We have a visitor on campus, and throughout the city, that greets us every fall and it’s called the Puss Moth Caterpillar.  It is considered one of the most toxic caterpillars in North America.  These caterpillars are teardrop-shaped with long silky hair.  When the hairs are touched, they break off and remain in the skin releasing venom.  Intense throbbing pain develops within five minutes and the pain extends up the affected extremity.  On the skin, the appearance of blood colored spots appears at the site of the sting.  Other symptoms may include headache, nausea, vomiting, intense abdominal distress, and swollen lymph nodes.

If you are stung by one of these caterpillars, please seek attention immediately.  If this incident occurs during Loyola’s Student Health Services operating hours of Monday-Friday 8:30am-4:45pm, please visit the Student Health clinic located in the basement of the Danna Center, directly below the Orleans Room.  If it’s after hours or on a weekend, the treatment guidelines are as follows:

  1.  Use adhesive tape to remove spines that remain on the skin
  2.  Wash the area with soap and water
  3.  Apply ice pack and baking soda to reduce pain and swelling
  4.  Take over the counter pain medication such as Advil, Tylenol, etc to reduce pain
  5.  Take over the counter antihistamines such as Benadryl, Zyrtec, etc to relieve itching
  6. Call Student Health on the next business day to check-in with us and let us know how you are doing at 504.865.3326

If the pain becomes too severe or if you are having difficulty breathing please go to the nearest emergency department.

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Worldwide Suicide Prevention Week is September 10-16, 2017. It is a week to affirm our commitment to helping ourselves and others and to acknowledge that we sometimes struggle and that reaching out isn’t weak: it’s strong.

How do you help someone who’s suicidal?

A suicidal person may not ask for help, but that doesn’t mean that help isn’t wanted. Most suicidal people are ambivalent – they don’t want to die – they just want to stop hurting.

Here are some “Don’ts” that apply to anyone who might be suicidal:

• Do not leave him/her alone or let him/her go off alone

• Do not be judgmental

• Do not argue, debate, analyze, or moralize

• Do not try to cheer him/her up

• Do not try to shock or challenge (i.e., say “Oh, go ahead and do it if you want to!”)

• Do not accept “I’m okay now.” (Nobody recovers immediately from suicidality.)

• Do not be sworn to secrecy

• Do not feel like you have to manage this alone: get help from the University Counseling Center, Resident Ministers, or other resources on campus.

 

Here are some “Do’s”:

• Ask if he/she is thinking about suicide

“Are you thinking about killing yourself?”

“Do you think you might try to hurt yourself today?”

“Have you thought of ways that you might hurt yourself?”

“Do you have pills/weapons in your room?”

• Take the intent or threat very seriously

• Listen

• Show that you care and say it

 

If you see any of these warning signs, there is IMMEDIATE, APPARENT DANGER:

• Weapons, pills or other means visible or talked about (“I know where my dad keeps his gun.”)

• The person has a clear plan (“I’m going to get in my car tomorrow and drive off of the Causeway.”)

• The person voices intent (“I want to end my life, and I’m going to kill myself.”)

If there is no apparent immediate danger (and no lethal means in view):

• Tell her/him that help is available and you can see that he/she gets it.

• Call the UCC and speak with the counselor on-call: 504-865-3835 (press 1)

If there is apparent immediate danger – ACT:

• Say that you are getting help

• Call LUPD at (504) 865-3434 and tell them “I’m with someone who is suicidal.” They will help you get emergency services.

Remember: You cannot predict death by suicide, but you can identify people who are at increased risk for suicidal behavior, take precautions, and refer them for effective treatment.

 

 

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Remember the old Coyote and Roadrunner cartoons?

Wiley E. Coyote tried forever to catch the Roadrunner. Despite his best efforts and all his ingenuity, he never caught the Roadrunner, and in fact often ended up harming himself. Recently I came across Chuck Jones’ rules for the series. They are a great metaphor for anxiety management:

1. The Road Runner cannot harm the Coyote except by going “meep, meep.”

Your anxiety cannot harm you beyond influencing your thoughts and feelings. When you are having a panic attack, it might feel like you are going to die, but it’s not true. Remind yourself that your anxiety can only “meep, meep” at you—annoying, but not life-threatening.

2. No outside force can harm the Coyote — only his own ineptitude or the failure of Acme products. Trains and trucks were the exception from time to time.

Focus on your own self-efficacy and ability to manage your anxious feelings. Struggle with social anxiety? It’s unlikely that everyone is staring at you, but feeling like that’s true can cause you to be self-conscious and awkward. Tell yourself “No outside force can harm me—If I manage my anxiety, I will be okay.”

