Stay safe in social settings: Do it for YOU!

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Student Wellness Services

Student Wellness Services gives tips on how to stay safe around others.

Student Wellness Services

Student Wellness Services has highlighted recommendations pertaining to COVID-19 precautions, alcohol and other drugs, sexual health, friends and phone safety so that you can remain safe while still maintaining your social wellness. What will you add to your personal safety checklist?

COVID-19 Considerations for Social Gatherings

If you plan to get together with friends during COVID-19, it’s important to keep these COVID-19 considerations in mind.

Keep in mind risk levels of different settings (adapted from CDC guidance):

• Lowest risk: virtual-only activities (i.e. virtual happy hour, virtual game night)

• More risk: smaller, outdoor, and in-person gathering where attendees are wearing a face covering, are able to maintain physical distancing (6+ feet), are not sharing objects (drinks, water bottles, etc.) and come from the same geographic area

• Higher risk: medium-sized, in person gatherings that are not adapted to allow for physical distancing (6+ feet) and attendees come from different geographic areas

• Highest risk: large, in-person gatherings where it is difficult to practice physical distancing and attendees are from different geographic areas

• Avoid large gatherings, playing drinking games, sharing bottles/cups and sharing cannabis and tobacco products (i.e. vapes).

If hosting a get-together, limit it to only a few close friends and ask friends to not post on social media to avoid unwanted guests; join your friends outside; remind friends to bring and wear face masks; encourage physical distancing; and ask friends to stay home if they have symptoms, even if they’re minor.

  

Alcohol

If you choose not to include drinking in your weekend plans, you are not alone! In fact, one in three UNI students choose not to drink alcohol according to the 2020 National College Health Assessment.

If you plan to drink, maintain your buzz and avoid regrets/poor decisions by staying in your “sweet spot” (BAC of .05 or less)! Follow these sweet spot tips:

• Set a limit on how many standard drinks you will have and keep track. BAC calculators like the one found at alcohol.org/bac-calculator are great options to estimate where your BAC is so you can plan effectively.

• Pace drinks to one or less per hour.

• Choose drinks that contain less alcohol by volume.

• Eat a substantial meal before you go out and snack throughout the night.

• Keep in mind Iowa alcohol laws (alcohol only for 21+) and UNI policies: policies.uni.edu/1318

• Avoid mixing alcohol with other drugs (legal or illegal).

• Mixing alcohol and drugs could lead to dangerous reactions and increases your risk of alcohol overdose. In addition, alcohol can make a medication less effective or even useless, or it may make the medication toxic to your body.

• If you are taking a prescription medication, such as anti-anxiety or anti-depression drugs, alcohol may affect you differently than it has in the past. If you are planning to consume alcohol, make sure you first speak with your doctor to best understand how alcohol and your medication will interact.

• It’s difficult to know exactly how cannabis will affect you every time you use it. When mixed with alcohol, it may cause nausea, vomiting, panic, anxiety, paranoia or other psychotic symptoms, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

• Take the Alcohol eCHECKUP TO GO online assessment to receive personalized feedback about your alcohol use AND be entered to win a $25 Target gift card! Email a digital copy of your certificate of completion as an attachment to [email protected] by 11:59 p.m. on Oct., 30, 2020. Get started here: aodeducation.uni.edu.

• If you see the following signs of alcohol overdose, call 911 for help:

• Cold, clammy skin/pale or bluish skin

• Unconscious/semi-conscious

• Prolonged vomiting/very rapid or very slow pulse

• Slow, shallow or irregular breathing/seizures

Panthers take care of one another. We encourage students to seek medical or professional help for someone who needs it. In turn, students who seek medical assistance for themselves or another person, due to intoxication of alcohol and/or other drugs may not be held accountable through the student conduct process. The student(s) may be required to complete an educational sanction, but not further conduct action. Questions about the Good Samaritan Provision? Visit the Dean of Students Staff in Gilchrist 118 or call 319-273-2332.

Sexual Health

If you plan on engaging in sexual activity, make sure you think about your personal boundaries and the safety measures you will take, especially during COVID-19. Consider the following ideas to include in your sexual health safety checklist:

  • Get yourself tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) before engaging in sex with a new partner. The Student Health Clinic and off-campus community providers offer STI testing. For more information on free or low-cost confidential testing options, visit: studentwellness.uni.edu/get-yourself-tested
  •  Stock up on protection! Visit the Student Health Center lobby (any time between 8-4:30pm, M-F) to make a FREE safer sex kit (i.e. condoms, dental dams, lube, condom carrier cases).
  • Avoid mixing sex with alcohol and/or other drugs. When alcohol is involved, it’s difficult to make safe sexual health decisions. Partners are more likely to be careless when using a condom, causing it to break or slip, or they might have sex without using a condom.
  • Make consent your top priority by ensuring you and your partner(s) have a consensual conversation that is clear, coherent, willing, and ongoing. People incapacitated by drugs or alcohol cannot consent. Learn more about UNI’s Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct policy: safety.uni.edu
  • Take into account the following considerations regarding COVID-19 and sex:
  • Because COVID is a respiratory disease, it is easily spread through saliva. Kissing spreads the virus easily. Use barriers like condoms and dental dams to reduce the risk during oral sex.
  • While COVID-19 hasn’t been found in vaginal fluid, it has been found in fecal matter, which means rimming (oral/anal contact) and anal sex may spread COVID-19 as well. When rimming or having anal sex, make sure to use protective barriers (condoms and dental dams).
  • The safest sex you can have is with yourself and the next safest option is with someone that you already live with. Limit close contact, including sex, with people who are not in your home.
  • Take a break from in-person dates and opt for video-chatting or texting instead.
  • If you want to learn more about safer sex during COVID-19, visit ashasexualhealth.org/sex-in-the-time-of-covid-19/

Friends

Be extra intentional about who you surround yourself with in social settings. Consider these ideas as you select friends to spend your time with at UNI.

    • Keep an eye on your friends and agree to watch out for each other. Go out with a group of people you trust and leave with the group you came with!
    • Create a code word between you and your friends so that you can alert each other if anything feels off.
    • Be an active bystander and intervene if you notice someone who may be in a risky situation.
    • When using Uber or Lyft, download the app before you go out, make sure to ride with a group you trust, never ride alone, and do not share the ride service with people you do not know. Make sure you have your clean mask ready to wear in the vehicle!

Phone Safety

Phones can be your helpful sidekick in social settings if you use them wisely! Use these tips to ensure you’re using your phone most effectively and safely.

    • Always bring your phone fully-charged when you go out. Make sure someone you trust knows your plans so they can check in with you often.
    • Think twice about posting your location! Sharing too much information can put your safety at risk!
    • Update your phone contacts! Start a group chat to easily tell others where you’re going so they’ll know where you are at all times.

Whatever you decide, be intentional about creating your own personal safety checklist! What will you add to yours? #DoItForYou