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Thayer Academy

Health & Wellness fall

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winter

We’ve created this newsletter to help inform parents on the various topics that are being discussed We’ve created this newsletter to help inform that parents various topics that are being discussed in Freshman Health classes. We are hoping this on willthe open the lines of communication between in Freshman Health classes. We are hoping that this will open the lines of communication between parent and child. Please read the newsletter and go to the different websites to educate yourself parent and child. Please read the newsletter and go to the different websites to educate yourself even more, as what we put in this newsletter is limited information. Even if you think, “my child even more, as what we put in this newsletter is limited information. Even if you think, “my child would would never,” never,” itit still still does does not not hurt hurt to to have have a a conversation. conversation. Sometimes, Sometimes, a a parent parent who who takes takes the the time time to approach their child to discuss these issues, can make all the difference.

The Choking Game? There is a universal “game” that a number of young adults, mainly ages 9-16, are taking part in. This isn’t a “game” at all, but a dangerous activity that is killing and injuring teens and preteens.

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The “Choking Game” has been around for years and unfortunately, has hit the Thayer community. The object of the “game” is asphyxiation, and can be played in groups or by an individual. Individuals apply pressure to the throat (their own or others) to restrict oxygen and/or blood flow to the brain, therefore creating a desired sense of euphoria. Some adolescents consider this a safer alternative than using alcohol or drugs.

There are many different names associated with this game that are important to know, as sometimes kids carry on conversations about the game right in front of their parents. Please educate yourself by viewing the four video links to the left, and by reading the articles and websites listed below. You will find out what you can do, signs/ symptoms, the various names, why it is so addictive and why so many adolescents are dying.

WEB ARTICLES  www.middleearthnj.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/the-choking-game  www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_Choking_Game_Proves  www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1953653,00.html WEBSITES  www.chokinggame.net  www.gaspinfo.com

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OTC & Prescription Drugs When one hears about kids abusing drugs, most often one thinks of illegal drugs (marijuana, cocaine, heroin, etc), not the type of drugs that are easily accessible at home in a medicine cabinet or at a store. There has been a recent rise in the abuse of prescription drugs by teens; 20% of the students surveyed report taking a prescription drug without a doctor’s prescription. Some over-the-counter drugs such as Sudafed, pseudoephedrine, ibuprofen, Tylenol and cough medicine are often abused by teens. In fact, many students have their first experience abusing drugs with over-the-counter medications. The availability of over-the-counter medications that contain DXM (many cough medicines) is a major concern. Many teens will combine the abuse of over-thecounter drugs with other drugs such as alcohol or prescription medications. The combination of drugs may, in many cases, produce dangerous or even fatal side effects.

Alcohol

If you suspect your child may be abusing over-the-counter drugs or prescription medications, please speak with your child and be direct. There are number of resources that are available to assist you in confronting your child. The following web sites will provide you with the information and resources that will facilitate a meaningful conversation. Please visit the following web sites for more info:  www.kidshealth.org/teen/drug_alcohol  www.drugfree.org  www.theantidrug.com

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Stress Stress is a feeling that is created when we react to particular events. It is the body’s way of rising to a challenge and preparing to meet a tough situation with focus, strength, stamina, and heightened alertness. Stress is a natural occurrence in our lives and each of us deals with stress in different ways. During the teenage years, one is faced with a myriad of stressors, which if not recognized and dealt with, could possibly result in anxiety, depression, rebellion and/or withdrawal.

Teens are searching for an identity, dealing with puberty, trying to fit in, all while handling academics, athletics, peer pressure, home life, relationships, - the list goes on. As parents, it is important that one is in tune with their child and is able to recognize any changes in their behavior. Anxiety, irritability, headaches, stomach problems, problems sleeping, sadness and/or depression are just a few signs of stress overload.

For more information on Teen Stress, go to:  www.life.familyeducation.com/teen/stress/34465.html  www.lifespan.org/services/childhealth/parenting/teen-stress.htm

Alcohol, unfortunately, is something that will always be intriguing and exciting to teens. As Educators, we do our best to teach teenagers about the physiological and psychological effects alcohol may have on one’s mind and body.

