Your Teen

Summer Viruses Are Gearing Up

1.15 to read

Is it hot enough for you? Summer is here and will continue for a bit! Winter viruses are a distant memory (good bye flu and RSV), summer viruses which have been laying dormant are once again rearing their angry heads.

My office has been overflowing with really hot feverish kids of all ages.   I think the most likely culprit for much of the illness we are seeing right now is an enteroviral infection.  For some reason, it makes us parents feel better if we can “name that virus”, seems to help validate the illness.  

Enteroviral infections typically cause a non-specific febrile illness and with that you can see fairly high fever. In other words, just like the thermometer as summer heat arrives , 101-104 degrees of fever is not uncommon in these patients.  Remember the mantra, “fever is our friend”. I think it is almost worse to have a high fever in the summer as you are even more uncomfortable because it is already hot!

With that being said, if your child has a fever, don’t bundle them up with layers of clothes and blankets.  It is perfectly acceptable to have your younger child in a diaper and t-shirt, and older children can be in sundress or shorts rather than long sleeves and pants.  Bundling may increase the body temperature, even while you are driving to the doctor’s office. I often come into a room with a precious baby who is running a fever and they are wrapped in blankets, let them out! That hot body needs to breathe.

These summer enteroviruses may cause other symptoms as well as fever, so many kids right now seem to have sore throats and are also vomiting and having diarrhea. With this type of virus you also hear complaints of headaches and body aches (myalgias).  The kids I am seeing don’t look especially sick, but they do feel pretty yucky!  Just kind of wiped out, especially when their temps are up.

Besides treating their fevers, treat their other symptoms to make them comfortable.   If they are vomiting do not give them anything to eat and start giving them frequent sips of liquids such as Pedialyte (for the younger ones) and Gatorade or even Sprite or Ginger Ale. Small volumes are the key. 

I often use pieces of Popsicle or spoonfuls of a Slurpee to get fluids in kids. I always tried to pick drink colors for my own kids that were easier to clean up, in case they were going to vomit again, so no bright red!  The cold fluids may also help to soothe a sore throat. Once the vomiting has stopped, and it is usually no more than 12-24 hours, you can start feeding small amounts of food, but I would steer away from any dairy for a day or two. Again, nothing worse than thinking your child is over vomiting, fixing them I nice milkshake (comfort food) and seeing that thrown up!  Many a mother has come into my office wanting to strip after being vomited on, in a hot car no less.   I don’t think there is a car wash around that can fully get rid of that smell!

Most enteroviral infection last anywhere from 2-5 days. There are many different enteroviruses too, so you can get more than one infection during the season. This is not just a virus you see in children, so watch out parents you may succumb as well. Keep up good hand washing and your child should stay home from school, the pool, camp, day care etc. until they have been fever free for 24 hours. 

That’s your daily dose for today.  We’ll chat again tomorrow.

Your Teen

When Your College Freshman Calls Home...

2.00 to read

There once was a time when most of my friends were dropping their children off for their first day of school. Now it seems like a lot of them are packing the car and dropping their child off at college!

My how the time goes by.

Sooner or later, the parents of these kids may get a phone call, email or text (most likely the latter) from their young independent child saying they are a little homesick or overwhelmed by all the challenges of college life. That’s a normal reaction to immense change.

A recent article I read hit home on a lot of the trials that kids face when experiencing total freedom from their every day parental input. The article was written from the perspective of what one young lady wished she had known before going to college, but I thought it offered good advice for parents looking for ways to reassure and offer advice (when asked) to their new college student as well.

1. Let them know that everyone is in the same position as they are. College is the time to be friendly and open to meeting new people. Remind them that they can feel less intimidated by remembering that others are in the same situation as they are and will likely be grateful if your student reaches out to them.

2. Coping with roommates. It’s not easy living in the same room as someone, no matter how well you get along. Your college student may have shared a room with a brother or sister before, but this is completely different.

Let them know that coordinating sleep schedules to when they can have guests over, having a roommate requires constant communication and compromising. 

Whether they choose to live with someone who they already know or with someone new, being direct, open and considerate can help build a successful relationship with their roommate. 

