What Makes You Tick: Pest Causes Allergy to Red Meats

By Marisa Ross

Attention, carnivores: If you like chowing down on a nice T-bone steak or juicy hamburger, you might want to take some precautions the next time you dine near a woody area.

A recent incline in cases of lone star tick bites is causing concern for red meat lovers everywhere. The tick, which causes the rare allergy to meats like beef, lamb, goat and bison, was first discovered a few years ago, but there have been more reported allergies in the past few months, especially in the southeastern region of the U.S., including Florida.

So, if you’re planning on cozying up to a campfire as the temperatures drop this holiday season, learn some safety precautions about this critter and how to protect yourself from it.

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Image Courtesy of AFPMB

What is a lone star tick?

Named for the white spot on adult females’ backs and for its initial appearance in Texas, this tick is as small as a newspaper print “o” but can swell to a “0” when it feeds on blood, according to a UF entomologist.

How can it cause a red meat allergy?

These ticks contain a sugar called alpha-gal, which is also found in red meat. Humans do not produce this sugar. When the lone star tick bites them, the sugar is seen as a foreign contaminant, so the body’s immune system creates antibodies to fight it off. Therefore, it is difficult for future consumption of red meat. Researchers aren’t sure if the long-term effects are permanent, but they have linked these tick bites with mild to severe allergies.

What are the symptoms?

Reported symptoms range from mild redness and itchiness to hives and anaphylactic shock. Some people may even experience a reaction from proximity to smoke on a grill used for red meat. Other side effects include vomiting, diarrhea, a drop in blood pressure and trouble breathing. Ultimately, consumption of red meat with this tick-induced allergy can be fatal.

How can you protect yourself?

If you can’t avoid brush areas, make sure to wear clothing with full coverage. Spraying anything you plan to wear in wooded areas with permethrin, a type of insecticide available online and at pharmacies, will likely protect you against the pest. Besides wearing effective bug spray and layers, be aware of ticks when hiking, fishing or enjoying outdoor activities.

Baring It All: A Year in Review

By Rachel Kurland

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Image Courtesy of bdhq

This year’s trendsetting color: nude.

Some of pop culture’s favorite celebrities have bared it all — Jennifer Lawrence, Keira Knightley, Kim Kardashian. But why? They claim to do it for art or a societal statement, but a little research shows that it’s just for shameless self-promotion.

Some people, however, support their nakedness. The Guardian published an article encouraging the revealing breast movement:

“They’re making clear that their breasts, or lack thereof, are not public property — that our body parts are just that: one part of who we are and how we experience the world.”

But by posing for these photos and publishing them, they are in fact making their bodies public property — quite the opposite of the point trying to be made.

In my opinion, these celebrities do it for the publicity more than anything else. The media frenzies created by these bare-breasted women gives them more attention, which leads to an ever-so-cleverly planned movie or fashion line debut at the same time as their stripped snapshot.

Let’s take a closer look. Although Lawrence said the leaking of her personal nude photos was a “sex crime,” she posed nearly nude on the cover of Vanity Fair.

Knightley approved her topless photo shoot only if the photographers agreed that they would not Photoshop or retouch her for the sake of positive body image. What she didn’t say was that her new film “The Imitation Game” is coming to theaters soon, giving her some media attention right before her big premiere.

Kardashian just wanted to go for it, assuming her selfie game wasn’t strong enough. But four years ago, The Daily Beast disclosed that the star said she’s “never taking (her) clothes off again, even if it’s for Vogue.” Kardashian added, “I don’t want people to be like, ‘All she’s good for is, you know, being naked.’” And now, well, there’s the Paper Magazine (NSFW) photo that “broke the Internet.”

They each have their own personal gains that go against what they unveil to the public — even contradicting their own statements about self-respect.

These women should learn to respect their bodies and themselves. Positive body image is great to support, and if these celebrities or any other females are proud to flaunt what their momma’s gave them, all the more power to them. But what’s the point if the only thing these photos do is give people a reason to point and stare, criticize and gossip? These women are idolized — some are wives, mothers or role models for others. Is this the example the public should follow? Is taking your clothes off for the world to see the only way to have self-confidence?

