Farewell, Popcorn Day!

Not for good of course! Just over the course of the summer. Thanks to everyone who came out for our final Popcorn Day yesterday. Just like last year, Popcorn Day will be on hiatus until school starts back up again in August. Typically, there are 3 main reasons we take a break during the summer:

1. Taking a break gives us plenty of time to replenish our supplies for the year

We go through a whole lot of Popcorn over the course of the year. A typical Popcorn Day  requires us to make six prepackaged bags of magic (consisting of popcorn, oil, and tasty butter seasoning),  and special events throughout the year may require us to pop more. Not including the holiday break and summer, there are about 40-42 weeks of Popcorn Days; that’s a minimum of 252 bags! During this summer break, we can make sure our supplies are restocked and ready to go for another busy year.

2. During the summer, the COM population tends to fluctuate a lot

Summer is the ideal time for faculty and staff with kids to take vacations or some time off to spend with their loved ones. Combined with the fact that the majority of the medical students are away from the college during this time, week to week it’s difficult to gauge just how many people will be around on any given Thursday. Rather than guess high and end up with way too much popped popcorn and no one to share it with (or guess low and have to turn far too many of our friends away), it’s much easier to put it on hold until there are stable numbers inside the COM. Believe it or not, the difference between 2 or 3 popped bags of popcorn and 4 popped bags of popcorn is surprisingly a lot – by the time you get into higher numbers, the machine is thoroughly warmed up and successfully popping a lot more kernels than it did during bag 1 or 2.

3. The machine needs a nice break

You may remember this image arriving in your inbox.

You may remember this image arriving in your inbox.

Popcorn Day became a thing in Fall of 2011, when we thought it would be a neat way to bring patrons into the library; it debuted during the M1 Orientation Fair that August. Fast forward to a Thursday afternoon in May of  Spring 2012 where we couldn’t get the machine to pop any popcorn at all. The heating unit for the kettle wouldn’t do its job anymore – whether it was a defective kettle or heavy use, we were out of a machine. Maintenance and upkeep of a machine like this is important, especially if its something that doesn’t just have occasional use (something we had to come to terms with as we scrambled to see if we could order another kettle or had to purchase a whole new machine). While we’re prepared now to handle another burnt-out kettle, we don’t want to accelerate the process by over-working the current one. This two month break during the summer lets the machine have a well deserved rest, allows us time to service anything that may need work, and make sure its in tip-top shape for future popcorn days.

Popcorn Day will officially return Thursday, August 14th. Until then, please feel free to swing by the library to say “Hi” on Thursdays anyway – we’d love to see you! Thanks for your continued support of the library and all we do – it really is our pleasure to be your Health Sciences Library. Generating smiles is an important part of health and wellness, too, you know!


Spotlight on Health: Safety and Water Activities

LoungingAs we approach Memorial Day weekend, it’s important to discuss some easy ways to keep your family and loved ones safe as you enjoy the holiday. No doubt you may find yourself catching some rays at the beach or by the pool as you take in the lovely pre-summer weather. With that in mind, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention marks the week preceding Memorial Day as Recreational Water Illness and Injury Prevention Week to prepare potential participants in water activity for a safe experience. Here are some quick things to keep in mind as you relax by the shore or on the deck  this weekend.

Lots of germs can be spread through water activities. Just swallowing, breathing, or having contact with contaminated water in locations from pools to splash parks, or lakes to oceans has the potential to get you sick. Even in chlorine treated environments, some germs are just too resilient for these sorts of treatments to be 100% effective. As such, there are few simple things one can make sure to do to lessen everyone’s chances of becoming ill. The CDC suggests the following on their website:

Keep the poop, germs, and pee out of the water.

  • Don’t swim when you have diarrhea.
  • Shower with soap before you start swimming.
    • Take a rinse shower before you get back into the water.
  • Take bathroom breaks every 60 minutes.
  • Wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers.

Check the free chlorine level and pH before getting into the water.

  • Pools: Proper chlorine (1–3 mg/L or parts per million [ppm]) and pH (7.2–7.8) levels maximize germ-killing power.
  • Hot tubs/spas: Proper disinfectant level (chlorine [2–4 parts per million or ppm]) or bromine [4–6 ppm]) and pH (7.2–7.8) maximize germ-killing power.
  • Most superstores, hardware stores, and pool-supply stores sell pool test strips.
  • Don’t swallow the water you swim in.

Parents of young children should take a few extra steps:

  • Take children on bathroom breaks every 60 minutes or check diapers every 30–60 minutes.
    • Change diapers in the bathroom or diaper-changing area and not at poolside where germs can rinse into the water.¹

Another important thing to remember about water activities is the risk of drowning. If you have a child between the age of 1 and 4, this is especially important to take note of, as drowning is the leading cause of injury death for that age group. Victims that manage to survive may never be the same, often experiencing brain damage from the ordeal. Being aware of easy ways to prevent this sort of accident is the first way to ensure the safety of your loved ones. Consider the following suggestions for prevention of drowning:

Keep swimmers safe in the water.

  • Make sure everyone knows how to swim.
  • Use life jackets appropriately.
  • Provide continuous, attentive supervision close to swimmers.
  • Know CPR (for older children and adults).

Prevent access to water when pool is not in use.

