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Read his inspirational fitness transformation story and meal prep tips. Motivational before and after success stories from men and women who hit their weight loss goals with training and dedication. | TheWeighWeWere.com Source by theweighwewere

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Lack of Sleep Could Be Doing This to Your Heart

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We’ve all pulled the occasional all-nighter without a second-thought about what might happen to our bodies in the process. Our friends at Shape Magazine share their findings about lack of sleep’s health consequences.

What do new moms, college students, paramedics, and ER docs all have in common (besides having to deal with puke on a regular basis)? They all routinely need to make it through the day on no or very little sleep. And while no one thinks pulling an all-nighter is good for your health, there’s actual evidence that it hurts your heart.

Getting less than three hours of sleep during a 24-hour period causes immediate heart problems, according to a new study presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America. Researchers looked at 20 healthy adults, testing their hearts before and after they worked a 24-hour shift during which they weren’t allowed to drink coffee, take caffeine, or eat anything that might have a stimulant effect, including nuts and chocolate (possibly the hardest 24 hours ever). After missing just one night of sleep, people’s hearts showed signs of increased strain, they had increased blood pressure, and their heart rates were elevated — all warning signs of cardiovascular problems. The researchers also found increased levels of thyroid hormones and cortisol, indicating high levels of stress, another known contributor to heart disease.

The results clearly showed that working when you should be sleeping takes a short-term toll on your heart, said study author Daniel Kuetting, M.D., of the Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology at the University of Bonn in a press release. But, he added, more research needs to be done to see how long the negative effects last and how much sleep it takes to return to normal. It makes sense, however, that repeatedly skipping sleep would set you up for ongoing health problems, especially when done the way most people do it in the real world — with gallons of coffee, diet soda, or other stimulants, which make the heart work even harder.

Bottom line? When in doubt, sleep it out. And if your job (or kid) requires you to be up all night, try to do it as infrequently as possible and make sure you’re doing other things to keep your ticker in top shape, like exercising and eating a heart-healthy diet. (Try these Top 20 Best Foods For Your Heart!)

More from our friends at Shape Magazine:

15 Toppings and Ingredients That Boost Your Smoothie Bowl
Pulling Just 1 All-Nighter Might Have Some Serious Health Consequences
Workleisure: Activewear You Can Actually Wear to the Office

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Even Optimists Tend to Expect the Worst

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Even if you consider yourself to be pretty upbeat, it’s easy to get caught up in feelings of dread as you wait to hear about uncertain news. As the moment of truth draws nearer, people often find themselves increasingly convinced that bad results are ahead.

These emotions may feel stressful and unhealthy, but a new study suggests they’re totally normal. In fact, this instinct to brace for the worst can actually be protective and serve as a buffer against potentially bad news, say researchers from the University of California Riverside.

In previous studies, it’s been recognized that, as individuals wait for their respective results, students become increasingly convinced they’ve failed an exam, patients become increasingly convinced they have a terrible disease, and voters become increasingly convinced that their candidate will lose an election.

RELATED: Optimism Can Help You Live Longer

Kate Sweeny, Ph.D., a psychology professor at UC Riverside, wanted to see if this was true of optimists and pessimists alike. “Intuition might suggest that some people are more likely to brace than others,” Sweeny said in a press release. “In particular, happy-go-lucky optimists would seem immune to the anxiety and second-guessing that typically arise as the decisive moment draws near.”

So she and her co-author performed nine different experiments in their lab and in real-life settings. Some involved college students anticipating rankings of their attractiveness from peers, for example, while others involved law-school graduates awaiting the results of their bar exams. All participants answered questions beforehand to determine their natural disposition.

The researchers’ findings, published in the Journal of Personality, were “counter to intuition,” Sweeny said. “Optimists were not immune to feeling a rise in pessimism at the moment of truth. In fact, not a single study showed a difference between optimists and pessimists in their tendency to brace for the worst.”

RELATED: Happy People Make Their Spouses Happier

There was a difference, unsurprisingly, in overall predictions: Optimists started out with more positive expectations than pessimists. But everyone in the study tended to shift those expectations downward over time.

This may be because not getting one’s hopes up can be a natural defense. “If you expect the worst, you can lessen feelings of shock and disappointment if things don’t go as you hoped,” Sweeny told RealSimple.com, “and you’ll be pleasantly surprised if they do.”

