio, said that because teens perceive oral therapy as unnecessary, psychiatrists have to use a different method of therapy.

“Psychiatrists today try to approach their patients by the use of cognitive-behavioral therapy instead of being old fashioned and just talking,” Jones said.

According to Jones, this method “works on changing irrational thoughts and behaviors that are causing the patient serious problems.”

Jones also said it’s best to start treatments early.

“The longer you wait to be treated, and if you miss that window of opportunity to do so, [the harder] it will become,” he said.

Another myth, according to research, is that people can outgrow mental health disorders. In actuality, people are more likely to develop a disorder rather than grow out of one. If a person has a mental disorder as a child and is never treated for it early, it can make adulthood more difficult.

For example, if a child is depressed, this could cause them to fall behind in school. This mental disorder could hinder the child’s learning abilities and shorten his or her attention span.

Without proper knowledge of mental disorders, people are more likely to make assumptions and develop misconceptions. It is easier to understand people who live with mental health disorders once you become educated about them.

“A lot of people tend to think suffering from bipolar disorder can only have effects on a person’s mood, when that is not true,” said Marcellus Williams, a graduate student from Hampton. “When you suffer from this mental disorder, not only is it affecting your energy levels, [but also your] self-esteem, concentration and even your memory as well. I believe that everyone should educate themselves on this disorder instead of believing what they only hear.”

People who suffer from mental health disorders are still capable of having successful lives. They can still build families, buy houses and obtain great jobs. All of these goals can be met with healthy coping skills, a stable support system and treatment.

Ways to protect yourself this winter

Alexus Baldwin | Contributing Writer

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Courtesy of Leenika Belfield-Martin

This winter, the flu and cold will be prevalent. December is known to be the most infectious cold month according to Marcella Douglas, registered nurse and CEO of Health Partners Inc.

Knowing ways to protect yourself will limit your chances of getting sick.

“When college students are away from home, they do not have that constant reminder from their mother telling them to wear a coat and to take vitamins. [Therefore,] they typically forget and end up becoming sick,” said Marcellus Williams, graduate student from Hampton. “It is crucial to protect yourself and to get the shot because if you become ill with the influenza, you must leave school. Everyone should also know that the school offers [the shot] to students for free.”

During the winter, most people are less likely to consume vegetables and fresh fruits. This can make their bodies more vulnerable for an infection, which is why multi-daily vitamins are recommended.

Probiotics are important because not only do they help with the digestive system, but they also help our bodies build stronger immune systems.

“Last winter I wish I would have protected myself because I ended up catching the cold more than one time and it really affected my school work,” said Moriah Davis, a journalism major, from Newport News.

“During the time of [my sickness], I had to miss multiple days of class, which [caused me to be] behind in my schoolwork. I could have made simple decisions to prevent me from getting sick, such as staying hydrated, keeping myself warm and sanitizing things in my dorm room that [my roommate and I] mutually share.”

Staying hydrated helps flush out the toxins that are in the body. If you are sick with either the cold or the flu and you are not drinking enough, your mucus thickens and it becomes harder for your body to fight the bacteria and viruses.

Douglas said, “The recommended amount of water per day to keep yourself healthy is eight glasses and some people do not even meet that half way.”

Unjanae Brantley, a nursing major, from Yorktown, Va., said, “In my classes, the professors stress sanitation all the time with us, and although it is repetitive information, it is still very important. [At school,] it is a lot easier to become sick because you are constantly around large amounts of people and [you share] door knobs, handles and water fountains.”

Keeping hand sanitizer on you is also a necessity; this way, when you are touching various knobs and handles, you are still protecting yourself.

“Teens are more [likely] to become sick during the winter, and this can change if they all make better decisions during the season,” Douglas said. “Also, doing their own research will help as well.”