Author: Teenology 101

Safe Sun Exposure

beachSave Your Skin: Savvy Sunning

By: Guest Author Hannah Smith RN, BSN, CPN DNP-PNP student

Sunny days in Seattle are a treat! When the rays come out, so do we, looking for a bit of warmth while we can. It is easy for me to justify staying in the sun on my back porch, at Greenlake, or Golden Gardens as long as possible to soak up the rays. I am definitely guilty of being in the sun through the warmest park of the day, because as you know, it may be cloudy tomorrow!

Did you put a sunhat on your child or beach umbrella over them when they were younger? Strong work! Those physical barriers are very effective in preventing skin damage. Skin is delicate and vulnerable to UV rays.

Teens need to protect their skin as it’s the only skin they get for their entire life. Everything you do to reduce UV exposure can help to prevent a type of skin cancer called melanoma from developing later in life. That may seem like a long ways off to a teen, but melanoma is not just a cancer in older people, it can appear as early as your 20s. Melanoma is dangerous, and can spread to other parts of your body.

Besides cancer, excess sun exposure will also prematurely age skin with wrinkles and brown spots. The savvy sunning habits that you and your teen create now can help to save their skin in the future.

I don’t want parents or teens to be scared of the sun because it is a wonderful resource that this earth has. It can help lift your mood, synthesize vitamin D, and synchronize your biorhythms. As with most things, moderation is key. I just want parents and teens to learn how to enjoy the sunshine safely. Here are some tips:

Sunscreen Selection

  • Use a sunscreen that covers both UVA & UVB rays.
  • Use a SPF of at least 45.
  • Apply your sunscreen 30 minutes before going out doors for better absorption.
  • Apply at least 1 oz. of sunscreen.
  • Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours. Even if it is waterproof sweating and touching your skin will rub it off.

UV Exposure

  • Use sunscreen year round on exposed skin. Even on cloudy days UV rays come through the clouds. Higher temperatures so not equal higher UV rays.
  • Check your local UV index at http://www2.epa.gov/sunwise/uv-index

Lifestyle

  • Avoid the most intense sun between 10am-4pm by sitting in the shade, using a hat, or wearing a light over-up.
  • Buy some stylish sunglasses and use them!
  • Avoid tanning beds. Even ONE session increases your risk of melanoma by 20%.

Be educated, and go enjoy the sun!

Break Dancing and Seattle Youth

Break dancing Massive MonkeesWe’d like to highlight positive opportunities for teens so in this post, guest blogger Dr. Alok Patel writes about his experiences with the amazing break dancing crew, Massive Monkees.

Getting a teenager to focus is a daunting, nearly impossible task, for any professional. Smart phones, social media, and hormone-driven behaviors often corner the market for a high-schooler’s attention span. Nonetheless, the resurgence of a throwback dance-style, with a blend of mentorship, is turning heads in South Seattle. Teenagers, all over, are discovering themselves in breakdancing, or ‘breaking’ – the show stealing, acrobatic, immersive art, that can be seen anywhere from 80’s movies, to commercials, to music videos.

The rhythmic movements captivate adolescents and world-renowned bboy crew, the Massive Monkees, alongside Arts Corps, are parlaying the fascination into the nation’s first dance-based youth leadership program, right here in Seattle. Read full post »

Addressing teen substance use: Post 4 How to talk with your teen about alcohol poisoning

In this post, our guest blogger Lisa Chinn LMHC, CDP will discuss how to talk to your teen about alcohol poisoning. She has written this series from her perspective as a chemical dependency professional for adolescents. This is the 4th post in our series on addressing substance use in teens.

How to talk with your teen about alcohol poisoning. (Please keep in mind, this is about alcohol poisoning, and will not cover other substances that affect the central nervous system.)

Since alcohol is one of the most widely available and commonly used substances by teens, it is important to help teens understand the dangers of alcohol poisoning. When teens drink in social settings, they typically have the intent to “get drunk.” In contrast, adults may have one or two drinks in a sitting and they are usually done. Yes, there are exceptions to these generalizations, but when I hear teens talk about their drinking habits, they tend to report excessive drinking; most of the time generally drinking multiple beverages or binge drinking within a few minutes.  Teens may not understand the danger of drinking “a lot” of alcohol in a short amount of time. In this post I’ve mentioned a few things parents can share with their teen about the dangers of alcohol. Read full post »

Addressing teen substance use: Post 3 The privilege of driving

This is the 3rd post in our series on teen substance abuse by guest blogger Lisa Chinn LMHC, CDP. In this series she offers her perspective as a chemical dependency professional for adolescents.