So if you feel down right before a big announcement, Sweeny says you shouldn’t necessarily fight those feelings. Rather, she says, we should all try to be more like the optimists in this study, and save our pessimism for these strategic moments.

“It’s generally good to be optimistic about the future,” she says. “Optimists are happier and healthier in lots of different ways, and it’s true that worrying too much or for too long can lead to anxiety and rumination. But in these final moments before you get big news, optimism can be really treacherous.”

In other words, she says, making sure you’ve done everything you can to ensure your chances of success—and then putting off your worries until those final moments—may be the best balance you can strike. And if you do feel like the world’s about to end while you wait, take heart in knowing that that’s normal, too.

This article originally appeared on RealSimple.com.

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Health and fitness with Tiffiny Hall

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KIck-start the New Year with some fresh inspiration from our January 2017 cover model Tiffiny Hall. We chat to her about all things health, fitness and motivation.

ON THE MEANING OF FITNESS:

The meaning of fitness for me is, well, fitness with meaning. You have to train with purpose. W eight loss and changing body shape isn’t enough because weight comes and goes and body parts come in and out of fashion, like round bums. The deeper the meaning, the more powerful the motivation. For me, I train to be healthy, to live longer, to be the best I can be for my husband, to keep mentally and emotionally well and balanced and now that I’m at the age where I’m starting to think about kids, I’m training to be fit for pregnancy.

ON HEALTH AND FITNESS MISTAKES

I’ve tried every fad diet out there. I’ve experimented on my body in so many ways, always seeking the magic fix that I could pass on to my students or clients, but diet after diet, I was always let down. Nothing works, except hard work. All my years in health and fitness tell me the key is to train the mind and the mind will train the body. Trying to remedy the body first never works, or it may work but only short term. I see so many women hating themselves, hating themselves slimmer, punishing themselves, feeling guilty. I’ve learned that you can’t hate yourself healthy, you have to love yourself healthier. Self-love is sustainable, self-loathing is not. It’s only when I began to truly accept myself, respect myself and ditch the diets that I’ve found consistency, balance and inner harmony. That’s why I love the kiss and the hug, and created TIFFXO. Embracing self-love will heal and transform you. It’s about throwing out the all-or-nothing attitude, and the toxic thought patterns of ‘I’ll be happy when I reach…’, ‘I don’t deserve this’. Learn to give yourself a cuddle, forgive and move forward.

ON FITNESS/HEALTH/NUTRITION MYTHS

Food fashion, fads, myths – I’ve just had it with them! My clients always say to me, “But I’ve tried everything.”

My response is always, “Have you tried one thing consistently, for 30 days?”

There is no magic. The magic is in you. Own your power, eat well, train consistently and have fun doing it and learn to zen. If you do this every day, your body will thank you and be in the best shape of its life! You are the gift to your body. We have to stop seeking outward illusions and realise that the power is in us.

ON WORKOUT MOTIVATION

There are tricks that can help us find our mojo, but what makes motivation stick is creating a habit, just like taking a shower or a good probiotic every single day. Some days you feel it – hell, yeah! Some days you don’t – ah, well it has to be done anyway because you know you will feel phenomenal afterwards, and nobody has ever regretted a healthy meal or a workout. So for 30 days stick to something, give it meaning, make it realistic and be disciplined (sorry to use that boring word but it really does work). Motivation will get you there, but habits keep you going. I train every single day in some way, be it a stretch session or taekwondo, HIIT or tone…every day I move because I feel emotionally and mentally better for it.

Read Tiffiny’s full cover story in the January 2017 edition of Women’s Health and Fitness Magazine.

In need of some more inspiraiton? Head to our motivational section for more. 

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4 Ways Feeling Grateful Can Improve Your Life

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Fill your marriage with gratitude: It’s been shown to boost commitment.

Showing appreciation, counting your blessings—whatever you call it, gratitude is a key component of physical and emotional well-being. In fact, feeling thankful translated to better mood, higher sleep quality, and reduced inflammation in heart-failure patients, according to a new study published by the American Psychological Association. And day-to-day perks like these make the habit all the more worth it.

RELATED: 9 Ways Gratitude Can Make You Happier, Fitter, and Richer

It improves your week

Try jotting down those “Hooray!” moments as you go through your day. A study from gratitude expert Robert Emmons, PhD, showed that people who kept weekly gratitude journals were more optimistic and happier overall than folks who recorded hassles or uneventful happenings.