Advertisements showing support for breast cancer awareness or a healthy body image, for example, at least do something positive for the public unlike sharing naked photos on Twitter. If you are going to promote a cause, actually do it for the cause, not self-promotion. In a time where young adults idolize female figures, they deserve role models with a purpose.

Celebrities should admit their true intentions and personal gains for posing nude and stop pretending that they’re doing it for a “good cause.”

Admit it ladies!

7 Tips to Combat the Holiday Blues

By Noelia Trujillo

For many, this season is colorful — bright lights adorning homes, adorable ornaments beautifying Christmas trees, alluring wrapping paper blanketing presents and festive foods galore.

I got my personal fix of these annual luxuries this week while decorating my home and tree with family. But then the worry began trickling in: What gifts should I buy? How many? Will people like them? How can I afford everything when I’m practically broke? I couldn’t help but feel anxious and wish I didn’t have to fork up so much green in the coming months.

Courtesy of Will Montague

Courtesy of Will Montague

Turns out, I’m not alone. Simply searching “holiday stress” online will result in numerous articles listing facts about the holiday blues and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Ronald Nathan, PhD, clinical professor at Albany Medical College in New York, told WebMD people tend to blame traffic, crowds and the pressure of consumption, but their biggest fault is in their unreasonable expectations.

What happened to ‘Tis the season to be jolly’? Instead of settling for seasonal blues this holiday season, try these seven tips to boost your mood:

Focus on physical health
It’s tempting to overindulge in holiday treats, especially when you’re stressed. Mayo Clinic suggests filling up on healthy snacks before holiday parties, getting lots of rest and doing physical exercise daily.

Sniff some citrus
Researchers found “citrus fragrances boost feelings of well-being and alleviate stress by upping levels of norepinephrine, a hormone that affects mood.”

Disconnect from technology
Texts, emails, phone calls and more can send adrenaline pumping and elevate stress during your holiday preparations. Take a technology or social media fast to focus on personal encounters and connections with family and friends.

Get rid of expectations
The holidays won’t be perfect or feel the same as when you were a child. Enjoy what you can with those you have around you, and don’t sweat the small stuff.

Seek the sunlight
When you’re feeling down, try to get at least 20 minutes of sunshine outdoors or near a window. It stimulates the production of feel-good serotonin and can combat SAD.

Give back to others
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, “In January 2014, 578,424 people were homeless on a given night.” While we stress about what gifts to buy or how to cook the perfect holiday meal, these individuals are living in shelters or on the street. Instead of worrying about our needs or wants, donate food, money, gifts or time to those in need.

Say I love you often
Seeing others light up at the sound of these sweet words is beautiful. There’s no better way to feel good than making others feel loved.

Wearing the Right Shade May Make You Popular With The Opposite Sex

By Meghan Pryce

The popular saying “men are from Mars and women are from Venus” may have some truth to it, especially regarding color.

A 2003 study shows that (surprise, surprise) men and women have different opinions when it comes to color preferences. About 230 people participated ages 15 to 81 participated. Thirty-eight percent were male, and 62 percent were female. Those surveyed were asked 28 questions, including their favorite and least favorite colors.

Courtesy of Capture Queen

Courtesy of Capture Queen

Women’s favorite color: Thirty-five percent of women indicated blue was their favorite color, followed by 23 percent for purple and 14 percent for green.

Men’s favorite color: Blue was the color of choice for 57 percent of men. Fourteen percent said green was their favorite color, and 7 percent preferred red.

Women’s least favorite color: Sorry to break it to you my fellow Gators, but 33 percent of women reported orange as their least favorite color. Twenty percent weren’t a fan of brown, and 17 percent didn’t like gray.

Men’s least favorite color: Twenty-seven percent of men listed brown as least preferred. Men seem to feel the same way women do about the color orange. Twenty-two percent indicated it was their least favorite color, and 22 percent said purple.

Men and women both like the color blue, but neither likes orange nor brown. Although none of the men surveyed chose purple as his favorite color, it was the second most popular color among the ladies.