However, if they do end up in a difficult roommate situation, they can talk to their resident adviser. He or she will hopefully be able to help them resolve the situation, whether it’s talking through their disagreements or switching roommates. 

3. Alcohol. Most college students are going to have the opportunity to drink alcohol either on or off campus. It’s one of those “new experiences” that can quickly get out of control. Remind your child that drinking brings risks. Take the time for a heart–to-heart, particularly with young women, about the dangers of being drunk and vulnerable with people you don’t know well. Kids who drink are more likely to be victims of a violent crime, or alcohol-related traffic crash. That’s not just parental paranoia; it’s a fact.

There are several very good websites that have articles on talking to your teen and college student about drinking. One such website is: http://www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov/otheralcoholinformation/makedifference.aspx.

Drug use falls into the same category. I wish there was a magic button to press to keep our kids safe and away from all dangers, but there isn’t. Open communication, watching for signs in changes of behavior and fingers crossed are our best options right now.

While it’s not the most important topic related to college drinking, a gentle reminder that booze can also add a lot of calories and increase the probability of gaining the traditional freshman 15 pounds (or more) may not hurt either.

 

4. Staying ahead of the game. Procrastinating on completing schoolwork until the night before can lead to pulling all-nighters, high stress and low grades. If grades or school pressure is giving your child an extra dose of anxiety, suggest making a schedule, keeping a to-do list and setting goals for the semester that reflect their priorities. Make big projects more manageable by breaking them into small steps to complete over time. 

5. Get to know the professors. Your child may feel a little lost in the crowd and the classroom, especially in the larger schools and classes. Ask them if they are making an effort to get to know their professors. It’s amazing how many kids don’t. These people understand how difficult it can be to start a new adventure and not have the peer support someone is used to. They see it every year. 

Also, they may also be the ones your child turns to when needing a recommendation. Mention that they could introduce themselves, visit with their professors during office hours and ask questions about their courses and interests. Let them know their professors may be able to introduce them to others in their field or help them get their first job out of college.

You never know how valuable a certain relationship can be.

6. Finances. Here are some tips for managing their finances. Let them know that there are many ways they can cut back on costs while in school if they think strategically. Search for the cheapest place to buy textbooks, such as renting them for the semester through Amazon, or downloading the texts.

Look into scholarships through the school or outside organizations. Sites like Scholarships.com or Fastweb.com can help you find scholarships that are specific to your needs. 

And if their schedule allows, get a part-time job so they can help pay for food and housing. Many people have helped pay for or paid entirely for their own college education. It can actually help someone appreciate the opportunities that college offers more.

Four years will pass in the wink of an eye, just like the years since your child first walked through the doors of grade school. Life’s funny that way.

This isn’t the complete list that the author outlines in her article; you can see more ideas on the link listed below.

When children are finally college bound, it’s an exciting and bittersweet time for parents. Just remember to keep the communication going, the welcome door open and the washer and dryer ready for a new load. They’ll be in touch.

Source: Sarah Bourassa, http://www.today.com/parents/11-things-i-wish-i-knew-going-college-1D80098788

Your Teen

Teens Giving Birth Reaches Historic Low

2.00 to read

U.S. teens giving birth has reached historic lows. New evidence from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today points to the ongoing and significant drop in the U.S. teen birth rate over the past 2o-plus years.

The CDC attributes the drop to fewer teens having sex and more frequent use of contraception. While the overall rate dropped significantly, some states did better than others in the reduction of teenagers giving birth.

Rates are consistently highest across the southern and southwestern United States and lowest in the Northeast.

The 10 highest states were Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

The 10 lowest states were Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin.

The teen birth rate has declined across all racial groups since 1991, but the steepest declines have been recorded among Asian-Pacific Islanders (API) (64 percent) and non-Hispanic blacks (63 percent). API teens currently have the lowest birth rate overall (9.7 per 1,000), while Hispanic teens have the highest rate among the racial groups (46.3 percent). Still, the rate for Hispanic teens has fallen the fastest since 2007 (39 percent).