It tightens our bonds

When college students who were mentoring high schoolers received a handwritten thank-you note from their mentee, they rated the mentee as having a warmer personality, found a 2015 study in Emotion. And they were more apt to give the high schooler their contact information.

RELATED: This Is the Secret to a Long and Happy Marriage, According to Research

It makes you resilient

Undergrad students who expressed gratitude—by thanking others, for example—tended to have higher self-esteem and, in turn, appeared less vulnerable to depression or hopelessness, according to 2015 research published in the Scandinavian Journal of Psychology.

It bolsters your patience

In a study published in Psychological Science, participants who were asked to recall a time they felt grateful, then choose between getting a smaller monetary reward soon or a bigger one later, were more willing to wait for the bigger payout than those who didn’t think thankful thoughts.

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E-Cigarettes to Be Regulated as Tobacco Products

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E-cigarettes will be regulated as tobacco products, federal authorities announced on Thursday.

In a long-awaited ruling, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalized rules that give the agency authority to regulate all tobacco products including e-cigarettes, cigars, hookah tobacco and pipe tobacco, as well as other products. Until now, e-cigarettes were not regulated by the FDA and there was no national law to prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes,hookah tobacco or cigars to people under 18.

The actions being taken today will help the FDA prevent misleading claims by tobacco product manufacturers, evaluate the ingredients of tobacco products and how they are made, as well as communicate their potential risks,” the agency said in a statement.

The new rule means the agency will have to approve all products that made it to market as of Feb. 15, 2007—a point at which the e-cigarette market was virtually non-existent. “What we know is absence of federal restriction means that enforcement is uneven and at times nonexistent,” HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell said during a news conference.

The risks of e-cigarettes has been a public health debate for some time and the FDA initially announced its proposal to increase its jurisdiction in 2014. The HHS and FDA said on Tuesday that surveys show 1 in 4 high school students and 1 in 13 middle schoolers report being tobacco users. 16% of high schoolers also reported using cigarettes in 2015, a 900% increase from 1.5% in 2011. While e-cigarettes do not contain the same carcinogens as traditional cigarettes, they do contain nicotine, which is addictive. Early research has also cast doubt on the safety of some of the chemicals used inE-cigarettes when inhaled into the lungs.

Small and medium sized e-cigarette companies have responded to the news with concerns that undergoing the new approval process will be costly. “This gigantic price tag is affordable to Big Tobacco companies, but small and medium-sized businesses will be crushed,” said Gregory Conley, President of the American Vaping Association. “If the FDA’s rule is not changed by Congress or the courts, thousands of small businesses will close in two to three years.”

Burwell addressed these concerns during a news conference with reporters, saying the agencies understand the concerns small businesses will have, and that the FDA will allow them to have more time to comply.

The FDA says after 90 days they will begin enforcing portion of the rule that says the products cannot be sold to people under 18. This rule also requires ID to purchase tobaccos products and bans sales in vending machines as well as free samples

The health of the nation will continue to suffer the consequences of any further delay in implementing a law intended to protect public health,”Chris Hansen, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, said in a statement.

This article originally appeared on Time.com.

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Spending Money on Experiences Makes You a Better Person 

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You’ve probably heard about the health benefits of practicing gratitude—how it can boost your mood, help you treat others better, improve physical health, and keep stress and fear at bay. Now, here’s a little trick for how to automatically infuse more gratitude into your life: Spend more money on experiences, and less on material objects.

“Think about how you feel when you come home from buying something new,” Thomas Gilovich, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Cornell University and co-author a new study on gratitude, said in a press release. “You might say, ‘this new couch is cool,’ but you're less likely to say ‘I’m so grateful for that set of shelves.’”

“But when you come home from a vacation, you are likely to say, ‘I feel so blessed I got to go,’” he continued. “People say positive things ab­­­­out the stuff they bought, but they don't usually express gratitude for it—or they don't express it as often as they do for their experiences.”

Gilovich’s new study shows that people not only express more gratitude about events and experiences than they do about objects; it also found that this kind of gratitude results in more generous behavior toward others.

To examine these patterns, Gilovich and his colleagues looked at 1,200 online customer reviews—half for purchases made for the sake of doing (like restaurant meals, show tickets, or vacations), and half for purchase made for the sake of having (like furniture, jewelry, and clothing). They weren’t surprised to find that reviewers were more likely to bring up gratitude in posts about the former than the latter.

