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Raise your spring break game

A group of college-age students with backpacks and books run through a field cheering.

March 3 , 2019—It's almost spring break—at last! If you're a college student, you won't have classes, homework or semester finals to think about for a while. And you might be ready to blow off a little academic steam.

Whether you'll be going away for spring break or sticking close to campus, the following tips can help you have an awesome experience. They're based on expert advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Emergency Physicians.

Pick up memories, not germs. Getting sick can ruin a vacation fast. Wash your hands regularly to help keep germs away. If you're planning to travel, pack any medicines you normally use. And remember to bring proof of health insurance in case you need to see a doctor. Leaving the U.S.? Ask your doctor ahead of time if you need any vaccines before you go.

Keep up the good work. Yes, this is your time to relax. But don't totally ditch all the healthy habits you've made this school year. Make time for sleep, try to eat balanced meals, and take a pass on tobacco and drugs.

Remember YOLO. No, seriously. You only live once. So think twice before doing anything that could get you hurt or worse. Among young Americans, injuries are the leading cause of death. If other people are doing something you don’t think is safe, listen to your inner voice.

Celebrate sober. We don't always make good decisions when alcohol is in the mix. If you drink, you could run the risk of more than a head-pounding hangover. (Think passing out, accidents or arrests.) Have a mocktail instead.

Beware the spring fling. Just a friendly reminder about romance: Protect yourself. The best way to prevent sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancies is abstinence. But if you do hook up, always practice safe sex.

Trust your gut. Steer clear of situations that might put you at risk for sexual violence or other physical harm. For example: Try to avoid being alone with anyone you don't know well or fully trust.

Have fun in the sun—safely. Beach or no beach, bring the sunscreen. Put plenty on exposed skin whenever you're outdoors, and wear a hat and sunglasses. Heading for the water? Always swim with a buddy. If you'll be boating, wear a lifejacket—and never get on the water with people who've been drinking.

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