Hot off the press! In an online study just released by the CDC, "70 percent of high school students are not getting the recommended hours of sleep on school nights". I could have done that study in my office on any given day of the week!!
Having raised 3 teenagers as well as thousands of teens in my practice, I know that sleep is one of the most important needs for teens. Having said that, they are the least likely group to believe/convince that lack of sleep causes a plethora of physical as well as psychological problems.
According to the study, which was just published online in Preventive Medicine, insufficient sleep is associated with numerous "risky" behaviors including drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, fighting, lack of physical activity and being sexually active.
The data on sleep was accumulated from the 2007 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey where students were asked, "On an average school night, how many hours of sleep do you get?" Insufficient sleep was defined as less than 8 hours, while sufficient sleep was 8 or more hours per night. On an average school night, almost 70% of responders reported insufficient sleep. In my practice I ask every child/adolescent about their sleep habits and routinely find teens are averaging between 5 - 7 hours of sleep per night. They also come in everyday with a chief complaint of FATIGUE!
I used to tell my own sons throughout their high school years that they needed to be in bed between 10:30 - 11 pm. They could not understand why I was up "prowling around their rooms" in the dark of night (when I was longing to go to bed!) suggesting, and then demanding, that they go to bed. "No one else has a bedtime in high school" was the common complaint. But I also told them that I made my living out of telling teens (and their parents) that the reason their child "felt badly" was not mono, or a dreaded disease, but lack of sleep. A good history and review of systems was far better than any blood test.
Now the latest study just confirms what we intuitively have already known, adequate sleep leads to other better habits as well. Those teens who did not have adequate sleep also drank more soft drinks (did not include diet), used computers for 3 or more hours every day, admitted to current alcohol, cigarette and marijuana use, were sexually active, and also expressed more feelings of being sad or hopeless or even of having suicidal thoughts. If we could improve these statistics and reduce so many teenage "health risk behaviors" by just having parents enforce bedtimes, it sure seems like an easy sell. So set a time, turn off the electronics and "put your teen to bed". I know they have homework and tests and papers to write.......but they also must be healthy, and rested to make good choices in both school and outside the home.
Oh, the study also found that watching 3 or more hours of television /day was not related to insufficient sleep. You might leave that part out!
That's your daily dose for today. I'm Dr. Sue Hubbard from The Kid's Doctor.
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I recently received a question from a Twitter follower related to cradle cap and dandruff. She wanted to know if there was a difference in the two.
You know there really isn't as they are both to...
You know there really isn't as they are both due to seborrheic dermatitis, an inflammatory condition of the skin in which the skin overproduces skin cells and sebum (the skins natural oil).
Cradle cap is the term used for the scaly dermatitis seen on the scalp in infants. It is also seen on the eyelids, eyebrows, and behind the ears. It is typically seen after about three months of age and will often resolve on its own by the time a baby is eight to 12 months old. It is usually simply a cosmetic problem for a baby as it looks like a yellowish plaque on a baby's scalp and is often not even noticed by anyone other than the parents.
Unlike seborrheic dermatitis in adults, cradle cap typically doesn't itch. It is thought that cradle cap may occur in infancy due to hormonal influences from the mother that were passed across the placenta to the baby.
These hormones cause the sebaceous glands to become over active. In some severe cases an infant's scalp becomes really scaly and inflamed and causes even more parental concern, as it appears that the infant is uncomfortable and may be trying to scratch their head by rubbing it on surfaces.
The treatment for cradle cap is to wash the baby's scalp daily with a mild shampoo and then to use a soft comb or brush to help remove the scales once they have been loosened with washing. When washing the head make sure to get the shampoo behind the ears and in the brows (keeping the soap out of baby's eyes).
This is usually sufficient treatment for most cradle cap. In situations where the greasy scales seem to be worsening it may help to put a small amount of mineral oil or olive oil on the baby's head and let it sit (I left a small amount on my children's heads overnight) and then to shampoo the following day. The oil will help the scales to loosen up and come off more easily.
For babies that have very inflamed irritated cradle cap a visit to your pediatrician may be warranted to confirm the diagnosis. In persistent cases I often recommend shampooing several times a week with a dandruff shampoo that has either selenium (Selsun) or zinc pyrithione (Head and Shoulders) making sure not to get any in the infant's eyes. I may then also use a hydrocortisone cream or foam on the scalp that will lessen the inflammation and itching. In these cases it may take several weeks to totally clear up the problem.
As children get older, especially during puberty, you may see a return of seborrhea as dandruff. Again you can use dandruff shampoos. It also seems that with the overproduction of sebum there is an overgrowth of a fungus called malessizia so using a shampoo for dandruff as well as a antifungal shampoo (Nizoral) often works.
I have teens alternate different shampoos, as sometimes it seems to work better than always using the same shampoo for months on end. Teens don't like white flakes falling from their scalp and unlike a baby, a teen is worried about the cosmetic issues of seborrhea!
That's your daily dose, we'll chat again tomorrow.
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