“People tend to be more inspired to comment on their feelings of gratitude when they reflect on the trips they took, the venues they visited, or the meals they ate than when they reflect on the gadgets, furniture, or clothes they bought,” the authors wrote in the journal Emotion.

First author Jesse Walker, a psychology graduate student at Cornell, says that experiential purchases may elicit more gratitude because they don’t trigger as many social comparisons as material possessions do. In other words, experiences may foster an appreciation of one’s own circumstances, rather than feelings of falling short or trying to measure up to someone else’s.

The researchers also performed several experiments with either college students or adults recruited from an online database. In one experiment, 297 participants were asked to think about a recent purchase over $100, either experiential and material. When asked how grateful they were for that purchase on a scale of 1 to 9, the experiential group reported higher scores (an average of 7.36) than the material-possessions group (average 6.91).

In a similar experiment, participants also said that the experiential purchase made them happier than the material one, and represented money better spent—findings that echo previous research on this topic.

Finally, the researchers performed two exercises to determine how purchase-related gratitude might affect how people behave toward others. In both, participants were asked to think for a few minutes about a meaningful purchase, either experiential or material. A few minutes later, they were given a seemingly unrelated task of dividing $10 between themselves and an anonymous recipient.

Which group was more charitable? Those who had been tasked with remembering an experience or event gave away about $1 to $2 more, on average, than the material group.

Co-author Amit Kumar, Ph.D., a researcher at the University of Chicago, says that this link between gratitude and altruistic behavior “suggests that the benefits of experiential consumption apply not only to the consumers of those purchases themselves, but to others in their orbit as well.”

These findings can certainly apply to individuals looking to be more grateful in their everyday lives, Gilovich says, but they may have implications for communities and governments, as well.

"If public policy encouraged people to consume experiences rather than spending money on things, it would increase their gratitude and happiness and make them more generous as well," he says. Funding organizations that provide these experiences—such as public parks, museums and performance spaces—could be a good start, he adds.

If you’re looking to express more gratitude as you spend time with family, shop for gifts, and juggle your packed schedule this upcoming holiday season, you can keep the researchers’ advice in mind.

“All one needs to do is spend a little less on material goods and a little more on experiences,” the wrote in their paper. “In addition to enhancing gratitude, experiential consumption may also increase the likelihood that people will cooperate and show kindness to each other.”

 

This article originally appeared on RealSimple.com.

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How You Feel About Facebook Likes Says Something About Your Personality

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Do you feel a rush every time a Facebook photo or status update gets a new "like" (and a little depressed when your posts are ignored)? The way you answer that question may reveal a part of your personality: people with a true sense of purpose are less likely to be emotionally affected by social media likes than those without, according to a new Cornell University study.

“Purposeful people noticed the positive feedback, but did not rely on it to feel good about themselves,” says Anthony Burrow, PhD, co-author of the study and assistant professor of human development at Cornell University.

Writing in the Journal of Experimental and Social Psychology, Burrow and his co-author define a sense of purpose as a “self-organizing life aim that organizes and stimulates goals, manages behaviors, and provides a sense of meaning.” People with a strong sense of purpose tend to agree with statements such as “To me, all the things I do are worthwhile” and “I have lots of reasons for living.”

To see how people’s online lives might be affected by their senses of purpose, the researchers conducted two experiments. They hypothesized that those with stronger senses of purpose would get less of a self-esteem rush from virtual likes, “because they are already guided by a sense of connection with, and service to, others.”

RELATED: Is Facebook Messing With Your Self-Esteem? Ask Yourself These 3 Questions

In the first study, they asked 250 active Facebook users from around the United States how many likes they typically got on photos they posted. People who usually got more thumbs-ups also tended to have higher self-esteem—but only among those who had low levels of purpose, based on a six-question test to measure “life engagement.”

For those who had higher levels of purpose, on the other hand, self-esteem remained the same, on average, regardless of how many likes they got.

In the second study, 100 Cornell University students were asked to post selfies to a mock social media site, and were then told that their photo had received either a high, low, or average number of likes. Again, getting a high number of likes was associated with higher self-esteem only among those with less purpose. For those who scored higher in purposefulness, number of likes had no effect on self-esteem.