Over the years, if I received 10 cents (inflation taken into consideration) every time I heard “I drive better when I am smoking weed.” OR “My friend drives better when they are using.” I would be SO MUCH closer to retirement. Ok, all kidding aside, many teens who are using substances actually believe they drive better under the influence. Most teens know they shouldn’t drink and drive, but I’ve encountered many teens who believe they can smoke marijuana and drive. These same teens often believe they drive BETTER when they smoke marijuana. This blog post isn’t about proving whether someone can drive “better or worst” under the influence, but about what happens if your teen gets into an accident. Remember parents: When your teens start to drive, they are under YOUR car insurance. Read full post »

Addressing teen substance use: Post 2 Do UAs at home or Not to do UAs at home

This is the second post by guest blogger Lisa Chinn LMHC, CDP on adolescent substance use. She has written from her perspective as a mental health provider in adolescent chemical dependency. In this post, she’ll cover the topic of home urine toxicology screens.

To do UAs at home or Not to do UAs at home?

What is a UA? UA is short hand for urine analysis, urine toxicity screen or drug test. UAs are neutral evidence of whether a person has used substances or not. The drug test is not dependent on a person’s word or their behaviors. As a drug treatment provider, I recommend that UA or drug testing be done at home when a parent suspects or knows that your adolescent is using. Most teens who use drugs know that many substances will be gone from the body within a couple of days of using, therefore if the only drug testing they get are at their appointments, they may not get “caught” for a while.

Drug testing has two purposes: to catch a person when they are NOT using and to catch them when they ARE using. It is just as important to catch them when they are NOT using, as it is to catch them when they are using. Read full post »

Addressing Teen Substance Use: Post 1 Is Your Teen(s) Using In Your Home?

In the Adolescent Medicine Clinic at Seattle Children’s Hospital, we have the privilege of working with chemical dependency professional, Lisa Chinn LMHC, CDP. Over the next two months, we’ll be posting a guest authored series written by Lisa on teen substance abuse. She’ll cover some of the challenging topics parents often ask about in our clinic setting including how to address substance use in your home, whether or not to have your teen provide random drug screens, and how to address alcohol poisoning. Lisa is a great resource and we hope readers find useful information throughout the series!

Is Your Teen(s) Using in Your Home? Read full post »

Autism and Teens

teenandgrandpaGuest Author Siobhan Thomas-Smith

4th Year Medical Student

University of Washington School of Medicine

During high school I had the privilege of volunteering at Seattle Children’s Hospital’s Stanley Stamm Camp with several pre-teens and teenagers who were learning how to navigate the difficulties of adolescence with the added challenge of living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). I was inspired by the courage that it took to face these battles. The psychosocial difficulties of middle school and high school can be overwhelming in and of themselves. There is social pressure to conform, academic pressure to achieve, and a new biological urge to seek out intimate relationships. For an individual on the autism spectrum, these physiologic and psychological changes can be difficult to comprehend and can complicate both the joys and difficulties of transitioning to adulthood. Read full post »

A parent’s role in prevention of underage drinking

As a follow up to our post last week on the Safe Roads Awareness, we wanted to share a video that discusses the importance of you, as a parent, in preventing underage drinking and the consequences that are associated with it. In this video post, Dr. Leslie Walker talks about how important your communication with your teen is in preventing alcohol use.

Teens in foster care

iStock_000004330022_ExtraSmall[1]Children and teens in foster care may not make up a large proportion of the population, however they are a group that are faced with challenges others are not. As parents, you may have the opportunity to play a role in the life of a foster child. This role may be in the form of a foster parent, or could be as a mentor or positive adult role model (even if it’s just because they came over to visit your teen). We asked a colleague, Dr. Kym Ahrens, whose research is specific to the lives of foster kids about this topic. Read full post »

Facebook Changes Privacy Settings for Teens: What Parents Need to Know

teens and techThis week, Facebook announced changes to its privacy rules that allow teenagers to post status updates, videos and photos publicly. If you’re a parent with a teen on Facebook, this opens the door to an important conversation that you and your child need to walk through…and soon.

What changed?

Until yesterday, Facebook users between the ages of 13 and 17 were only able to set the “audience” for their posts as “friends” or “friends of friends.” Now, these users have the option to set the audience as “public.” With these new rules, the status updates (including photos, videos, etc.) posted by adolescents who have made their audience “public” can be read by strangers, and by marketers.This may lead to unwanted friend requests or messages, or possible use of your teen’s photos or posts in marketing materials – on Facebook or beyond. If your 14 year old daughter (or you, for that matter) shares some vacation photos publicly on Facebook, you may someday see those photos used to advertise a beach vacation in Mexico, or a brand of jeans your daughter is wearing. Read full post »