By Haley Potter
College students sometimes face the stereotype of being reckless drinkers, but now that characterization has begun to trickle down to younger individuals.
A recent USA Today article reports that Los Angeles emergency rooms have had to deal with increasing numbers of teenagers drinking hand sanitizer in order to get drunk.
Possible dangers of hand sanitizer have long been a concern for children who might accidentally ingest it, but the distillation of 62% ethyl alcohol hand sanitizers using salt appears to be an extremely dangerous developing trendamong high school-aged students.
This is, of course, not the first alarming trend making news lately – risky behaviors such as the cinnamon challenge and the choking game have also been cause for concern, particularly among teens.
College students are not immune to their own alarming habits, and binge drinking is perhaps the most infamous.
Binge drinking is defined as when a person’s blood alcohol concentration is at 0.08 or higher, or about five drinks for men and four for women within two hours.
The CDC reports that 90% of the alcohol consumed by under-21-year-olds in the U.S. is in the form of binge drinking, which can lead to a number of health problems including alcohol poisoning.
Colleges have recently begun taking greater measures to prevent binge drinking among their students, however, and many student health centers now conduct high-risk alcohol use screeningsas part of their doctor visits.
Alcohol use, specifically beer drinking, can also have negative consequences for college students’ weight. Both increases in alcohol consumption and poor eating and exercise habits can lead to weight gain in the college years.
Outside of excessive alcohol consumption, college students are also guilty of other disturbing habits: A new study from the University of California, San Diego uncovered high rates of distracted driving among college students.
Seventy-eight percent of students reported driving while using a cell phone, and 50% admitted to texting while on the freeway. A mere 12% reported never texting while behind the wheel of a vehicle.
Texting while driving has been found to inhibit drivers’ ability to manage speed, lane position and reaction time. The danger of texting and driving has become apparent to legislators as well, with bans on texting in 37 states and prohibitions against any handheld cell phone use while driving in ten, plus Washington, D.C.
One of the less obvious risky behaviors that college students experience is sleep deprivation.
Research has shown that a lack of sleep can be detrimental to individuals’ physical and emotional health, which, for college students, is often compounded by regular alcohol and caffeine consumption and other unhealthy habits.
Sleep deprivation can also lead to forgetfulness, depression, weight gain, skin aging and cognitive dullness, all side effects which most college students would probably prefer to avoid.
And if these side effects aren’t incentive enough to kick your bad habits, consider your parents’ point of view: Studies show that college students are less likely to engage in risky behaviors if they are shouldering more of the financial burden of their education.
Discarding some of your bad habits might not just be good for your health, but good for your bank account as well.
Link to source: USA Today College