This makes sense, says Burrow: Purposeful people have the ability to see themselves in the future, he explains, and act in ways that help them achieve their long-term goals. Therefore, they’re more immune to feelings of—or dependence on—immediate gratification.

RELATED: These Personality Traits Are Linked to a Healthier Sex Life

The findings highlight the protective effects that having a purpose can have on a person’s mental health, he adds. While it’s nice to receive compliments, online or otherwise, it shouldn’t be your main source of pride.

“Otherwise, on days when you receive few likes, you’ll feel worse,” he says. “Your self-esteem would be contingent on what other people say and think.”

Instead, he says, it’s healthier to find confidence in more permanent aspects of your self-worth. “You want to show up with rigidity: ‘I know who I am and I feel good about that.’”

Previous studies have been done on purposefulness and its role on health and self-esteem, but most have looked at it as a buffer against negative or stressful events. Research has suggested it may protect against heart disease and dementia, and may even help people live longer and take better care of themselves as they age.

But this is the first study to show that having a sense of purpose can also blunt the emotional impact of positive events, as well. This is an important part of the discussion, says Burrow, since staying even-keeled—through bad situations and good ones—may be more valuable to health and wellbeing, long-term. It may even help keep us from getting an inflated sense of confidence or reading too much into small victories.

“If a student takes a test, gets a great score, you don’t want him to get a big head and back off—you want him to keep working and do better,” he says. “Just like you want to acknowledge the bad things but not quit, you also want to be able to acknowledge the good things but not get carried away with celebrating.”

RELATED: The Mental Tricks Laurie Hernandez Uses to Summon Crazy Confidence

So how do you find your sense of purpose, if you don’t feel like your life is particularly worthwhile? There’s no solid research on what works best, but Burrow says that shifting your focus to the future—and really thinking about what you want that future to look like—is a good starting point.

It may also help, he says, to zero in on a hobby you’ve spent a lot of time on, a role model you’d like to emulate, or a moment in your life that’s had a big impact on you, positive or negative.

“In research where people are asked to nominate the source of their purpose, they tend to name one of these three things,” he says.

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Excessive Internet Use May Signal Other Mental Health Issues

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Young adults who spend excessive amounts of time online may have higher rates of depression, anxiety, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a new Canadian study. The research also suggests that Internet addiction may be widely under-reported, and that commonly accepted diagnostic criteria may need to be revised to keep up with the changing role of the Internet in our lives.

The study, presented at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) conference in Vienna, used two scales to evaluate Internet use: the commonly used and globally accepted Internet Addiction Test (IAT), and a newer scale designed by the authors.

The IAT was developed in 1998, before smartphones and tablets were such a prevalent part of society. “In addition, Internet use has changed radically over the last 18 years, through more people working online, media streaming, social media, etc.,” said lead author Michael Van Ameringen, MD, in a press release. Dr. Van Ameringen is a professor of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences at McMaster University.

RELATED: Parenting Against the Internet

“We were concerned that the IAT questionnaire may not have been picking up on problematic modern internet use,” he added, “or showing up false positives for people who were simply using the Internet rather than being over-reliant on it.”

So Dr. Van Ameringen and his colleagues recruited 254 college students and tested them for Internet addiction using both scales. They also asked the participants about their overall mental health and well-being.

According to the IAT, only 33 students met the criteria for Internet addiction. Based on the authors’ new questionnaire, however, 107 students—more than 40 percent—were considered to have problematic or addictive Internet use. (The latter number is closer to the results of another recent study, in which half of teens said they felt “addicted” to technology.) 

And when the researchers looked at how the Internet addicts by either set of criteria compared to the “normal” web users in several areas of mental health, they made some strong connections.

RELATED: Is Your Teen Suffering From an Internet Addiction?

“We found that those screening positive, on the IAT as well as on our scale, had significantly more trouble dealing with their day-to-day activities, including life at home, at work/school and in social settings,” Dr. Van Ameringen said. People with Internet addiction also had higher rates of depression and anxiety symptoms, problems with planning and time management, and higher levels of attentional impulsivity and ADHD symptoms.

“This leads us to a couple of questions,” said Dr. Van Ameringen: “Firstly, are we grossly underestimating the prevalence of Internet addiction and, secondly, are these other mental health issues a cause or consequence of this excessive reliance on the Internet?”