Another study published by the American Psychological Association showed that women are more attracted to men in red. According to Psychology Today, half of the participants from a study were shown a picture of a man on a red background for five seconds. The other half saw the same image on a white background. The participants deemed the man on the red background more attractive. Findings from a different study by the same researchers showed that men are more sexually attracted to women dressed in red. These results aren’t too surprising because red is associated with passion and desire.

Next time you take a selfie for your Tinder profile picture, keep in mind which colors are preferred by the opposite sex. Maybe by simply swapping one colored shirt for another, that special someone will swipe right.

3 Colorful Study Tips for Finals Week

By Cara Chiaramonte

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Image Courtesy of Ron Doke

I’ve always thought of Thanksgiving break as a mean week put in place to tease us college students into thinking the semester is already over. I appreciate the holiday, of course, but it’s really hard to get back in the swing of things when there are only two weeks left in the semester. How are we supposed to study for finals when all we can think about is Mom’s Christmas ham or, in my case, graduation?

You spend your time writing notes or reading assigned texts, but do you ever actually look back to read the notes you’ve taken? Thankfully, color can help with that. Color-coding notes or study materials helps you remember details that may appear on your tests. These three study tips may help you pass your final exams with flying colors during the next few weeks (pun intended):

Use colored index cards.
Try using colored index cards, especially if you need to categorize important people or periods of time. For example, I learned about a couple types of feminists in my women’s studies course this semester. For liberal feminists, I use blue index cards. For radical feminists, I use red or pink index cards.

Spice up your notes with colored pens or highlighters.

Constantly using a black or blue pen can become dull, and it can get overwhelming if nothing stands out on the page. Separate points using different colored pens and/or highlight important details using a highlighter. I typically use colors like red, pink, green, orange and purple.

Don’t overdo it.
It’s important not to highlight everything because it won’t make anything stand out. Fast Company’s Kevin Purdy spoke to attorney Jennifer Phillips who said using too much color can “backfire.” Whenever she uses too much color, she’s unable to prioritize the important facts and finds herself rereading the material over and over again.

Good luck, Gators!

The Colors of the SEC

By Lauren Richardson

Photo by Lauren Richardson

Photo by Lauren Richardson

College football is like a religion in the South. Whether you’re gathered around the TV with your family or throwing back cold ones at a tailgate, you’ll most likely find football fans decked out in their teams’ colors and praying for a win on any given Saturday in the fall.

As a die-hard Florida Gators fan, I find myself dressed in orange and blue more often than not. We wear these colors out of pride and loyalty, but do we really know why we dress in these specific hues? The history of some Southeastern Conference colors is filled with rumor and opinion, but it’s fascinating to learn where these traditions began.
The University of Alabama: crimson and white.
The origin of Alabama’s colors is still a mystery. According to SEC Sports Fan, rumors suggest a woman named Mary Fearn didn’t know what to wear as a spectator at a competition. Alabama didn’t have official colors yet, but the competitors commonly wore black and gray. Fearn thought these colors were too boring, so she wore crimson. By 1892, the football team had adopted the color.

University of Arkansas: cardinal red and white.
Arkansas’ student body voted in 1895 for cardinal red as the official color over heliotrope, a pink-purple shade. According to SEC Sports Fan, white eventually followed as a secondary color, but black is also commonly associated with the university.

Auburn University: navy blue and burnt orange.
Multiple theories exist regarding the official color history. According to Auburn’s athletics website, one of the most popular theories involves Maria Allen Glenn. She was the third treasurer for Auburn and is credited with helping George Petrie form the football team in 1892. Before the team’s first game against Georgia, “Miss Allie” sewed an orange “A” on a navy sweater and presented it to Petrie. Another popular theory is that Petrie came up with the colors on the spot during an interview.

University of Florida: orange and blue.
The university adopted its colors in 1910. According to the university’s Registrar, the famous hues originated from the two schools that combined to form UF. Blue and white were the University of Florida at Lake City’s colors, and the East Florida Seminary in Gainesville had orange and black.