 3. The Coyote could stop anytime — if he were not a fanatic.

Examine your own commitment to your anxiety. Give yourself permission to stop feeling anxious. Instead of thinking “I am an anxious person,” try thinking “I’ve been anxious in the past, but I’m working towards changing that.”

 4. No dialogue ever, except “meep, meep” and yowling in pain.

Ever get trapped in the loop of anxious thoughts and feelings of panic? When our dialogue is restricted to “This bad thing is going to happen,” and “OMG, that is painful and terrifying,” it’s hard to get any movement on anxiety. Allow other thoughts and feelings to enter this dialogue: “I can do this, it’s going to be okay,” and you start to have a choice other than yowling in pain.

5. The Road Runner must stay on the road — for no other reason than that he’s a roadrunner.

Deal with one worry at a time, and notice boundaries. Anxiety becomes overwhelming when we are thinking of all the things that could go wrong at once. Recognize that you have the ability to keep your anxiety restricted to one area at a time, and to prevent your anxiety from one thing from spilling over into something else.

 6. All action must be confined to the natural environment of the two characters — the southwest American desert.

Notice what environmental stressors make your anxiety worse—are you always nervous in class? Or when you are at a party? Brainstorm ways to change your thoughts and feelings about this environment to reduce anxiety. For example, if you are always stressed in the classroom, but never stressed on the baseball diamond, bring those same feelings of relaxation into the classroom!

 7. All tools, weapons, or mechanical conveniences must be obtained from the Acme Corporation.

Figure out the core negative thought related to your anxiety, and reject thoughts associated with this thought. Everything from Acme is doomed to fail. Thoughts that tie into the idea “I’m worthless,” will always make you more anxious. Give yourself permission to reject these thoughts and find more helpful cognitions.

8. Whenever possible, make gravity the Coyote’s greatest enemy.

Depression and anxiety go hand and hand. Your depressed feelings and thoughts can make you anxious, and vice versa. The good news is that interventions that work for anxiety can also work for depression.

9. The Coyote is always more humiliated than harmed by his failures.

Yes, it is embarrassing when you fall and trip in front of a room full of people, but it is not deadly. A moment’s embarrassment isn’t a big deal, but hiding in your room because that moment feels too painful can be. Remind yourself that your anxiety can’t harm you if you experience it and let it pass.

 10. The audience’s sympathy must remain with the Coyote.

Be kind to yourself! When you trip and fall, most people are thinking “Oh no! Is he okay?” as opposed to “Look at that idiot!” And the people who are thinking that are being jerks anyway! Be your own best friend.

 11. The Coyote is not allowed to catch or eat the Road Runner.

It’s unrealistic to expect to live a life without any anxious moments, but you can learn to manage your anxiety. You may not be able to stop feeling anxious, but you can reduce the “meep meep” to a minor irritation instead of becoming debilitated.

 

Want to learn strategies to manage your anxiety? Come to the UCC’s free Anxiety Management Workshops. Thursdays, 12:30 pm-1:30pm, at the Student Success Center (MA 112). The workshops focus on skill-building as opposed to self-disclosure and no preregistration is necessary. For more info, go to http://bit.ly/loynoworries, or e-mail awong@loyno.edu.

 

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Bienvenue!  Welcome to the 2017-2018 Care for the Pack blog.  It is my pleasure to introduce to you a new academic year of the blog spot for the Loyola University New Orleans University Counseling Center (UCC) and Student Health Services (SHS).  Here you will find resources, news, reflections, links, and event information to promote your physical and mental well-being.  You will hear from psychologists, counselors, social workers, students, office managers, nurses, and nurse practitioners and we will cover a variety of topics including stress management, eating disorder awareness, sexual assault awareness, substance abuse prevention, suicide awareness, and managing allergies in New Orleans, just to name a few.

Before I share highlights of our departments, I want to extend our deepest sympathies to students who are from Texas or who may have family or loved ones affected by the catastrophic rains, rising rivers, and dangerous floodwaters caused by Hurricane Harvey.  If you need at any point to talk with someone, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at the UCC.  We are here to help 24/7 and can connect you to resources beyond our services, if needed.

In case you didn’t already know, both the University Counseling Center (UCC) and Student Health Services (SHS) are located in the Danna Center.  The UCC is located directly above the Orleans Room and SHS is located directly below the Orleans Room.  Office hours for both clinics are Monday-Friday, 8:30am-4:45pm and services are free to all enrolled students.  Please call for an appointment in either department.  The UCC can be reached at 504.865.3835 and the SHS can be reached at 504.865.3326.