Larger clinical trials are needed to answer these questions, said Jan Buitelaar, MD, PhD, a member of an ECNP advisory panel on child and adolescent disorders, in the press release. But what’s clear, he added, is that large amounts of time spent online may disguise mild or severe mental health problems.

"Excessive use of the internet is an understudied phenomenon,” said Dr. Buitelaar, who is a professor of psychiatry at Radboud University in the Netherlands but was not involved in the study, adding that it “may be strongly linked to compulsive behaviour and addiction.”

RELATED: How the Internet Is Changing the Way We Think

The researchers hope that their research one day helps mental health professionals diagnose and treat patients more accurately and effectively. For example, therapists may need to keep in mind that unhealthy Internet behavior may be triggered by another condition, or vice versa.

“If you are trying to treat someone for an addiction when in fact they are anxious and depressed, then you may be going down the wrong route,” says Dr. Van Ameringen.

Of course, this isn’t the first time that excessive use of technology has been linked to emotional problems. Another recent study on college students—a group that’s known for its near-constant digital connectedness—found that problematic cell-phone use was associated with lower levels of trust, and higher levels of alienation, within students’ family and social networks. In fact, the researcher suggested that using phones to surf the Web and use social media—rather than text or talk directly with personal connections—could be, at least partially, to blame.

This article originally appeared on RealSimple.com.

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Why Is Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease Spreading at Florida State University?

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A viral infection known as hand, foot, and mouth disease is sickening students at Florida State University and other schools around the country. The illness—which spreads through contact with bodily fluids or contaminated surfaces—can cause a rash, fever, blisters in and around the mouth, and painful sores on the hands, feet, and buttocks.

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is usually seen in young children, and outbreaks are often linked to daycare centers. But in the last month, it’s been reported at high schools in Indiana, Vermont, and New Jersey.

The University of Colorado at Boulder also experienced several cases on campus in August. And NBC News reports Florida State University (FSU) has seen 22 cases so far this semester.

While hand, foot, and mouth disease can sound—and look—scary, it’s not usually dangerous, says Nadia Qureshi, MD, pediatric infectious disease specialist at Loyola Medicine in Maywood, Illinois. It can be quite uncomfortable, though, and usually lasts five to seven days. There’s no cure and no vaccine to prevent it, so the best treatment is staying hydrated and taking over-the-counter medicine for pain and fever.

The most common cause of hand, foot, and mouth disease is the coxsackievirus, which spreads just like the common cold or flu. Dr. Qureshi says that outbreaks among older children and adults are rare, but not entirely surprising.

“In the past couple of years we’ve seen a new strain of the virus that causes a more severe and more atypical presentation of symptoms, and it does affect children as well as adults,” she says. “And a college dorm is the perfect place for it to spread: People are touching doorknobs, sharing things, living in close proximity to each other, and it’s easy to pass the infection back and forth.”

RELATED: Health Hazards in College Dorms

The new strain, a natural evolution of the virus, tends to cause a more widespread rash and more painful blisters. But even this form rarely requires medical intervention, except in the case of very young children who have trouble swallowing because of painful blisters in their mouths. In very rare cases, says Dr. Qureshi, the coxsackievirus has been linked to serious brain or heart complications.

According to WCTU TV, FSU administration has speculated that the outbreak may be due to a sewage spill during the recent Hurricane Hermine, or to a related electricity outage that prohibited laundry from being done and allowed germs to spread. 

To help prevent new cases, FSU is sanitizing all public spaces on campus, and has advised all living facilities on campus to sanitize their residences, as well. They’ve also encouraged frequent hand washing and the use of hand sanitizers. (CU Boulder also warned students working in science labs that the coxsackievirus can be especially harmful to rodents, and urges them to take “extra care not to spread the disease.”)

Those are smart steps, says Dr. Qureshi. “If you want to avoid it, the most important thing to do is to wash your hands frequently with soap and water, avoid touching your face and your mouth as much as possible, and avoid close contact with someone who has it,” she says. People who’ve had hand, foot, and mouth disease as children don’t seem to have much immunity to the virus, she adds, especially to this relatively new strain.

RELATED: 6 Health Hacks Every College Freshman Should Know

People can continue to transmit the virus for several weeks after their symptoms are gone, she says, but only through saliva or fecal matter. “If you practice basic good hygiene and you no longer have a fever, you should be fine,” she says. “Just stay away from kissing and sharing cups for a while.”

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