A Message to Teens

Do you have a problem with your social life, or romantic involvements? Are you having difficulties with your studies? Are you concerned about your weight, height, musculature, hair growth, appearance, or skin problems? Do you have new or ongoing health issues that bring additional challenges, now that you are a teen?

If you’ve been coming to our office for a while, you know you can count on us for your good physical, behavioral and environmental health. Rather than judge you or preach to you, we respect your viewpoint as an individual.

Some questions can be difficult to ask with your parents in the room. Did you know that you can arrange for a private session with Dr. Bukur-Doczy and Nurse Liss as part of your check-up? We want you to know that you can talk about anything with us and we’ll respect your privacy. We can give you reliable information and treatment.

Let us know if there are any links that you would like to see added to this part of our website.


Some of this information was adapted from  the American Academy of Pediatrics. View more at www.healthychildren.org

Staying Healthy in College

Keeping yourself healthy is the best way to avoid getting sick. The three most iimportant things you can do are rest, eat well, and exercise.

Rest

Too little sleep can cause problems, such as:

  • You may be more likely to catch colds and other minor illnesses. Your body cannot fight off germs as well when you are tired and run down.
  • You are more likely to feel stressed or become depressed.
  • You may have a hard time staying awake in class.
  • You may have trouble concentrating on papers and tests.

So be sure to get about 8 to 9 hours of sleep a night whenever you can.

Eat well

Vending-machine food or fast food may be quick and cheap when you are busy and on a budget, but eating well is extremely important. If you eat in your school’s cafeteria, try to eat different foods each day.

  • Eat fruits and vegetables every day (your goal should be five a day).
  • Eat lean meats, fish, and poultry.
  • Choose foods high in calcium, like low-fat dairy products.
  • Limit junk food or foods with a lot of fat, sugar, and salt.
  • Limit sugary drinks such as pop, juice, sweetened teas or coffees, and sport drinks.

If you are a vegetarian, it is possible to eat healthy at college. However, this may require some additional planning to make sure you get all the nutrients you need.

Exercise

An important part of staying healthy is getting enough exercise. There are three basic types of exercise, and ideally everyone should do all three.

  • Aerobic exercise strengthens your heart and lungs. These are activities like biking, running, fast walking, swimming, active dancing, and rowing
  • Strengthening exercises tone and build muscles and bone mass. You can do this by doing sit-ups, push-ups, and leg lifts, or by working out with weights or resistance bands.
  • Stretching exercises, like yoga, improves your flexibility or range of motion.

If you don’t have time to work out there are many ways to sneak exercise into your day. Instead of driving or taking a bus to class, try walking or riding a bike. If you are not used to exercising, or if you have a chronic health problem, talk with your pediatrician or the student health service before starting an exercise program.


Health care on campus

If you are going to live on campus, check to see if your school has a student health service. It’s a place you can go for medical care, advice, information, and counseling. Student health services are usually well-staffed with a variety of health professionals. They also know pediatricians and other physicians in the area in case you need additional care.

Newton Pediatrics can be available for any support or other healthcare needs. We have a mental health specialist on staff and a psychologist and psychiatrist in our office.


Contact your pediatrician


Even though you’re now in college, your pediatrician still cares about your health. You can call your pediatrician any time you have questions. If you live nearby you can continue to make appointments, or come in when you are home on break. You may even want to see your pediatrician for a physical before you start school (your school might require it).

We at Newton Pediatrics will be happy to bridge the gap between home and school. We collaborate with your new pediatricians or subspecialists regarding chronic illness and mental health issues, and manage prescriptions in a safe and professional environment.


Drinking and drugging

The legal drinking age is 21 in every state. Check your school’s policy on drinking. Some campuses have alcohol-free dorms.

As you know, alcohol is readily available, even if you are under age. What is your own relationship to drinking? How can you tell if you have a drinking problem? Are your parents alcoholics? We invite you to have a conversation with us about your drinking behavior, attitudes, family background, and what medical research has to offer you to help inform your choices.

What about drugs? What happens in your body when you use various drugs? What happens when drugs are combined? If the drugs have additives, what effects do those have on you? What about drinking and drugging combined?  Newton Pediatrics is a safe place to share the social and physical realities you experience in relation to substances. We are here to support you in reaching your health goals.

If you’ve been drinking, or doing drugs do not drive. Do not get in a car with anyone who has been drinking or drugging.


Smoking

Everyone knows that smoking, both tobacco and marijuana, creates serious health problems, but what can you do if you are already a smoker? We can share techniques especially designed to help you work with all kinds of addictions—just ask.


Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)

Protect yourself! Use condoms. Remember that the more sexual partners you have, the more you are at risk for STDs. Call if you want to talk about an STD or pregnancy. We are here to help and guide you.


Depression/Suicide

Feeling lonely or alone in a crowd is something everyone experiences sometimes, but if you have a constant feeling of profound loneliness, it’s important to talk with a trusted medical source. There are many ways we can help.

Depression can be life threatening. If you feel depressed, please take these feelings seriously. Call someone you trust —a friend, your doctor, your family, or 911. When a person is depressed, it can be very annoying to hear platitudes. But genuine help is all around, even in the most desperate situations. Please reach out.

If you are not sure whether or not you are truly depressed, come and talk with us and we can help you understand moods, and how to deal with them. We also provide a depression screening test.

Clinical depression is a medical condition for which there are many effective treatments. For a depressed mood, sometimes just exercise or talking with a good friend can help.

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call immediately, even after hours. If a friend expresses suicidal thoughts, have them talk to a medical professional immediately.

Even if it may not feel like it in the moment, HELP is here. We care about you.


More Safety Tips

If you are going out or traveling, tell a friend where you will be.

Keep the following information in your wallet, either for your reference or for an emergency:

  • Your name
  • List of allergies & medical conditions
  • Local friend (phone contact)
  • Parents or relatives (phone contact)
  • Pediatrician’s name and phone number
  • Poison control 1-800-222-1222

 


 

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