UCC highlights:

  • Individual, couples and group counseling
  • Anxiety management workshops
  • Medication management
  • Daily walk-in triage and crisis appointments
  • ADHD testing

SHS highlights:

  • Urgent care clinic on campus
  • Well woman exams
  • Lab work
  • Referrals to area specialists and dentists
  • Orthopedic services

Counseling is available 24/7 by contacting the UCC counselor-on-call.  During business hours, call 504. 865.3835 to schedule an appointment and/or to request to speak with the counselor on-call. After hours and on weekends, call 504.865.3835 and press 1 at the voicemail prompt to be immediately connected to a trained and licensed mental health professional.  Student Health Services does not carry after-hours coverage but an ambulance can be requested by calling LUPD at 504.865.3434 for on-campus medical emergencies.  For non-emergency care, Ochsner On-call is a 24/7 free nurse care line that can be reached at 1.800.231.5257.

Thanks for taking the time to stop in for a preview of our Care for the Pack blog.  We look forward to sharing information with you for a healthy and happy academic year!

Take care,

Dr. Bourque

 

 

 

 

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At some point in your academic career, you are likely to experience test anxiety. Below are some tips for reducing feelings of panic and anxiety and improving your testing performance:

Dealing with the Fear Response:
It’s normal to connect a feeling of fear with an event. To deal with your fear, sometimes it helps to practice being in the testing situation.

  1. Practice your relaxed breathing.
  2. Make a list of three events that cause fear when you are taking a test and then rank these events from what causes the most fear down to what causes the least fear.
  3. Practice relaxed breathing.
  4. Imagine event #3. If you feel fearful, turn off the mental picture and go back to breathing.
  5. Once you’ve successfully pictured Event #3 without panic, move on to the next item.

By repeatedly putting yourself in the testing position and experiencing a comfortable feeling, you are desensitizing yourself to those bad feelings.

10 Test Taking Tips

General :

  • Mark and return to more difficult questions. Don’t waste time and increase your anxiety.
  • Allow more time for questions worth more points
  • Break down difficult questions into manageable parts and rephrase them in your own words.

Multiple Choice:

  • Beware of absolute terms (e.g., always, never, every).
  • Eliminate obviously wrong choices, then eliminate implausible or unlikely choices

Essay:

  • Start with the easiest question. Be sure to get those points.
  • Briefly outline the major points you want to discuss before writing your essay.
  • Use facts and specific examples to support your answers.

Math:

  • Try substituting one of the middle range responses for the unknown in the problem.
  • Simple numbers can sometimes be substituted for more complex ones to give an indication of a “ballpark” answer
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As the end of the semester grows closer, you may find yourself daydreaming of summer vacation, nights out with friends and day trips to the beach. Maybe you have a new, exciting job to look forward to, or perhaps you are returning home to spend time with your family.  Whatever your summer plans, it is an exciting time of year. Yet, the only thing standing between you and break… are finals. Having strong motivation and focus is key to finish the spring semester strong!  But, how are you expected to take tests, stayed motivated and write papers when it is festival season in New Orleans and there are crawfish boils at the fly?!  Keep reading for some tip and tricks to help you perform at your best during the last the few weeks of spring semester 2017!

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1. What’s your perfect storm?

Understand your stressors! If you know that cramming for a big exam makes you extremely nervous, utilize time effectively! Studying for shorter amounts of time over a longer period could help improve your studying and focus.

 

2. Where you at?

   Create the ultimate study space! If you feel distracted in you room, study in the library! If you feel that you cannot get work done in a group, book a private study room! Wit or without music, creating a comfortable environment will give you optimum results.

 

3. Workshops!!!

   The UCC is offering a few free workshops to aid the Loyno community in dealing with the stress of finals, test anxiety, motivation, and focus! Drop by Marquette 112 on the following days to get some good advice, take a break and recharge during finals!

 Thursday, April 20th  12:30-1:30

       ~Improving Focus and Motivation!

   Tuesday, April  25th  12:30-1:30

   Thursday, April 27th  12:30-1:30

       ~Test Anxiety Drop-Ins!

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Allergies can present anytime in a person’s life, especially for people who are new to our great city. Many people first experience seasonal allergies when they are young adults. New Orleans has been labeled as one of the worst cities for seasonal and outdoor allergies. In fact, the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America has ranked New Orleans in the top 15 worst cities nationally for seasonal and outdoor allergies. One of the reasons is our longer and stronger allergy season, which pretty much extends year round.

