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Healthwatch
Sexually Transmitted Infections: What Parents Need To Be Sure Their Teens Know
~4.0 mins read

A conceptual drawing of a kiss showing two young people from below the knees, one on tiptoes in untied red sneakers and cropped pants, one in black sneakers

It's never easy for parents to talk to their teens about having sex. Many parents feel that talking about it is the same as condoning it, so they are hesitant to do so. But according to the most recent Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), a national survey of high school students, by the end of high school 30% have had sex.

It can be impossible to know for sure if your teen has had sex. Even if they haven't, it's likely that at some point they will — and they need to have information to help keep themselves safe and healthy.

What parents should know about sexually transmitted infections

Sexually transmitted infections, or STIs, are very common. They may be caused by bacteria, viruses, or other microorganisms, and spread through all kinds of sex. While most STIs are treatable, they can affect fertility in both women and men, can cause health problems for a baby during pregnancy, and can sometimes lead to lifelong infection or serious complications. That's why teens need to know about them.

Below are the high-level facts about some of the most common infections: what causes them, what symptoms may occur, and how they are treated.

Chlamydia

Chlamydia is the most frequently reported bacterial STI in the United States — but just as many cases are asymptomatic, so the numbers may be higher than we realize.

Symptoms, if they are present, can include discharge from the vagina or penis, pain with urination, or pain and swelling of the testicles (this is rare). A test of the urine (or a swab from the affected area) can diagnose it, and it is curable with antibiotics. If left untreated it can lead to infertility, more commonly in women than men.

Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is another STI caused by a bacteria, and it can also be asymptomatic. When symptoms occur, they are very similar to chlamydia. Gonorrhea also can cause infertility in both women and men. While it is treatable, some infections have been resistant to the usual antibiotics used, so additional testing and treatment is sometimes needed.

Trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis is caused by a protozoa. It is another STI that can be asymptomatic. When there are symptoms, they are usually itch, irritation, and discharge. It is curable with medication.

Syphilis

Syphilis has been on the rise. In the first stage of infection there is usually a firm, round, painless sore where the infection entered the body. The sore is generally there for three to six weeks, but as it is painless it may go unnoticed.

In the second stage there is a more extensive rash, though it can be faint and go unnoticed, along with general feelings of illness such as fever, sore throat, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, or weight loss.

If syphilis still goes unnoticed it can linger in the body for years, sometimes affecting organ systems, including the brain. It is curable with antibiotics, but if found late the damage it can do may be permanent. This infection can be very serious during pregnancy.

HSV

HSV (herpes simplex virus) causes blistering sores. There is both oral herpes (mouth sores) and genital herpes. Oral herpes, caused by HSV1, is not usually caused by sex — but it can lead to genital herpes through oral sex. Genital herpes is more commonly caused by HSV2.

The sores of herpes can recur throughout life. There is no cure for herpes, but there are medications that can shorten or prevent outbreaks. This infection can be particularly dangerous during pregnancy, although the risks can be managed with good prenatal care.

HPV

HPV (human papilloma virus) is the most common sexually transmitted infection. It can be transmitted even by close skin-to-skin touch, and infections are generally asymptomatic.

Most cases of HPV (90%) get better by themselves — but if they don't, over time the virus can cause genital warts or certain cancers. Luckily, there is an effective vaccine to prevent HPV that can be given starting at age 9.

HIV

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is more common among people who have other STIs — mostly because having STIs is a sign of risky sexual behavior. It can be very hard to know if a person has it, because the early symptoms can feel like having the flu, and then people can move into a long period of time of having no symptoms at all.

While there is no cure for HIV, there are medications to control it, as well as medications that can prevent it.

Talking to teens about preventing STIs

All of this sounds scary. But there are actually some simple things teens can do to prevent infections or minimize complications, which is why parents need to talk with them.

Teens can:

  • Use condoms every single time they have sex — and use them properly. According to the report mentioned above, about half of sexually active high schoolers don't use condoms regularly.
  • Limit their number of sexual partners — and have frank conversations with those partners before having sex. Asking about sexual history, and getting testing before starting a sexual relationship, can make a difference.
  • Get tested regularly. Sexually active teens should be tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia every year, or more frequently based on their sexual history or symptoms. Testing for other infections may be a good idea too. In the YRBS, 95% of high schoolers had not been tested for STIs in the past year, which is frightening given that nearly a third report being sexually active.
  • Make sure your teen sees their doctor regularly. And encourage them to be honest with their doctor during their visits. As a parent, you can help by giving your teen confidential time alone with the doctor.

    Source: Harvard Health Publishing

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    Healthwatch
    Strong Legs Help Power Summer Activities: Hiking, Biking, Swimming, And More
    ~3.7 mins read

    Older woman wearing black cycling clothes and a blue helmet riding a bicycle on a roadway with flowering trees bushes and tress lining the roadside

    My favorite summer activities officially kick in when the calendar flips to May. It's prime time for open water swimming, running, cycling, hiking, and anything else that gets me outside and moving. Yet, my first step is to get my legs in shape.

    "Legs are the foundation for most activities," says Vijay Daryanani, a physical therapist at Harvard-affiliated Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. "They're home to some of the body's largest muscles, and building healthy legs can improve one's performance, reduce injury, and increase endurance."

    Four leg muscle groups to build for summer activities

    Four muscles do the most leg work: quadriceps, gluteus maximus (glutes), hamstrings, and calves. Here is a look at each.

    Quadriceps (quads). Also known as the thigh muscles, the quads are a group of four muscles (hence the prefix "quad'). They extend your leg at the knee and power every leg action: stand, walk, run, kick, and climb.

    Glutes. The body's largest muscles, the glutes (your buttock muscles) keep you upright and help the hips and thighs propel your body forward.