The good news for America is somewhat tempered by the fact that our teen birth rate still ranks among some of the highest for developed countries. While countries like Denmark, Switzerland and Japan recorded teen birth rates under 5 per 1,000, the United States finds itself among seven of 31 countries highlighted by the CDC with rates exceeding 20 births per 1,000 teens.

Even though we lag behind many other developed countries, we’re still making progress and progress is good for our teens’ health and our economy.

The CDC says the progress made since 1991 has amounted to 4 million fewer teen births. Citing research from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, the CDC says this also saved taxpayers an estimated $12 billion alone in 2010 from costs associated with government-funded health care, child welfare and higher incarceration rates for the children of teen moms. And having fewer babies born to teen mothers, the CDC points out, is good for other reasons. Teen motherhood comes with a higher health risk for the baby, educational limits for the mother and limited resources, since about 90 percent of teen births are to unmarried mothers. And babies born to teen mothers are more likely to eventually become teen mothers themselves.

Some states, like Colorado, have seen dramatic reductions in teen births by re-thinking their approach. Between 2007 and 2012, Colorado saw the highest percentage drop in birth rates among teens 15 to 19 in the country, according to the CDC report. During that time, its teen birth rates dropped 39 percent compared to 29 percent nationwide. Abortion rates in the state among teens fell 35 percent between 2009 and 2012 and are falling nationally, as well.

What did Colorado do differently? They invested wisely in their young women and teen’s public health education and pregnancy prevention options.

State public health officials are crediting a sustained, focused effort to offer low-income women free or low-cost long-acting reversible contraception, that is, intrauterine devices or implants. The Colorado Family Planning Initiative, supported by a $23 million anonymous donation, provided more than 30,000 IUDs or implants to women served by the state’s 68 family-planning clinics. The state’s analysis suggests the initiative was responsible for three-quarters of the decline in the state’s teen birth rates. The state also saw a 50 percent drop in repeat pregnancies among teens.

Public health officials there and elsewhere long have argued the use of long-acting reversible contraception can dramatically reduce the number of unintended pregnancies -- which make up a majority of teen pregnancies. Colorado’s initiative built upon a somewhat similar effort in St. Louis, Mo., which educated about 7,500 sexually active women on various forms of contraception and then offered to pay for that contraception over the next three years.

Seventy percent of women in the Missouri study chose an IUD or implant. The conclusion: those who chose short-term methods such as the pill or the patch were 20 times more likely to have an unintended pregnancy than those who used an IUD or an implant.

Whether teens are delaying having sex or they are becoming savvier about using contraception, for their health and future prospects- it’s good to see that our young teenage girls are having fewer babies.

Sources: Jason Millman, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/08/20/the-uneven-and-historic-decline-in-teen-births/

Tina Griego, http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/storyline/wp/2014/08/20/the-simple-policy-that-led-americas-biggest-drop-in-teen-pregnancies/

Your Teen

FDA Requires Warning Labels for Sunlamps and Tanning Beds

2.00 to read

Love the look of a suntanned body? Lots of people do, particularly young women and teens. But, that tanned body comes with a higher risk of skin cancer according to the American Academy of Dermatology and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

That’s why the FDA is changing its regulation of sunlamp products and UV lamps intended for use in sunlamp products. The changes strengthen the oversight of these devices, and require that sunlamp products carry a visible, black box warning stating that they should not be used on people under the age of 18.

Previously, the products were listed as low-risk. The new category raises the risk to moderate. 

Even though the new warning is now mandatory, it is not against the law for minors to use tanning booths and sunlamps, although a few states have gone ahead and banned the use of indoor tanning salons for people under the age of 18.

The American Academy of Dermatology says studies have shown people who have been exposed to UV rays from indoor tanning have a 59% increase of developing melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer.

"The FDA has taken an important step today to address the risk to public health from sunlamp products," said Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, director of the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health. "Repeated UV exposure from sunlamp products poses a risk of skin cancer for all users, but the highest risk for skin cancer is in young persons under the age of 18 and people with a family history of skin cancer."

This change is due to concerns that the effects of UV radiation add up over time, and children and teenagers who are exposed to indoor UV radiation are at greater risk for skin and eye damage.

