While some students are conscious of their health, many are not regularly visiting with their doctors which may lead to severe health issues later on in life.
Aside from following a steady diet, exercising regularly, and sleeping the recommended amount, students need to visit medical professionals at least every year. These appointments should cover all aspects of one’s health, including physical, mental, dental and sexual health.
“Just going in [to the Health and Wellness Center] once a year gives [the nurse practitioners] the chance to do a quick physical,” said Vicky O’Neil, nursing department chair and associate professor. “It also gives [the nurse practitioners] a chance to talk to students about any issues they may be having.” O’Neil volunteers at least once a month to help with the center.
By taking the initial step to seek medical help early on, O’Neil said this can prevent future health issues or stop them from progressing. O’Neil recommends scheduling an appointment anytime after the first two weeks of school because that is when the Health and Wellness Center is at its busiest. However, students can come in on a walk-in basis if they’re really sick, and each visit costs $20.
“If a student has a cough and it persists for longer than two weeks, then they need to come see us,” O’Neil said. “Usually they have got a secondary bacterial infection that we might need to treat.”
Although the Health and Wellness Center doesn’t offer flu shots, students can visit their local pharmacy or clinic. Nurse Practitioner Brittany Duckett said the Valley Obstetrics and Gynecology Women’s Healthcare Center is one of the clinics in St. George offering flu shots every year for their patients.
“If you’re a college student, you are out where there is a lot of [infectious] diseases and you’re surrounded by other people, so I would recommend a [flu shot],” Duckett said.
Aside from keeping up with doctor’s appointments, maintaining one’s mental health can be another obstacle. O’Neil said students’ performance in school can be affected if they suffer from anxiety and depression, which may be overlooked if they do not address their symptoms. It may start out as just missing class or not staying updated with what specific assignments are due, O’Neil said.
“[Students] wait until half a semester has passed and then they come in seeking help,” O’Neil said.
Rather than wait until it is too late, the Health and Wellness Center offers therapy sessions for students. If the therapists believe the student needs additional assistance, they will refer him or her to an off-campus provider.
“The mental health providers and physical health providers work very closely together to make sure [students] can get the best treatment,” O’Neil said.
Without regular dental visits, individuals risk a lot more than having clean, white teeth.
Patricia Wintch, interim dean of the College of Health Sciences, said there is a connection between those with poor dental health and those who may contract pneumonia, give birth to premature babies, or develop a heart valve infection. In addition to these health risks, it will affect a person’s ability to chew and eat correctly.
Kyle Lindsley, a sophomore exercise science major from Stansbury, said he goes to the dentist every year to ensure he avoids any dental issues later on.
“With teeth, you don’t feel pain until something is bad [enough] to the point where you can’t fix it on your own and [the dentist] has to help you,” Lindsley said. “If I go to the dentist and they say I may be starting to get a cavity, I can try to prevent that from happening by taking better care of my teeth.”
Dixie State University’s dental hygiene clinic offers $25 teeth cleaning for students, which includes a full mouth x-ray and fluoride. If students need additional dental work, the clinic does a screening and refers them to another dentist.
“We are also starting an expanded functions clinic where we do fillings,” Wintch said. “So far we have had one live clinic, but it is going to be an ongoing thing.”
DSU’s dental hygiene clinic is located in the Taylor Health Science Building on the first floor. Patients can call 435-879-4900 or email [email protected] to schedule appointments. The clinic is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
As we continue to age, Duckett said she recommends annual physicals, including pelvic exams for women. Duckett specializes in a women’s clinic, and said she noticed a lot of women will not schedule appointments until they face severe pain or sexually transmitted infection symptoms.
“A lot of times, we do not see college-aged kids until there is a problem like they’re pregnant or think they might have an STI,” Duckett said. “A lot of that can just be prevented if you’re educated well.”
Duckett said one of the main misconceptions about birth control is waiting to look into contraception until you become sexually active.
“I always think it is good to be prepared, unless you have solid plans not to become sexually active,” Duckett said. “Regardless of sexual activity, every female should have a Pap Smears exam at age 21.”
Duckett said women should get Pap Smears every three years, but should continue to schedule a pelvic and breast exam every year.
“I have several patients in their 20s with breast cancer, so I think it’s wise to be conscious of your health,” Duckett said. “In college, you feel invincible and then you get to be 30 and think, ‘what was I thinking?'”
Duckett said the Valley OB/GYN is a safe clinic that ensure a patient’s privacy in terms of testing, and for those who need contraceptives or have questions, they are always there to help. The clinic is located at 515 S. 300 E. Suite 206, and is open Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. To schedule an appointment, call 435-628-1662.
Students can also visit Planned Parenthood to pick up contraceptives or schedule appointments for STI screenings by calling 435-674-9933. Planned Parenthood is located on 595 S. Bluff St. Suite 1 and is open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Health and Wellness Center
34 N. 600 E.
Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
DSU Public Dental Hygiene Clinic
1526 Medical Center Drive
Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
515 S. 300 E. Suite 206
Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
595 S. Bluff St. Suite 1
Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.