Sa'Brielle Robinson

Sa'Brielle Robinson has written 4 posts for The Digital Bullpen

Children’s disease catches adult by surprise

Small red spots on the hands and feet, a sore throat and a fever over 100 degrees are the symptoms Juan Carlos experienced due to a mysterious illness he caught.

“I was at work and my hands started to itch and they felt like ant bites and a few days later I noticed red spots all over my hands,” Carlos said.

Carlos caught a viral infection that is common among children known as hand-foot-and-mouth disease. The disease causes sores to appear on the hands, feet and the mouth of the person who has contracted it.

Although Carlos experienced the different symptoms that go along with the virus, he still could not pinpoint what it was.

“Once the red spots started to appear I knew something wasn’t right because I knew I didn’t put my hands in any ant piles,” Carlos said.

Carlos, a student at Hillsborough Community College who manages a Sonic Drive-in, does not have any children, so it was weird to him that he caught a children’s disease.

He says that he probably caught the virus from either an employee or a classmate who has children. When Carlos noticed the abnormal changes he was going through, he ran to his wife Gloria Mendez to ask her what he should do.

“When he came to me I was freaked out and didn’t want to touch it so I immediately took him to the doctor,” Mendez said.

Once the two arrived at the clinic, Carlos explained to the nurse practitioner the symptoms he was experiencing and the cold that he had before the symptoms occurred. Carlos was tested for strep throat, but the results were negative. The nurse informed Carlos and his wife that he may have hand-foot and mouth disease.

Unfortunately for Carlos the disease is incurable and usually lasts a week and was told he would have to wait it out, but Mendez didn’t want this illness to get the best of her husband.

“At that moment I went to the drug store and bought Benadryl, Aveeno lotion, Tylenol and oatmeal body washes and cortisone,” Mendez said.

Mendez’s love for her husband was put to the test, once he began to experience the serious stages of the illness. She says her husband drove her crazy for seven days.

“He had a list of all the different medications he needed to take and what time he needed to take them, and he called my phone consistently each time,” Mendez said.

Mendez says that while her husband was sick she felt as if the two were back in the dating stages because she didn’t get close to him one time.

“I didn’t kiss him for two weeks straight , at times he wanted to kiss me but I told him I can’t get sick too because I have to work,” Mendez said.

Although her husband’s illness created a lot of germs, Mendez made sure her house was germ free.

“Lysol was my best friend, I would spray it throughout my house and washed my sheets every night,” Mendez said.

Throughout her husband’s sickness Mendez stayed by his side, day in and day out.

“Regardless that my husband’s condition was contagious, when I married him it was through sickness and health. So if he was going down I was going down with him,” Mendez said

Carlos is now experiencing the healing stages of the illness and plans to see a doctor in the next few days.

USF’s counseling center there for students who need help

The University of South Florida’s Counseling Center is geared to help students deal with any issues they may have. The Counseling Center has licensed counselors who are trained to help students with stress, relationship problems, and the list goes on. Here, the center’s receptionist, Diana Cano, assists a USF student to a counselor.


Are you getting any?

Ralph Copeland, a student at the University of South Florida, can’t remember the last time he slept for a full eight hours.

Copeland juggles school, work and his fraternity, lessening the amount of time he sleeps per night.

“Not getting enough sleep is starting to catch up with me,” Copeland said. “I tend to find myself falling asleep in class. I don’t have enough energy when I work out and I am always cranky and moody. Because of this, I am hooked on Red Bull and five hour energy drinks. Each night I may only sleep 3-4 hours, and if I’m lucky I can squeeze in a 30-minute power nap during the day.”

According to Lani Steffens, USF’s Mental Health Promotion Specialist, college students are among the most sleep deprived groups in the country.

A survey held by the USF Counseling Center found that having problems sleeping is the third most common reason students visit the Counseling Center. The survey also found that about 53 percent of those students report not being able to sleep.

Steffens is a part of Wellness USF, a marketing group that consists of five departments within the university. The group works together to promote wellness education among the student population. Their most recent promotion was educating students on the importance of sleep.

“Are you getting any?” was the name of the message campaign held by Wellness USF.

“We wanted to remind students that you need to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night,” Steffens said. “Sleep is one of the first things people dismiss because of the time crunch, but it’s one of the most important things you can do to keep yourself well.”

Not getting enough sleep, also known as chronic sleep deprivation, consists of the same symptoms as Attention Deficit Disorder. “It connects because people are having trouble focusing, they find trouble focusing, they tend to be jittery, they may be restless but that tends to happen when you don’t get enough sleep and your brain doesn’t function,” Steffens said.

Steffens said the most common problems that result from not getting enough sleep are: drinking caffeine energy drinks, relationship problems, depression, not exercising and staying up late.

“Go to bed at an appropriate time, use your bed only for sleep and to have sex, make sure your room is at a cool temperature and also you can try taking a hot bath,” Steffens said.

The USF Counseling Center plans to hold a workshop next semester geared towards educating students on the importance of sleep.

USF Counseling Center helps students deal with stress

Balancing a social life, work and family can overwhelm college students and can lead to stress if the balance is not managed correctly.

Students like Curtis Deretter, a University of South Florida graduate student, said his life is like a roller coaster.

“From running student organizations, making decisions about what to do after grad school and keeping up with my students,” he said, “I am just stressed out.”

Deretter said in addition to his school schedule he also tries to keep his family and friends happy during the times he can spend with them.

“People have expectations of you and if you don’t meet them then it causes problems,” he said. “Trying to keep everyone happy is hard to do.”

Deretter is attempting to manage his stress level by attending weekly workshops offered by USF’s Counseling Center on how to deal with stress.

Lani Steffens, USF’s Mental Health Promotions Specialist, said according to a national survey conducted by USF’s Wellness Center, more than 50 percent of students are feeling overwhelmed with college and in the past two weeks 50 percent have felt stressed.

Steffens works with the Counseling Center to promote its weekly stress coping sessions.

“These sessions are a way to help the students feel less stressed, how to learn about stress in general and teach different ways to feel relaxed,” Steffens said.

Susan P. Phillips, a USF counselor, led Thursday’s stress management workshop. She began by asking the students to tell what things make them stressed.

“Figure out how you know you’re stressed, how do you experience stress,” Phillips said.

Stress can start when acknowledging responsibilities and figuring a way to deal with each. Maintaining a balance is important because the stress levels can increase.

Phillips discussed different stress management techniques. One in particular was time management by making an attainable schedule and prioritizing goals. Phillips also said “me time” is important.

“Me time is good selfish time for you. It can involve doing whatever it is you like to do to cope with stress,” Phillips said.

She said when others ask for favors, learn how to say “no” assertively.

Phillips said other techniques are breathing exercises, meditation and relaxation exercises. Phillips ended the session with relaxation and breathing exercises to give the group an idea of how to perform the exercises on their own.

“Relaxing your body allows everything to slow down, even the blood flow,” she said.

The Counseling Center offers the stress management workshop every Monday and Thursday from noon to 1 p.m.

“You have much more productivity by attending a workshop,” Phillips said.

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