“There is increasing evidence that tanning in childhood to early adult life increases the risk of skin cancer, including melanoma,” says FDA dermatologist Markham Luke, M.D., Ph.D. In fact, according to an overview of studies published in the journal Pediatrics, melanoma is the second most common cancer in women in their 20s and the third most common cancer in men in their 20s in the U.S.

Luke adds that many experts believe that at least one reason is the increased use of sunlamp products by U.S. teenagers and young adults.

Not everyone believes sunlamps that emit UV rays cause skin cancer or health problems.

Representatives for the Indoor Tanning Association say they are disappointed in the reclassification. "I just don't think the science is there," said John Overstreet, executive director of the association. "I think it's blown out of proportion. We are obviously disappointed in the FDA's latest moves."

Others believe that the FDA is over-stepping its boundaries.  Tanning salon advocates say parents should be making the decision about whether their children are allowed to use tanning salons and sunlamps and that this is just the first step toward government control over what should be parental choices.

The FDA overview suggest that doses of UV radiation emitted by high pressure sunlamp products may be up to 10 to 15 times higher than that of the midday sun, an intensity not found in nature. UV-A radiation penetrates to the deeper layers of the skin and is often associated with allergic reactions, such as a rash. This is not to say that outdoor tanning is safe. In fact, the World Health Organization has classified all UV radiation as a carcinogenic (cancer causing).

Skin cancer is not the only possible side effect of UV rays. The rays may also age the skin prematurely causing wrinkles and loss of elasticity of the skin. 

Sources: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm350790.htm

http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/29/health/tanning-sunlamps-labeling-fda/index.html#disqus_thread

Your Teen

Helping Others May Help Teens Beat Depression

2.00 to read

Want to help your teen avoid the powerful pull of adolescent depression? Start early by introducing him or her to the gift of giving.

 A new study says that teens who like to help others may be less likely to develop depression.

The study included 15- and 16-year-olds that were given three types of tasks: give money to others, keep the money for themselves or take financial risks with the hope of earning a reward.

The teens were checked for symptoms of depression at the start of the study and a year later.

To see if there was a possible link between pleasure, altruistic behavior and depression, researchers monitored activity levels in the area of the brain called the ventral striatum. This part of the brain controls feelings of pleasure linked to rewards. 

Previous studies have looked at ventral striatum activity and teen behavior associated with risk-taking. But this time, scientists wanted to see if doing for others offered it’s own kind of unique reward.

What if the pleasure center was rewarded with simply helping others through difficult times? Could that kind of activity offer a somewhat equal sense of satisfaction? If so, it might save a lot of young lives and prevent serious injuries that can last a lifetime.

 “There’s this trend where from childhood to adolescence, morbidity and mortality rates increase 200 to 300 percent, and it’s almost entirely due to these preventable risk-taking behaviors,” study author Eva Telzer, a psychology professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said in a university news release.

“Depressive symptoms also tend to increase during this time,” she said.

The study showed that activity in the ventral striatum in response to different rewards predicted whether the subjects’ depressive symptoms would worsen or lessen over time.

“If they show higher levels of reward activation in the ventral striatum in the context of the risk-taking task, they show increases in depressive symptoms over time,” said Telzer.

“And if they show higher reward activation in the pro-social context, they show declines in depression.” she said.

Today’s society seems to run much faster and is more hectic than in previous generations. Families are spread out across the country and there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything done. Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate what is important in the short time that we have here on earth and carve out a place for reaching out to those who may need an extra hand, a few dollars or a kind word during difficult times.

"This study suggests that if we can somehow redirect adolescents away from risk-taking or self-centered rewards and toward engaging in these more pro-social behaviors, then perhaps that can have a positive impact on their well-being over time," Telzer noted.

Teaching children how to volunteer when they are young and exposing them to other people’s circumstances and beliefs may open a space in their hearts that could help them keep things in perspective by the time they are teens and young adults.

