Stay safe during break: Ask questions, watch friends

FAU student Schuyler Williams does a ‘beer bong’ with help from Indiana University student Megan Welihan, bottom right, as Ian Chance, left, helps support Williams in his gravity defying effort during spring break on Fort Lauderdale Beach, March 18, 2010, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (Patrick Farrell/Miami Herald/MCT)

Winter break is commonly known as spring break, unless you’re stuck in Michigan freezing your butt off. However, it doesn’t matter if you’re headed down to the warm beaches of Mexico or stuck in the Northwest, there are a lot of opportunities for you to get hurt.
College women in particular tend to find themselves in dangerous situations during spring break.

An NBC News article, “Girls warned not to ‘go wild’ on spring break,” said 83 percent of the women surveyed by the American Medical Association will partake in increased drinking during their vacation, while 74 percent will increase their sexual activity.

Just focusing on the increased sexual activity, there’s a long list of bad stuff that could happen, one of which is the possibility of a sexually transmitted disease. SexualHealth.com lists some of the potential STDs a person could contract, including, but not limited to: chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis B and C, herpes, HIV and syphilis.

While it’s understandable that one might want to use their free time to do some old-fashioned sexual exercise, be smart about it. There is no excuse to not use a condom to protect yourself, especially since they are readily available, you can sometimes get them for free and polyurethane condoms are available for people who are allergic to latex. It’s also important to ask a potential partner if they have an STD before you do anything sexual.

And remember, not all sex that happens during spring break is consensual. If you’re going out, make sure you go out with a group of people who you know and trust. Keep in mind that rape is a very possible danger, so check up on each of your friends to make sure that if they’re heading into a hotel room after a party, that they’re sober, 100 percent aware and cool with what’s happening.

Keeping an eye on all your friends is a big part of being safe during break. The last thing you need while relaxing in Florida is to have to fill out a missing person report. One way to keep an eye out for everyone is to assign someone to be a designated driver/caretaker each night, even if you’re not planning on driving. Having a person who is going to keep an eye out on the group each night is one way to increase the chances everyone will be okay.

Food poisoning is another danger spring breakers face. The last thing you want to have to do is waste a couple days sick in bed because you decided to eat shellfish from Al’s Pancake World. This also applies if you’re going home for break. Yeah, your mom might typically be a good cook, but consider going out for burgers if Mom ends up making mystery meat for dinner.

Just because you don’t want to spend all of break in bed, doesn’t mean you should skip out on sleep all together. Regardless of whether you’re working all day or laying out on the beach, there’s a huge temptation to stay up all night. But, lack of sleep can easily cause accidents, especially for those driving. This is an increased danger if you’re going anywhere that’s a lengthy distance away. Keep an eye out for rest spots, and keep at least a couple people up at a time to ensure the driver is being safe.

By no means should you avoid having fun during the nine days away from campus, but you should be careful. Keep in mind that funerals and hospitals are the last place you want to spend your time.


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