The Scary Facts About Indoor Tanning

This cold, snowy winter has most of us longing for some sunshine. The tanning salon may seem tempting right about now, but are you aware of the health risks associated with tanning beds? Regular use of tanning beds triples or even quadruples the risk of developing melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. Despite restrictive public health laws, about 30 million people continue to go tanning every year, about 70 percent of whom are young women.

According to the New York State Department of Health, the health risks associated with indoor tanning include:

  • Skin cancer
  • Burns and injury to the skin and eyes
  • Premature aging of the skin
  • Allergic reactions
  • Worsen existing medical conditions
  • Immune suppression

Factors that put you at increased risk for developing skin cancer:

  • Lighter natural skin
  • Family or personal history of skin cancer
  • History of sunburn early in life
  • Skin that burns, freckles, reddens easily, or is painful in the sun
  • Blue or green eyes and blond or red hair
  • Certain types and/or a large number of moles

According to research, there is no such thing as a safe tanning device. The International Agency for Research on Cancer shifted indoor tanning devices to the highest cancer risk category: “carcinogenic to humans.” (They were formerly classified as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”).

Skin cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer. Protect yourself by avoiding indoor tanning and always wearing sunscreen when there is a risk for exposure to UVA/UVB rays.

Have Yourself A Flu-Free Winter

Hello and welcome/welcome back to Dowling College,

As the Spring semester gets underway, we are also entering the peak of the flu season. The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the “seasonal flu season” in the United States can begin as early as October and last as late as May. The CDC recommends taking the following three actions to protect yourself against the flu:

  1. Take time to get a flu vaccine.
    • CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses.
    • Everyone who is at least 6 months of age should get a flu vaccine this season.
    • Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. You will still be at risk for the flu during this time, so it is important to take additional measures to prevent the flu.
    • There is a possibility that you can still get the flu even if you got vaccinated. The ability of flu vaccine to protect a person depends on various factors, so it is important that you follow everyday preventive actions to protect yourself against the flu.
    • Visit the CDC’s key facts sheet to learn more information about the 2013-2014 flu vaccine.
  2. Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs.
    • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
    • Clean and disinfect surfaces that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.
    • If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or other necessities.
    • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to prevent from infecting them.
    • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  3. Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.
    • If you get the flu, antiviral drugs can treat your illness.

Now that you know the way to a flu-free winter, it is important to know the signs and symptoms of the flu, so that you can seek appropriate medical attention:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills (not everyone with the flu will have a fever)
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea and vomiting

Now that you have learned about flu prevention, test your flu knowledge with the Flu I.Q. Widget (scroll to the bottom of the website and you will find the widget)!

Emergency Blood Drive

For the awareness of the Dowling College community:

Due to the inclement weather, Long Island Blood Services (the L.I. division of New York Blood Center) is in short supply of blood for local hospitals. The most recent snow storm caused over 30 blood drive cancellations, costing the New York Blood Center nearly 1,400 units of blood. The following press release was sent out by New York Blood Center in hopes to make-up for the units lost due to the weather:

Our Community Blood Supply Needs Help to Recover from Snow Storm

Dozens of Blood Drives Cancelled

January 22, 2014 / New York, NY — New York Blood Center (NYBC) serving more than 20 million people in New York City, Long Island, the Hudson Valley, and New Jersey, is asking the public to roll up its sleeves and donate to make up for blood drives which had to be cancelled because of the snowstorm.

“This surprise snowstorm forced the cancellation of more than 35 blood drives, which translates to about 1,400 units of blood,” said NYBC Vice President Rob Purvis.  “We’re confident of our ability to continue providing our partner hospitals with whatever they need, but we need some help to get back on track.”

Blood is traditionally in short supply during the winter months due to the holidays, travel schedules, inclement weather and illness.  Approximately 25% of regional blood collection comes from high schools and colleges, which are especially vulnerable to weather-related closures and cancellations.

The need for blood is constant, whatever the weather.  The shelf life of platelets is only five days; the shelf life of red blood cells is 42 days.  About one in seven people entering a hospital needs blood.

Dowling College has responded to the call for help by organizing an Emergency Blood Drive on Tuesday, January 28, 2014. Please read on for more information about the upcoming emergency blood drive.

Dowling College Emergency Blood Drive
Date: Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Time: 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Location: Bus-mobile in Fortunoff Hall parking lot


(Tickets will be mailed to the donor’s home.)

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Bring ID with signature or photo.
  • Minimum weight 110 lbs.
  • Age 16 – 75 (16 year olds must have parental permission.
  • Age 76 and over need doctor’s note)
  • Eat well (low fat) & drink fluids
  • No tattoos for past 12 months
  • For questions regarding medical eligibility, call 1-800-688-0900.

For more information, please contact the Health Services office at 631-244-3340 and check the events calendar on our blog.

Please seriously consider donating blood, as our community blood supply is experiencing a severe shortage. Your donation can save up to THREE lives. Our hospitals need your help.

Stay safe and warm,

Dowling College Health Services

How to Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions

Hello and Happy 2014!

It’s a new year, which means new resolutions have been made. I’d like to share an encouraging video with you all, that will hopefully inspire and motivate you to stick to your New Year’s resolutions (or to make some…it’s not too late).

We all have the capacity to make a change. And, as Dr. Evans mentions, there are actions that you can take to make change easier:

  • Choose easier goals to move forward with small wins
  • Leverage the moments when your will-power is high, so that you are prepared for the moments when your impulse control is low
  • Be more mindful about your behavior, especially during moments when you are making decisions
  • Experiment with different ways to make it easier to follow through on your intentions

What New Year’s resolutions have you made for the coming year? How do you plan on making your resolutions successful? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Healthy Holiday Substitutions

Have the holiday cravings started already? We all know that cravings can get the best of us during the holiday season. Not to worry, because we are here to provide you with some healthy holiday substitutions that will leave you feeling satisfied, not deprived.

If You’re Craving… Choose This Instead…
Spinach dip with chips

Fried crab cakes

Shortbread cookie with frosting

Almond M&M’s

Cherry cordials


Honey baked ham

Sweet potato casserole

Green bean casserole

Pecan or apple pie a la mode

Cheese & crackers

Butter roll or croissant


White-bread stuffing

Vegetables with Hummus

Shrimp Cocktail

Spritz cookie with sprinkles

Cocoa roasted almonds

Chocolate dipped strawberry

Low fat or light eggnog

Honey roasted turkey breast

Baked sweet potato

Roasted vegetables

Pumpkin pie

Popcorn with Parmesan cheese

Whole-wheat dinner roll

1 ounce dark chocolate

Wild rice or brown rice

Simple healthy substitutions can help satisfy your cravings without tipping the calorie scale. Use these ideas to come up with your own substitutions and you are well on your way to a healthier, lower-calorie holiday!