University of Georgia: red and black.
Georgia’s original colors were gold, crimson and black, according to SEC Sports Fan. In 1893, the team lost to the Georgia Institute of Technology 28-6. Embarrassed, head coach Charles Herty claimed the gold shade was too close to yellow, which is commonly associated with cowardice and removed it. Red eventually replaced crimson.

University of Kentucky: blue and white.
Students at Kentucky initially chose blue and light yellow to represent their school, according to UK’s website. When asked which shade of blue to use, football player Richard C. Stoll removed his tie and held it up. That shade was chosen. In 1892, students chose to replace the yellow with white.

Louisiana State University: purple and gold.
The most widely accepted theory claims the colors were worn for the first time by the baseball team in 1893. According to LSU’s website, football coach Charles Coates and some players wanted to add ribbon to their jerseys before their first game later that year. It was close to Mardi Gras, so stores had purple, gold and green in stock. The Reymond’s Store ran out of green, so the team bought all of the purple and gold.

University of Mississippi: Yale blue and Harvard crimson.
According to Ole Miss’ athletics website, Harvard crimson and Yale blue were suggested by a manager in the 1890s because “it was well to have the spirit of both of these good colleges.”

Mississippi State University: white and maroon.
In November 1895, the first football team was preparing to play Southern Baptist University, according to Mississippi State’s athletics website. Every college was supposed to have its own colors, so team captain W.M. Matthews chose maroon and white.

University of Missouri: black and gold.
The nickname “Tiger” was given to the university around 1890, according to Mizzou’s website. The university then adopted the colors of a Bengal tiger.

University of South Carolina: garnet and black.
According to the university website, Gamecock fans first wore garnet and black on Christmas Eve 1892. These colors have been associated with the school ever since.

University of Tennessee: orange, white and gray.
Orange was chosen as Tennessee’s signature color in honor of the orange daisies that grew on “The Hill” at the center of campus in the late 19th century, according to UT’s website. White and gray were later chosen as accent colors.

Texas A&M University: maroon and white.
Little is known about the history surrounding the Aggies’ maroon and white. According to Texas A&M’s website, the colors were chosen sometime before 1925 and have since been incorporated into the alma mater.

Vanderbilt University: black and gold.
The origin of Vandy’s colors is mostly unknown. According to SEC Sports Fan, some rumors claim black and orange were the original colors until the orange was simply replaced. Others say Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, the business magnate who the university is named after, chose the colors: black for his control of coal and gold for his money.

3 Gift Ideas for Even the Most Stubborn Gift-Receivers

By Nicole Germany

We’ve all probably had that one friend who’s seemingly impossible to shop for. We rack our brain for days trying to think of a great gift but always end up giving them a gift card. Instead of giving plastic this winter, put some more thought into your present. Get creative, get crafty and incorporate what they really like into something that will truly make them smile.

Think Food
Who doesn’t love something tasty in their tummies? Whether it’s chocolate or honey ham, you can’t go wrong with food. Think of a theme, and play off of it to spark some inspiration for multiple small gifts. For example, make a basket with two or three one-of-a-kind bottles of hot sauce, crackers, cheese and a choice of meat like salami for a lover of all things spicy. You may not be spending that much on the gift, but it shows you put a lot of thought into it.

Photo by Nicole Germany

Photo by Nicole Germany

Think Fun
As I said before, themes are your best friend! If you know anything about the person you’re shopping for, pick some of his or her favorite things and build off of that. If you have a friend who loves cats, get cat-related items like mugs, décor or T-shirts. Does your dad love to fish? Buy him all the essentials for railing in the biggest catch.

Photo by Nicole Germany

Photo by Nicole Germany

Think Outside the Box
When searching for the perfect gift, be open to something both useful and fun. Urban Outfitters has a page on its website dedicated to finding the perfect gift for your loved one. I found this fun pack of whisky cubes for $24 that cools drinks without diluting them. The store also has a wide range of iPhone accessories, such as a fish eye photo lens and a star projector that allows you to view the night sky indoors.

Photo by Nicole Germany

Photo by Nicole Germany

Even though the holiday season isn’t all about the gifts, shopping for the perfect present really does mean a lot more when some thought is put into it, and that is priceless.