 

Symptoms of seasonal allergies can often mimic the common cold or flu. These can include:

• Stuffy nose, runny nose, sneezing

• Itchy or red eyes

• Sore throat, cough, itchy throat or ears

• Waking up at night or trouble sleeping, which can lead to feeling tired during the day

 

The most common causes of seasonal allergies are:

• Pollens from trees, grasses or weeds

• Mold spores which grow when the weather is humid, wet or damp

 

The symptoms of allergies occur when a person with seasonal allergies breathes in these substances, and the immune system acts as if the substance is harmful to the body. Enjoying our nice NOLA weather and festival fun may contribute to these symptoms. Don’t let allergies slow you down!

If you feel like you may be struggling with allergies, there are many different treatment options for you. You can visit Student Health Services (SHS) for more information, evaluation, and treatment of your symptoms. We can also help with a referral to an allergist if needed. SHS is located in the basement of the Danna Student Center or call 504.865.3326.

 

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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month! Loyola will participate by holding Sexual Assault Awareness Week with several activities including signing petitions and postcards to encourage support of Violence Against Women Act funding, a free self-defense class, and the opportunity to sign It’s On Us pledges and share your picture to show support!

On the national level, the focus of SAAM this year is “Believe Survivors Change the Culture.” Prevention efforts are important; however, we also need to work on how we respond when sexual assault happens. The first disclosure is critical. Often survivors are unsure who to tell and choose someone they feel they can trust. If the reaction is negative, they feel ashamed and are less likely to seek help or tell others because they fear further judgment or blame. They are also more likely to experience depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and substance abuse than survivors who feel supported.

What to do if someone discloses sexual assault to you:

  1. Remain calm. Sexual assault is a terrible thing and it is okay to react with concern for the survivor, however, it is also important to remain calm and keep the focus on them and their feelings.
  2. Don’t assume they’ve told others about the assault. Even if it happened a long time ago, you may be the first person they have chosen to tell about what happened to them.
  3. Don’t try to “fix it.” You can’t fix the situation or make things right or take away their pain. However, you can respond in a caring manner. Questions like “what do you need right now?” and “how can I help?” are a good place to start.
  4. Don’t ask too many detail questions. You are not an investigator. Allow the survivor the space to tell you what they want without the pressure to talk about details that are unnecessary. Additionally, questions about details can sometimes make survivors feel like they are being judged.
  5. Don’t lie about reporting. Title IX requires that non-confidential sources and CSAs report incidences of sexual violence that take place on and around campus. If you are a responsible reporter and a survivor tells you about a reportable assault, be honest with them and explain your obligations and the process. If you do not tell them or lie about reporting, they may feel betrayed.
  6. Don’t push them to report or press charges. There are many barriers to reporting sexual assault but beyond all of the reasons a survivor may not want to report, they should be empowered to make the decision that is best for themselves, not the decision you think is best.
  7. Refer them to resources. This includes on-campus resources such as the UCC, University Ministry, LUPD, The Advocates Initiative, and the Women’s Resource Center; as well as off-campus resources such as Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response (STAR) and the SAFE Program at University Medical Center for sexual assault exams. For more information about resources, visit: http://studentaffairs.loyno.edu/counseling/sexual-assault
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For the week of Compassionate Campus, we spend time focused on acts of kindness and compassionate in our everyday lives. Take some time this week to notice the daily acts of compassion occurring all around you, and to make a conscious effort to be more compassionate in your own life.

Not sure where to start? Below are some resources:

Compassionate Campus 2016 

Self-Compassion Exercises

Random Acts of Kindness

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The pressure to “look” right can become overwhelming. Being constantly worried about if you look good, if you’re too skinny, too fat if society accepts your body, is exhausting. Why do we want to be in someone else’s body? What about our own body can we not love? The National Eating Disorder Association reports that 20 million women and 10 million men in the United States suffer from an eating disorder at some time in their life. People of color and LGBTQIA+ people are at a higher risk of developing an eating disorder.
On February 6th, Loyola will begin a week-long celebration and journey about loving your body. We strive to celebrate ALL bodies at Loyola; bodies of all colors, sexes, religions, orientations and shapes. Every individual on this campus is beautiful and unique, which is what makes Loyola New Orleans so special.
Special events will be held all over campus from February 6th-10th to engage the Loyno community in loving and celebration our bodies! Post a selfie and use the hashtag #mybodyis to show your love and support for your body and the bodies of your peers. As Lady Gaga says, “We were born this way” and we should celebrate that!
#mybodyis

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