Western Kentucky University

Introduction - Online Discussion - FaCET

Medical Issues In the Classroom

 

Introduction:

As a faculty member at WKU, you will come in contact with students who may have any one of a number of medical issues. These may be as simple as a cold, but may also include lengthier illness such as mononucleosis, pneumonia or the ‘flu. Additionally the students may have chronic medical conditions that affect their educational opportunities. A student who has asthma or migraine may have an acute episode. A student with seizures or diabetes may have an acute complication that requires urgent care. Students who suffer from mood disorders may be at risk for self-injury. What would you do in these situations and how would this affect your classroom?

Influenza

Mood disorders/Substance abuse

Diabetes

Seizures

 

Influenza

Influenza, the ‘flu, is a serious viral infection that typically occurs during the winter months. It tends to have a sudden onset, and can be spread from person to person through close contact. It can cause students to miss a week or more of classes. Knowing how to identify the infection, so that it can be treated early is key in preventing the spread of this disease

The “Flu” and the Avian flu are two different diseases There is much concern about a world wide outbreak (pandemic) of the Avian flu. The medical community is working hard to develop a vaccination against this.
This course will help faculty to understand the common symptoms of the ‘flu, and how to differentiate between the ‘flu and a cold. If the student receives early treatment, the course of the illness can be shortened and he/she will be able to return to classes sooner.

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Mood disorders/Substance abuse

There are many mood disorders that affect the WKU student population. These include, but are not limited to: depression, anxiety, stress, and alcohol and drug over use and abuse. These can show themselves in several ways. Students who have mood issues may withdraw socially, miss class, behave erratically, be disruptive, or they may attempt to harm themselves or others.

Depression and anxiety are very common conditions, especially in this age. College students who are away from home for the first time are at increased risk. This may lead them to use alcohol or drugs to relieve some of the tension they are experiencing. Alcohol over use and abuse is also socially sanctioned in some college situations.
A faculty member who is aware of the existence of these conditions can better educate his/her students. They may also be the only person who is willing to discuss this issue with the student.

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Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease that is affecting more and more people in the United States. It is also affecting younger people. Diabetes affects more than 20 million people in the U.S. Unfortunately, 1/3 of the people who have diabetes are unaware of it. Long-term uncontrolled diabetes can lead to strokes, heart attacks, blindness, loss of limbs and kidney failure.
Diabetes is the inability for your body to control its level of blood sugar (glucose). There are two types: In Type I, formerly called Juvenile Diabetes, the body fails to produce sufficient insulin. The pancreas, which is the organ that produces insulin, has failed. Type I Diabetes is believed to be an autoimmune disease, which means that the body has destroyed its own pancreas cells which produce the insulin. Type II diabetes, formerly referred to as Adult Onset Diabetes, develops when the body no longer responds to the insulin that has been produced. Type II is more likely to occur in later life, and it is greatly affected by lifestyle: diet, exercise and weight control. We are seeing an increase in the number of cases of Type II Diabetes because of the change in the American life style. We are also seeing Type II diabetes in overweight children.

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Seizures

Seizures are a form of a neurological disorder. The electrical system of the brain goes out of control and fires repeatedly. The characteristics of the seizure depend on what part of the brain is affected. There are two general classes of seizures: grand mal and petit mal (absences) seizures. While you might have a student who is having their first seizure, it is more likely that you will see a student with a previous history of seizure who is having a breakthrough.

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