General Health and Safety

All Articles in the Category ‘General Health and Safety’

Autism and Teens

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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 »

Days Of Calamine Past: Is Your Teen Protected Against Chickenpox?

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chickenpoxDespite being only three years old at the time, I have vivid memories of having chickenpox, also known as varicella. They mostly involve wandering around naked, crying, and miserable, with socks tied onto my hands so I wouldn’t scratch. I also took multiple cool Aveeno baths, and had orange Calamine lotion painted over my body. Luckily I had no complications, and all that linger are a couple of pockmark scars (I learned how to get the socks off.) Read full post »

Thoughts on Teen Safety From The U.S.-Mexico Border

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teen couple youngA lot of what we post on this blog informs parents of teens about threats to their child’s safety and security, or how to empower yourself or your teen to prevent harm. However, we tend to forget that in a global sense, our teens are doing very well. Sanitation, preventative health care, vaccination, and rapid treatment of diseases are available to most teens in the U.S. We should never ignore that within our own borders, some teens are faced with violence regularly; however, American teens are safe overall- much safer than, say, teens in Somalia or Afghanistan. Whatever you might think of our government structure, it is more or less intact. While food insecurity is common in our country, it’s very unusual for a teen to starve to death for lack of resources.

Our relative safety was driven home for me over the past week, which I spent at the U.S.-Mexico border. Read full post »

Talking About “Celebgate” With Your Teen- A Guest Post by Dr. Ellen Selkie

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ellenRecently, as you may have seen in the news, nude photos and videos of multiple female celebrities were leaked online. The leak started with a hack of Apple’s iCloud—an online server where photos from the women’s phones were backed up and stored. To me, this is a teachable moment for parents about privacy and online content, and comes on the heels of a post we did recently about sexting in middle school students. Read full post »

Pedestrian Safety

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FriendshipAs the summer comes to an end, kids are going to be heading back to school. This means all of the drivers near school zones will see an increase in pedestrian traffic in the mornings and afternoons. As drivers, we’re reminded to slow down by signs in the school zone that mark the speed limit at 20 mph, but pedestrians may not always be aware of how to stay safe with the morning rush hour traffic. In this post, we received tips and advice on pedestrian safety from Dr. Alex Quistberg with the Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center. Read full post »

Another Reason For Teens to Avoid Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

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sodasWhen my mother was young, she lived in rural South Africa, and soda was a rare treat. She only had soda (somewhat ironically) after her twice-yearly dentist visit, when she and my grandmother would stop into a cafe to order one. She continues her habits to this day, and very rarely drinks anything carbonated and sweetened.

For many teens today, sweetened beverages are daily treats, or even enjoyed a few times a day. Teens drinks not only soda, but energy drinks, sweetened iced teas, and other sugary concoctions. About three-quarters of teens have at least one sugar-sweetened drink daily.

We’ve discussed healthy eating before, and how any sugar-containing drink should be limited to special occasions. However, an intriguing new study may point to an additional benefit of avoiding sweetened beverages: improved brain function. Read full post »

When Not To Call Your Teen

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young woman driving on highway while reading / writing text on smart phone.Parenting teens changed with the advent of the cell phone. I can think of multiple dilemmas from my adolescence that a cell phone would have helped my parents and I enormously: when I was late, when I was lost, when I needed help. Cell phones and smartphones have become integral parts of most of our lives. I was recently in a place with no cell phone service, and realized how much I’ve come to rely on my iPhone and all its information at my fingertips (I had to read a paper map.)

Teens can text their parents instead of yelling from their bedroom, parents can remind their teen to do something after they’ve left the house, and parents can even track their teens via cell phone to make sure they are where they say they are (or at least, where their cell phone is.) Like all technology, cell phones, smartphones, tablets, etc. have their positive and  negative effects on society. However, a study recently came out showing that parents’ attempts to keep in touch with teens can be putting them in danger. Read full post »

Taking Your Teen on Vacation

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teen divingVacations are chances to separate from everyday cares, explore new places, and reconnect with loved ones. Whether you’re traveling globally or having a “staycation” and enjoying your home town, I believe vacations are vital for coping with stress and gaining perspective on life. For families, vacations can be a way to enjoy each other’s company without the distractions or hassles of day-to-day life.

Family vacations change as people change, and taking a teenager on vacation is often quite different from taking a child. Here are some ideas on making family vacations with teens enjoyable and low-stress for everyone.

Read full post »

Physical activity and wearable fitness trackers

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joggingGuest post by Dr. Jason Mendoza

Staying physically active is a tough task for many people, including teens. Most teens in the US do not meet current guidelines that recommend obtaining at least 1-hour of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity on a daily basis. This is the type of physical activity that makes you breathe faster and elevates your heart rate. Unfortunately, the teenage years are when people’s physical activity declines the most, which can adversely affect current and future health. Read full post »

How Parents Can Keep Up With the Social Media Landscape

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ellenThis is a guest post by Adolescent Medicine fellow Ellen Selkie, MD.

We’ve talked about social media on this blog before . It continues to dominate the lives of teens, though the type or platform of social media is always changing. How can a parent keep up? Well, first, you can read this brief overview of social media platforms most used by teens. Then, check out info below about more learning opportunities! Read full post »