It is important for the students to know that their bodies and minds are not yet fully developed, and that ingesting any type of alcohol and/or drugs can inhibit the mind and/or body from reaching its full potential and have life long effects. Exposure to alcohol at an early age has been linked to a number of physical and social diseases, and can have a major effect on brain function and an individual’s ability to process decisions. By clarifying misinformation and in providing our students with the ability to make sound judgments, we are hoping that students will avoid using alcohol at this stage of their lives. The Centers for Disease Control manage the Youth Risk Behavior Survey; a survey that gathers data from adolescents on a myriad of topics. Thayer Academy did not participate in the survey but the results are most likely consistent with our

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It is not uncommon for teens to have a “pharm party” or “skittles party.” Partygoers bring whatever medication is available, combine the pills into a bowl and then take turns reaching in and grabbing a pill or two to ingest.

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population. Specifically, 35% of 9th graders report drinking alcohol on at least 1 day within the 30 days prior to the survey. Teens that use alcohol rarely have just one serving of alcohol (one 12 oz. can of beer = one 4.5 oz. of wine = one 1.25oz of hard liquor), 14% of 9th graders had 5 or more drinks in a row within a couple of hours on at least one occasion during the 30 day period. Every time we turn around there seems to be some company somewhere creating a new product. Two of the most recent have been Alcohol infused whip cream and Four Loko, otherwise known as “Blackout in a Can”. Four Loko, an alcoholic/ energy drink , has been in the news recently and is a product aimed at the college age population and subsequently, adolescents. Over the past few weeks, Four Loko has been banned in a number of states, as people have realized the dangers of mixing alcohol and caffeine. Banning this beverage is a huge step

in keeping our kids safe, but we must keep in mind that there are still energy drinks out there that can be purchased and combined with alcohol. It is important for the adults in our students’ lives, to continually encourage them not to use alcohol, and give them reasons not to drink. Adolescents may make bad choices, but it is important for adults in their lives not to enable or encourage those choices. There is no such thing as safe drinking, particularly for adolescents. Please visit the following web sites for more info:

 www.thayer.org to review School Wide Policies  Youth Risk Behavior Survey  Teens and Alcohol  SADD stats  SALSA

Muscular Fitness is an important part of everyone’s overall health. Helping to reduce stress, helping to prevent disease and injury, improving self-esteem and sleeping habits are just some of the benefits. Thayer’s fitness Center is a great place to workout, as you will find a variety of machines, free weights and other alternative types of resistance. The Thayer Fitness Center is open weekdays from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm for faculty, staff and students. Sophie Browne, the strength and conditioning coach, is available to create individualized programs to meet the specific needs and goals of each student, as well as helping them with proper mechanics.

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Bullying & Harrassment Here in Massachusetts, it would be difficult not to have heard about the suicide of Phoebe Prince, and the pending lawsuits from the bullying she was forced to endure. Over the years, there have been a countless number of children/teens that have chosen to take their own lives, so that their torment would end. Please do everything you can to raise awareness with your children, so that the preventable act of bullying does not claim another young life. Too often people take on the attitude that “kids will be kids” and that “teasing/bullying” is a part of growing up, but it is not. No one deserves to be ridiculed, shunned, embarrassed, teased, humiliated, or physically, mentally or emotionally abused. In this age of computers, cell phones, text messages & social networks; times have changed. Anonymous instant messages, texts, emails & posts on social networks have changed the face of bullying, as we once knew it. No longer can you spot the big, rough kid on the playground stealing kids milk money. Bullying & harassment has taken to nameless, faceless attacks. Kids can be mean, under the guise of “teasing”. The students here seem to have the impression that “teasing” is okay and that bullying doesn’t exist here at Thayer. We have watched several news pieces and had many discussions that hopefully will allow your children to open up and discuss some of these topics with you. Do you remember this one? - “Stick and stones may break your bones, but names will never hurt you.” We can see now that words CAN hurt, and that hurt can change lives forever.

Please take a few moments to watch the video (click on the link to the left). When seen from the eyes of the victim, it may help put things in a different perspective.

RESOURCES  Thayer Academy Anti-Bullying Policies  www.kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/behavior/bullies.html

Thayer Academy Contacts  Wendi Happ Director of Health & Wellness  whapp@thayer.org

 Sophie Browne

Nurse  kmonahan@thayer.org

 781.664.2239

 781.664.2299

 Ellen Malloy

 Shelley Creager

Head Athletic Trainer

 emalloy@thayer.org  781.664.2273

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 Kathy Monahan

Thayer Academy

Strength & Conditioning  sbrowne@thayer.org

 781.664.2245

Nurse

 screager@thayer.org  781.664.2463

745 Washington Street Braintree, Massachusetts 02184 www.thayer.org

Health & Wellness Newsletter Fall/Winter 2010-2011  

Health and wellness articles for teenage readers

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