Sources: Rick Nauert PhD, http://psychcentral.com/news/2014/04/25/pro-social-teens-less-likely-to-be-depressed/68969.html

Robert Preidt, http://consumer.healthday.com/kids-health-information-23/adolescents-and-teen-health-news-719/briefs-emb-4-24-teens-altruism-depression-pnas-u-illinois-release-batch-1158-687211.html

Your Teen

Helping Your Teen Get Over a Breakup

2.30 to read

Most of us can remember how painfully sad we felt after our first breakup. Sometimes we were told that we were too young to know what real love was, or that it was just puppy love and we’d get over it, or you might have heard the ever popular “there’s more than one fish in the sea. “

I remember my first heartbreak. I was about 14 and the love of my life moved to Alaska. Alaska!!!

I cried for days and felt like the pain would never end. Eventually my heartbreak subsided and I moved on. My mother was very understanding – she liked my boyfriend too. She didn’t tell me to get over it or to try and forget about him. She just listened, held me in her arms and let me know that yes, this was going to be hard but I was going to get through it.  

I don’t think things have changed that much since my first breakup. It still hurts and is difficult to get over. When you’re a pre-teen, teenager or young adult you just don’t have the life experience to know that these things happen to everyone and you can and will get through it.

What can parents do to help their child deal with a breakup? Experts say the number one action parents can take is to listen. Sometimes things happen that a teen doesn’t have any control over – like the family is transferred and has to move away. Most times I suspect the two personalities just didn't work well together.

While it may be tempting, bringing up all the “bad traits” of the one who is gone won’t help. It’s not your break-up; it’s your child’s. You may be thrilled that the boyfriend or girlfriend is out of the picture, but it doesn’t matter. There is always the possibility that they may get back together so don’t say anything that you can’t take back.

Your child is dealing with emotions that they may not be familiar with. What they need now is unconditional love and someone to talk to who will listen and respect how they feel. If you’re not available they will put their heart in the hands of friends, and sometimes friends think the best way to get over anything is to either party hardy, act out or blast someone on social media.

Not all friends respond that way of course. Many teens are thoughtful and supportive and will make every effort to help their friend feel better about the situation. But a parent or guardian should be the true touchstone for their heartbroken teen.

You can help your child identify their feelings and find constructive ways to express them. Humiliation, anger, and sadness are strong emotions. Even as adults we still have trouble keeping those in check. So imagine how hard it is for an adolescent.

This is one of those crossroads that many of us have faced and so it’s difficult, as parents, to not try to make everything better. The hardest thing to do is to let your child work something out for him or her self when pain and heartache are involved. But sometimes you have to not take a stand and just be supportive. Let them cry and mourn – give them the time they need. As they begin to adjust make sure they have something positive to do, something that helps them build the self-confidence they need to move on. It may be time to reconnect with old friends, develop a hobby, get involved in sports or the arts or both. The good thing about physical activity is that it releases helpful hormones, such as endorphins, and requires attention and focus – a positive way to take their mind off of the breakup.

While it’s good to let your teen make important decisions in his or her life, there is a time when parents have to step in. If your child is or was involved with someone where physical or emotional abuse, or drug or alcohol use is part of the scenario. That’s a situation that requires taking a stand and possibly family counseling.

You also need to keep an eye out for depression that doesn’t go away. Some depression is normal when a person  loses a loved one (or a really- really liked one) in their life. But too deep a depression can be dangerous. Some symptoms of teen depression are loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities, feelings of worthlessness, guilt or fixation on past failures, exaggerated self- blame and self-criticism. Other symptoms can include trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things. Any discussions about death, dying or suicide should be taken seriously. Go with your gut feeling and make a doctor’s appointment right away for your child to get help.

Something else to consider is that breakups aren’t limited to romantic relationships. Young girls and boys can feel a deep loss when they lose their BFF (best friend forever.) They need the same kind of support and understanding. A loss is still a loss.

Most of all maintain a positive attitude. Your teen and his or her friend may makeup and get back together or they may move on and learn the hard truth about breakups. They hurt. Either way, they’ll join a long list of others who’ve been there and done that. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to hold them in your arms, let them cry and then let them know that they will eventually laugh and smile again.

Your Teen

Is Your Teen’s Aching Knee More Than “Growing Pains”?

2.00 to read

Many kids experience what is commonly referred to as “growing pains” as they get older.  Children may experience aches and pains as young as 3 to 4 years old, then again around 8 to 12 years of age.