  • Install and maintain barriers like 4-sided fencing and weight-bearing pool covers.
  • Use locks/alarms for windows and doors.¹

Along with these tips, it may be useful to ask yourself to think about whether or not you actually know what drowning looks like. TV and movies have conditioned us to believe that if a person is drowning, they will be thrashing about in the water, waving their arms and yelling for help. More likely, a drowning person may actually exhibit signs of what is called the “Instinctive Drowning Response”, a phrase coined by Dr. Francesco A. Pia, a water safety expert. In Fall 2006, Pia and another gentleman,  Mario Vittone, wrote an article for an issue of On Scene, the journal of the US Coast Guard Search and Rescue, explaining what this response is. The most important points:

  1. The majority of the time, people that are drowning are physiologically incapable of calling out for help; the body is wired to default to its primary respiratory function in a case like this. Breathing will therefore be most important.
  2. The mouth of a drowning person is typically not above water long enough to exhale, draw breath, AND call out; there’s hardly enough time to do the first two before the mouth descends below the surface of the water again.
  3. The natural instinct of a drowning person is not to wave their arms above them, but to press their arms outwards and downwards in an attempt to leverage the sinking body up and out of the water to facilitate proper breathing. Once the drowning process has stopped, the body can again perform voluntary movements like waving for help and grabbing rescue equipment.
  4. While drowning people stay upright in the water, they’re not actually performing any supporting kicks under the water. They might struggle on the surface of the water (exhibiting the responses discussed previously) for about 60 seconds before they go under.²

Pia also makes note of other ways you may notice someone is drowning: closed, glassy or unfocused eyes, mouth low in the water or head tilted back with mouth open for instance².  More signs can be read about here. As always, stay vigilant and alert – if you were hearing laughter and frivolity a few moments ago and all of a sudden it is quiet on the side of your boat, quickly move to figure out why.

For more information and resources about keeping safe this weekend – and all summer – when enjoying yourself near the water, visit the CDC page on Healthy Swimming, and the page on Recreational Water Illness and Injury Prevention. We hope you enjoy the holiday weekend – we’ll be closed on Monday, so see you on Tuesday.


1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2014. Recreational Water Illness and Injury Prevention Week 2014. http://www.cdc.gov/features/rwis/?s_cid=cdc_homepage_whatsnew_003
2. Medical News Today. 2010. Do You Know What Drowning Looks Like? http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/196538.php


Congratulations to the Class of 2014!

Today we wish to extend our sincerest congratulations to the new doctors of the UCF College of Medicine Class of 2014! Here are some photos from the event.

Of special note, did you know that we had a student serving in the United States Air Force in this class? The College of Medicine actually has a number of students serving in various branches of the Armed Forces. Upon receiving her M.D. distinction, Casey deDeugd was promoted to Captain from First Lieutenant. Dr. Borrero is shown here swearing her into her new position. Great job Casey; thank you for serving!


We look forward to seeing how our new alumni will succeed! Go Knights!


Congrats to our Workplace Wellness Study Champions!

Last Thursday marked the final meeting and end of our 8 month Workplace Wellness Study and Fitbit experiment. If you’ve seen more faculty and staff walking the grounds than usual these past few months, it’s because these folks were participants in our study. Participants from the various COM departments were divided into three teams: The A-Team, Team C-Ya, and the PF-Flyers. Each team was encouraged to log as many steps as they could on their Fitbit. There are many wearable fitness trackers out on the market, but we liked this one the best. The Fitbit monitors sleep, and even logs how many flights of stairs you’ve climbed, amongst other neat features. A social media component is built in so you can keep track of how your friends are doing with their steps. Some study participants had the Fitbit One, while a few others tried out the Fitbit Flex.


The A-Team

The A-Team

Team C-YA!

Team C-YA!



Monthly, the team leading in the step count would get bragging rights and a trophy displayed at the library front desk. As an added incentive to do your absolute best, the team with the most wins (or most steps in the event of a tie) at the end of the study would be awarded 15 minute chair massages for each team member as a prize for a job well done.

Overall, all three teams managed to log some impressive numbers! Over the course of the study, A-Team members accumulated a total of 17,331,502 steps. Steppers in the PF-Flyers managed 10,978,218 steps. Lastly, members of Team C-Ya buckled down to generate an impressive 19,369,327 steps!

All together, our three teams had a combined step count of 47,679,047 steps. That’s about 23,839.5 miles (assuming an average mile is about 2,000 steps), which is about the distance of traveling from Orlando to Japan, coming back to Orlando, and then going back to Japan when you realize you miss the culture too much.

How could you possibly want to leave something as cute as this?

Seriously – Hello Kitty in a kimono. How could you possibly want to leave something as cute as this?

Everyone did an excellent job, but there had to be a winning team. With 4 monthly wins over the course of the study and the most steps, the winner of our Workplace Wellness Study was Team C-Ya! Hope you enjoyed the massages, guys.

Our Winners!

Our Winners!

A poster will be presented by a few members of our library staff at the upcoming Medical Library Association 2014 conference in Chicago. It will detail some of the highlights of the study, as well as demonstrate for other medical libraries how they can integrate this sort of program into their own work. Look for a follow-up post about the MLA conference in a few weeks to get a glimpse of the poster (or swing by the library at the end of May to see it up close on display)!