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It seemed so much simpler when they were younger. Whether you're sending them back to high school or off to college, there seem to be so many things to consider for the adolescent in your life.

"There are many issues that adolescents face regarding health and wellness, which can seem daunting at times," says Beth Volin, MD, medical director of the Rush Pediatric Primary Care and division director of general pediatrics at Rush University Medical Center.

"When we see adolescents for a typical visit, we find out how they're doing as a whole along with health issues," says Volin. "We'll ask about issues they may be dealing with, such as immediate health issues, school problems, issues with body weight or risky behaviors, like alcohol use."

"We observe the same patient-physician confidentiality with an adolescent that any doctor would with an older patient," says Volin. "So the patient is free to really talk to us about what's bothering him or her. Understanding that our conversation will be confidential can really help a person open up."

As they get older there are fewer routine doctor's visits for adolescents. Therefore, there are fewer opportunities for doctors to check in with an adolescent patient. "The schools have helped us out with the required ninth-grade physical," says Volin. "But we also use any visit, such as when an adolescent comes in with suspected strep throat, to see how a patient is doing physically and mentally, if they're up to date with their vaccines, etc."

"In fact, the recommendations for vaccinations have changed quite a bit in the last couple of years," says Volin.

  • Meningococcal vaccine. The CDC recommends that all students entering middle school and high school and all college freshmen living in dormitories receive the new meningococcal vaccine. This vaccine protects against meningitis.
  • Tetanus, diphtheria and pertusis booster. Theres a brand new tetanus booster that children 11 and older should receive, Volin says. The booster is called Tdap and includes protection for tetanus, diphtheria and something new, a booster for pertusis. This will replace the DT booster that adults used to get.
  • Hepatitis A vaccine. Theres also a new recommendation that all children, not just infants, receive the hepatitis A vaccination, says Volin.
  • HPV vaccine. In the next three to six months we should have some solid recommendations for vaccinating young women for the human papilloma virus or HPV, says Volin. HPV infection has been linked to cervical cancer.

Read the expanded article for more information on more adolescent health issues.

There are also many safety issues that adolescents face. Read Keeping Your Adolescent Safe for more information.

More Information at Your Fingertips:

  • For more information about pediatric services at Rush visit our Rush Childrens Hospital home page.
  • Looking for a doctor? Call toll free: 888 352-RUSH (7874)

Please note: All physicians featured in Discover Rush Online are on the medical faculty of Rush University Medical Center. Some of the physicians featured are in private practice and, as independent practitioners, are not agents or employees of Rush University Medical Center.

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