When a teen’s legs and knees hurt, he or she may also be told that they are probably suffering from growing pains and that they will grow out of it. 

There are times when a youngster or teen has simply overdone it by running and / or jumping too much. Like anyone else, if they haven’t used those muscles enough – they’ll be sore.

However, consistent knee pain is something else.

A Danish study says that if a teen’s knee pain persists, it could become a chronic condition affecting their quality of life.

"We can see from the study that one in three young people between the ages of 12 and 19 experience problems with pain in their knees," said Michael Skovdal Rathleff, a physiotherapist from Aarhus University. "Seven percent of the adolescents experience daily knee pain in the front of the knee. More than half still have problems after two years, so it is not something they necessarily grow out of."

The study involving 3,000 teens revealed knee pain is a more significant problem than previously thought.

"If knee pain is not treated there is a high risk of the pain becoming chronic. And this clearly has a big consequence for the individual's everyday life and opportunities," Rathleff noted in a university news release. "Our findings show that these adolescents have as much pain symptoms and reduced quality of life as adolescents on a waiting list for a cruciate knee ligament reconstruction, or as a 75-year-old six months after receiving a new knee."

Other studies have shown that about 25 percent of patients who've undergone a knee replacement because of osteoarthritis of the kneecap also had knee pain since they were teenagers. Osteoarthritis of the kneecap, the researchers concluded, may sometimes begin early in life. They added, however, that earlier treatment and proper training could help.

According to a study published in BMC Pediatrics, pain resolves in about half of the young people with knee pain when they get the right physical therapy. Unfortunately, many kids may not get the therapy they need soon enough.

"It is worrying that the pain only disappears in the case of half of the young people who actually do the training," said Rathleff. "The indications are that we should start the treatment somewhat earlier where it is easier to cure the pain."

Do all teens with a bad knee need physical therapy? Not necessarily, it all depends on the child's circumstances, Rathleff noted.

If your child has knee pain that doesn’t seem to go away or consistently comes and goes, you might want to talk with your family doctor or pediatrician about physical therapy and see if he or she recommends it. The benefits could be life changing for your active teen. 

Source: Mary Elizabeth Dallas, http://consumer.healthday.com/kids-health-information-23/adolescents-and-teen-health-news-719/teen-growing-pains-may-persist-for-years-690210.html

Your Teen

More Teens Smoking With Hookahs

2.00 to read

I suppose this could fall into the “everything old is new" category. A recent study says that hookah smoking is gaining in popularity among teens. Actually, I thought hookahs went out with the sixties, but apparently they are making a dramatic come back. In fact, the study says that nearly 1 in 5 high school seniors used the popular water pipe sometime during the last year.

The study’s findings reflected earlier research that showed teens of families in the higher economic strata were more likely to use hookahs as well as males, white students, those who already smoke cigarettes, and those who had previously used alcohol, marijuana or other illicit substances.

The national data sampled 5,540 high-school seniors between 2010 and 2012.

"When it comes to cigarette smoking, at least now, we tend to think of it as more associated with lower socioeconomic status and lower parental education," says lead study author Joseph Palamar, an assistant professor of population health at NYU Langone Medical Center. That was the exact opposite for students most likely to engage in using hookahs, he says.

"Given the cost of frequenting hookah bars, it is not surprising that wealthier students, as indicated by higher weekly income, are more regular visitors, although it remains unknown what proportion of hookah use occurs in hookah bars versus in homes or other noncommercial settings," the study noted.

Data for the study came from the University of Michigan's Monitoring the Future survey, which recently reported that hookah smoking among high-school seniors in the past year rose to 21%.

Many people think that hookah smoking is less harmful than cigarette smoking. But that’s not true says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It notes that many of the same cigarette smoking health risks apply to hookah smoking.

Other research shows hookahs — which use specially made tobacco known as shisha, available in a variety of fruit and candy flavors — deliver tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide in even higher doses than cigarettes.

A 2005 World Health Organization report said that a water-pipe smoker may inhale as much smoke during one session as a cigarette smoker would inhale consuming 100 or more cigarettes.

