General Health and Safety

All Articles in the Category ‘General Health and Safety’

Concussion and depression


girls-basketballTips from guest blogger: Dr. Carolyn McCarty

A recent study (from 9/13/16) on concussion in teens caught my attention this week. Sports related concussions in teens can lead to multiple symptoms including dizziness, headache, fatigue, poor sleep, poor concentration, and mood disturbances such as depression and anxiety. Though symptoms usually resolve within a few weeks, they may linger. For teens who continue to have post-concussive symptoms, the results can be debilitating. They may miss school, fall behind in their classes, become socially isolated (especially if unable to participate in their sports or activities of interest), and have symptoms of irritability, depression, and even thoughts of suicide. Treatment for teens who have prolonged symptoms can be a challenge. Read full post »

Sending your teen off to college


My conversations with colleagues and friends have been dominated by the discussions of two topics: politics and sending my kid off to college. Both are full of emotions and both are full of opinions and ideas. As many of my colleagues are dropping off their first born kids at university campuses, they’ve shared their thoughts, fears, excitement, and emotions. Most of the things they’ve discussed with me would not have crossed my mind! These discussions are ones I hope to remember when I’m in the same situation and I’d like to share some of the tips I’ve learned with you. Read full post »

Processing recent tragedies and violence


Guest Post: Dr. Raina Vachhani Voss

My colleagues and I recently had a conversation about how we, as providers, can have an impact and a voice when responding shootings in schools, bars, churches – places that we think of as being safe. When we meet with teens in the clinic, amidst conversations about relationships, emotions, and other health concerns, we do our best to check in with our patients about this topic. How they have been feeling about what they see on the news? How has it affected their mood? Do they feel safe in their community? Read full post »

Eating Well over summer break


Family mealWith the high rates of obesity in our country, families nationwide are trying to find ways to promote healthy and balanced eating. One common conundrum is that finances are often tight and buying fresh produce that only lasts a few days before wilting, shopping at the farmer’s market, or buying organic food just may not be feasible. Incorporating exercise into a busy day is also challenging. A research study last year that showed kids (regardless of household income) on summer break may not be making the best choices around food, so for parents, discussing healthy balanced eating year round with children and teens is important. Read full post »

Should My Son Get the HPV Vaccine


Guest post by: Rachel Moore, UW School of Nursing

Many parents are wondering why their sons need to get a vaccine that they’ve heard was developed to prevent cervical cancer when their sons don’t have a cervix! Parents may feel confused or frustrated when a health care provider tells them that their son needs the three shot series starting when they are 11 or 12 because they are sure that their child is not sexually active and that’s how you get HPV right? There are a couple misunderstandings that need to be cleared up. Read full post »

Teens and helmets


Guest post by: Jane Rall, UW School of Nursing

For many, bicycles remind us of warm summer days cruising through the neighborhood to a friend’s or down the street for a cold treat! As tempting as it might be to hop on your bike and fly down the sunny street, feeling the wind in your hair, one bad decision could ruin a summer and potentially a lot more. Growing up, I remember wanting to ride my bike a few blocks to a friend’s and being frustrated with my parents for making me wear my big, unflattering and not to mention uncomfortable bike helmet. My parent’s made it very clear that wearing a helmet was not optional. Like most children my age, I eventually gave in. Read full post »

Parent Advisory Board – a call for volunteers


I’ve had the privilege of working with truly amazing families. I am always in awe of how much parents love their children. That love doesn’t diminish as babies grown into children and children grow into teens. Seattle Children’s Hospital holds parents in high regard as well. We value your input and need your help to continue to improve the care we provide.

In the Division of Adolescent Medicine, we’re placing a call to ask for parents who have received care in our clinic to help us continue to advance the services we provide. This is an opportunity for parents from the Adolescent Clinic to be involved in an advisory panel.

The panel position is a 2 year commitment and in that time you will be able to participate with clinicians in developing and reviewing educational materials for the clinic, as well as helping to review the curriculum for the Leadership Education in Adolescent Health (LEAH) fellowship. LEAH is a grant offered to only a few institutions around the nation that trains people from a variety of disciplines (such as Medicine, Social Work, Psychology, Nutrition, Nursing, and Health Administration) to become leaders in adolescent health.

The position is open to any parent who has an adolescent who has been a patient in the Seattle Children’s Hospital inpatient or outpatient clinic settings.

Interested candidates can email:

Thank you in advance for considering this position!

2016 SMAHRT Conference – Social Media and Teens


SMAHRT conference 2014Seattle Children’s Hospital has amazing researchers looking at a variety of pediatric health concerns from concussion prevention to internet use. The Social Media & Adolescent Health Research Team (SMAHRT) lead by Dr. Megan Moreno includes people with a passion for looking at the health of adolescents as it relates to online and social media use. In 2014, this team held the first SMAHRT Conference and I was fortunate enough to attend. We discussed blogging, tweeting, social media sites, had an ‘appy hour’ where instead of ‘happy hour’ we spent the hour getting to know each other.

I’m excited to announce that the SMAHRT Conference is back! This year it will be held June 28-29, 2016 with topics including:

  • How community organizations use social media to connect to teens
  • How social media is addressed in school curricula
  • How social media is used in research for recruitment, screening or intervention
  • Hot topics:
    • Cyberbullying
    • Problematic Internet Use

Everyone is welcome to attend! This includes parents, teens, media, health educators, researchers, medical providers, and community members.

Register online at:

2016 SMAHRT Conference flyer 3.24

Mindfulness ideas for parents of teens


sleeping lady AKEvery day as parents we juggle multiple demands. Teens are learning the process of balancing responsibilities, nurturing relationships, and making time for self care. This is no easy feat! In the 21st century, we have smart phones and tablets, voicemail and email, social media sites and instant messaging. Our friends, colleagues and co-workers can contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We are all accustomed to both receiving and providing instant responses. I know that personally, if I receive a text from a friend, I feel obligated to respond as soon as possible! How do we balance the demands of day to day life with time for self care? This is the question that has prompted me to think about incorporating more ‘mindfulness’ into my life. Read full post »

Vitamin D and teen health


beachGuest Post by Dr. Raina Vachhani

What’s all the fuss about vitamin D?

The short answer is that our bodies are built to make vitamin D using sunlight, and for us folks living up north, that isn’t really happening during the winter.

Vitamin D is a nutrient that our bodies use to help us absorb the calcium we eat, which we need to help make strong bones. Without vitamin D, calcium levels can drop, causing long-term effects on the strength of bones. The teens and twenties are the most critical time to build strong, healthy bones in order to avoid having weak bones and a risk of bone fractures later in life.

There is a lot of exciting research going on to figure out what other roles vitamin D might play. Some scientists think that low vitamin D levels could be related to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, inflammation, infections, and neurological diseases, though most of these links haven’t been proven yet. The reality is that most people have no symptoms to indicate to them (or their doctors) that their level of vitamin D is low. Read full post »