Meds and alcohol a risky mix
By Maria Braganini
In the month of January, no matter if you live in the dorms or a kush loft above Taco Bell, 99 percent of the people you interact with are coughing, sneezing, runny nose -— sick. Which makes the odds of staying healthy not in your favor.
Most students, including myself, can only pencil in around six hours of sleep between morning class and the rest of my life. And my busy schedule doesn’t relax for the weekend, because there’s social aspects to college as well. No matter if I’m feeling drowsy or exhausted, I’m still going out when I want to go out.
It doesn’t matter the epidemic or weather outside, Spartans are going to want to go out and enjoy the green and white lifestyle. But that doesn’t mean you’re invincible and we shouldn’t be careful.
Mixing substances has become so common, we rhyme to keep it straight. “Weed before beer and you’re in the clear, beer before grass and you’re on your ass.” If that doesn’t sound familiar, how about this one – “Beer then liquor, never been sicker. Liquor then beer, have no fear.”
In order to keep up with the fast pace of East Lansing, it’s not uncommon for students who are under the weather to pop a few Tylenols with their morning coffee, take a swig of Robitussin with lunch, and Sudafed to keep going strong all night.
A two-birds-with-one-stone cocktail is sometimes something students don’t think twice about. The mix of alcohol and acetaminophen (Tylenol) or allergy and cold or flu meds, can cause serious liver damage. For almost all over-the-counter pain drugs, mixing alcohol brings on some risk of upset stomach, bleeding and ulcers and rapid heartbeat, the FDA says.
With prescription medication, your odds get riskier. According to the National Institute of Health fact sheet, mixing drugs with alcohol may also make you feel drowsy and dizzy, as well as experiencing slowed or difficulties breathing, impaired motor control, unusual behavior and problems with memory. Cough medicine like Robitussin mixed with codeine escalates to “serious or life-threatening side effects,” the NIH said.
For more serious illnesses that require a visit to Olin Health Center, the result of mixing antibiotics and alcohol might lead to fast heartbeat, sudden changes in blood pressure, stomach pain, vomiting, headache and liver damage, the NIH said.
College without partying sounds miserable. Half of the time, the only thing keeping you awake during your IAH or calculus class is the reassuring vision of you and your friends kicking it on the weekend.
Imagine hanging out with friends at Cedar Village on a Saturday night. Out of nowhere you have difficulty breathing, everything gets fuzzy and it’s hard to operate your body. On top of that, you are disoriented and experiencing memory problems.
What sounds like one of those dramatic alcohol awareness commercials on television just became your Saturday night.
If you have a runny nose or a small cough, maybe we can skip a few trips to Rick’s in order to benefit our minds — and livers — in the future.
Here’s some advice, hit the bars early. No, really! Rama at The Riv on a Thursday? As many of us already know, you can get your drinks in, a full meal, and be exhausted by 10 p.m.
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In between sniffles and Vitamin C tables, rethink about turning up on a Tuesday. According to the Mayo Clinic, alcohol can reduce your energy and make you take longer to recover from whatever bug that has you down.
If you’re celebrating a once in a lifetime birthday, think about taking holistic remedies like apple cider vinegar, a few drops of oregano oil, or a cup of ginger tea, instead of more traditional over-the-counter meds. Neti pot and eucalyptus oil can also help relieve sinuses symptoms.
The struggle is real. We all get sick at least once a year, and no matter our fever temperature, we don’t want to put off our weekend plans. If you’re dead set on going out, just watch what you consume. Otherwise take it easy, put on a pair of sweatpants and pick a Netflix series to binge watch.