Some non-tobacco hookah products claim that they can be used without the health risks of tobacco products. The CDC says studies of tobacco-based and herbal versions of shisha show that smoke from both types "contain carbon monoxide and other toxic agents known to increase the risks for smoking-related cancers, heart disease, and lung disease."

Another myth associated with hookahs is that the water used in a hookah acts as a filter to remove harmful ingredients. Not so say heath experts.

Many modern hookahs have imaginative designs and are brightly colored. They are coolly intended to attract a younger generation of customers. 

There are also new products such as electronic smoking devices known as hookah pens, hookah sticks and e-hookahs that have recently come on the market may be the next step in "normalizing" hookah use and making it seem like the cool thing to try and many are falling for it.

So, you might want to talk to your teen about hookahs and hear what they have to say. I’m betting there are a lot of misconceptions about the health risks of hookah smoking especially if it contains non-tobacco products.

The study was published in the journal Pediatrics.

Source: Michelle Healy, http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/07/07/hookah-use-high-school-seniors/12074889/

Your Teen

Teens: Smoking Less, Texting While Driving More

2.00 to read

Teenagers are particularly vulnerable to emotional highs and lows and it typically shows in their behavior. Mixed in with lots of good days and excellent choices are temptations and decisions that put them at high risk for dangerous and sometimes deadly outcomes. It’s all part of the adolescent stage of life.

The good news is that a recent survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows teenagers are smoking cigarettes, using drugs, fighting and drinking alcohol less.

They’re also more likely to wear their seatbelts and helmets when they are supposed to.

On the flip side, more teens are obese and not getting enough sleep.

However, the most troubling new data shows that more than 40% of teenagers who drive cars admit to having texted or emailed while driving recently.

"We're encouraged to see that high school students are making better choices in some areas, like smoking, fighting, and alcohol use," said CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD.

However, other areas are concerning, he said, including the amount of time students spend glued to a screen instead of being active and a relatively new worry -- texting or emailing while driving.

Two in five of the 64% of students who reported driving in the 30 days before the survey also said they had been texting or emailing while behind the wheel, according to Stephanie Zaza, MD, director of the agency's Division of Adolescent and School Health.

"This puts them and other drivers at risk," she said.

On the whole though, there’s been really good progress made in teenager’s safety and health.

“I think it's really encouraging that we're seeing the lowest cigarette smoking rate ever,” Frieden told NBC News.

While smoking is the single biggest preventable cause of death in the United States — it causes heart disease, cancer and lung disease — teenagers face a more immediate risk. The single biggest killer of teens is motor vehicle crashes, causing 23% of deaths among 10 to 24-year-olds, CDC says.

Frieden believes that there’s a reason teens are buckling up more, whether they are behind the wheel or riding as a passenger.

“These positive trends didn't just happen. They're the result of hard work in communities all over the country — doing things like protecting kids from secondhand smoke, passing laws that are graduated driving laws so that kids don't drink and drive,” he said.

On the texting front, older teen drivers may do it more often. CDC found that 58% of high school seniors admitted to texting while driving.

Another positive statistic is that fewer teens are having sex. Unfortunately this good news is tempered with a down side. Teen sex is decreasing but so is condom use.

Just over a third of teenagers are currently sexually active.

Teens should use condoms even if they are also using other contraception, Frieden said. Pregnancy is a big worry, but STDs are even more likely, and Frieden fears "there may be a sense that, well, there's treatment for HIV so it's not such a terrible problem.”

There may be treatments for HIV but there’s no cure. People must take pills every single day for life and the virus can develop resistance to those medications.

The other long-term risks to health are poor diet and a lack of exercise. Teens are trying, but not reaching targets there, the survey indicates.

Results of this survey show that teens are making progress in some important safety and health related areas and, like most of us, need work in others. The fact that fewer teens are smoking is very good news. The increase in texting while driving is very troubling but not surprising considering that adults are doing the same thing.

Many of the safety and health issues teens are experiencing are not much different from what adults are doing and that’s where parents and guardians can make a big difference. Kids are much more likely to control their own behavior better when they see their parents doing the same.

Sources: Maggie Fox, http://www.nbcnews.com/health/kids-health/teen-smoking-sex-hit-new-lows-texting-fat-are-new-n129541

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