10 Trouble Spots for Teenagers
In one to two weeks it's back to school for high-school and college students. Many parents believe that when their children become teenagers they can fend for themselves and don't need or want much parental supervision. However, this is a time when parents need to pay attention to their children, be aware of potential dangers, and take action when necessary.
Consumer Reports just published an article written by Orly Avitzur, MD, medical adviser to Consumers Union, which highlights 10 troubling teen behaviors that parents should look out for and understand the possible consequences:
1. The popularity of the Twilight movie series, and True Blood and The Vampire Diaries on TV has led to vampire mania and a rise in biting, cutting and blood sucking among teens. Of course this can lead to infection and HIV transmission.
2. Lady Gaga has popularized circle contact lenses which cover the iris and make the eyes look huge. These lenses are illegal but available online and many teenagers are buying them. They can lead to infection and cornea damage.
3. ADHD drugs have been used by students for years to help their "concentration" in studying and during exams, including teens who don't have attention deficit disorders. These drugs do carry side effects and shouldn't be used by students who don't have a prescription or doctor supervision.
4.Tobacco use has branched out from cigarettes to hookahs where tobacco is mixed with fruit flavors, and "snus" which is an oral tobacco also in a variety of fruity flavors. Students think these are less potent sources of nicotine but they are addictive and can cause cancer just like cigarettes and chewing tobacco.
5. Because of TV shows and celebrity publicity, tanning salons are still very popular with teenagers even though they know that excessive exposure to tanning beds, particularly at their age, can dramatically increase the odds of getting skin cancer.
6. Tattoos are everywhere even though state laws prohibit minors from getting them; law enforcement is lax to say the least. According to Dr. Avitzur, recent studies have indicated that over one third of adults under 35 have at least one tattoo. It has been estimated that tattoos account for twice as many Hepatitis C infections as injection drug use and they can also lead to other infections. Teens looking to get a tattoo should go to a reputable, licensed tattoo parlor.Continued on the next page