    Hamstrings. The hamstrings are a group of three muscles that run along the back of your thighs from the hip to just below the knee. They allow you to extend your leg straight behind your body and support hip and knee movements.

    Calves. Three muscles make up the calf, which sits in the back of the lower leg, beginning below the knee and extending to the ankle. They work together to move your foot and lower leg and push you forward when you walk or run.

    Spotlight muscle strength and length

    Strength and length are the most important focus for building summer-ready legs, says Daryanani. "Strengthening leg muscles increases power and endurance, and lengthening them improves flexibility to protect against injury."

    If you are new to exercise or returning to it after time off, first get your legs accustomed to daily movement. "Start simply by walking around your home nonstop for several minutes each day, or climbing up and down stairs," says Daryanani.

    After that, adopt a walking routine. Every day, walk at a moderate pace for 20 to 30 minutes. You can focus on covering a specific distance (like one or two miles) or taking a certain number of steps by tracking them on your smartphone or fitness tracker. You won't just build leg strength — you'll reap a wide range of health benefits.

    There are many different leg muscle-building exercises, some focused on specific activities or sports. Below is a three-move routine that targets the four key leg muscles. Add them to your regular workout or do them as a leg-only routine several times a week. (If you have any mobility issues, especially knee or ankle problems, check with your doctor before starting.)

    To help lengthen your leg muscles and increase flexibility, try this daily stretching routine that includes several lower-body stretches.

    Dumbbell squats

    Muscles worked: glutes and quads

    Reps: 8-12

    Sets: 1-2

    Rest: 30-90 seconds between sets

    Starting position: Stand with your feet apart. Hold a weight in each hand with your arms at your sides and palms facing inward.

    Movement: Slowly bend your hips and knees, leaning forward no more than 45 degrees and lowering your buttocks down and back about eight inches. Pause. Slowly rise to an upright position.

    Tips and techniques:

  • Don't round or excessively arch your back
  • Make it easier: Do the move without holding weights.

    Make it harder: Lower yourself at a normal pace. Hold briefly. Stand up quickly.

    Reverse lunge

    Muscles worked: quads, glutes, hamstrings

    Reps: 8-12

    Sets: 1-3

    Rest: 30-90 seconds between sets

    Starting position: Stand straight with your feet together and your arms at your sides, holding dumbbells.

    Movement: Step back onto the ball of your left foot, bend your knees, and lower into a lunge. Your right knee should align over your right ankle, and your left knee should point toward (but not touch) the floor. Push off your left foot to stand and return to the starting position. Repeat, stepping back with your right foot to do the lunge on the opposite side. This is one rep.

    Tips and techniques:

  • Keep your spine neutral when lowering into the lunge.
  • Don't lean forward or back.
  • As you bend your knees, lower the back knee directly down toward the floor with the thigh perpendicular to the floor.
  • Make it easier: Do lunges without weights.

    Make it harder: Step forward into the lunges, or use heavier weights.

    Calf raises

    Muscles worked: calves

    Reps: 8-12

    Sets: 1-2

    Rest: 30 seconds between sets

    Starting position: Stand with your feet flat on the floor. Hold on to the back of a chair for balance.

    Movement: Raise yourself up on the balls of your feet as high as possible. Hold briefly, then lower yourself.

    Make it easier: Lift your heels less high off the floor.

    Make it harder: Do one-leg calf raises. Tuck one foot behind the other calf before rising on the ball of your foot; do sets for each leg. Or try doing calf raises without holding on to a chair.

    Source: Harvard Health Publishing

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    Instablog9ja
    Minimum Wage: Anything Less Than ₦100K Is An Ins¥lt To Civil Servants — Senator Ned Nwoko
    ~1.0 mins read

    Senator Ned Nwoko, representing Delta North Senatorial District, has proposed ₦100,000 as the new minimum wage for Nigerian workers.

    Speaking at the a recent event in Abuja, Nwoko stated that anything less than ₦100,000 would be an ins¥lt to civil servants, SunNews reports.

    According to him: “There are so many problems in Nigeria, from the economy to security issues, minimum wage and all of that.

    If you ask me about minimum wage, I will say that, at least, everybody deserves a rise. Even if we say a hundred thousand naira, I will think it is the ideal thing. But look, what can a hundred thousand naira do for anybody? Tell me, how many bags of rice can that buy? How many fuel tanks can that fill? So we have to be realistic about our economy.

    Government is meant to provide an environment for those who are doing business to do well or create jobs where possible. But we must have a minimum wage. It is not very good, to put it mildly, when people are paid a minimum wage that is abysmal and they are not able to achieve the basic needs of life.

    So, I think that a minimum wage of one hundred thousand naira is not out of place. That should be the beginning. That kind of amount should be what we should be looking at. Anything less than that is an ins¥lt on the civil servant.”

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    Healthwatch
    Have You Exfoliated Lately?
    ~3.2 mins read

    Exfoliation products arranged diagonally on a cream-colored background: brushes, pumice stones, rough-knit mitt, serums, lotions & more

    Social media has a way of making the ho-hum seem fresh and novel. Case in point: exfoliation, the process of removing dead cells from the skin's outer layer. Anyone scrolling through TikTok lately might be convinced this longtime skin care approach can transform something old — let's say our aging epidermis — into like-new skin.

    But a Harvard dermatologist says that's asking too much.

    "I don't think exfoliation is going to fix anybody's wrinkles," says Rachel Reynolds, MD, interim chair of dermatology at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. While exfoliation offers definite benefits, it can also irritate and inflame the skin if you don't do it carefully, or use tools or chemicals your skin doesn't tolerate.

    How is exfoliation done?

    There are two main ways to exfoliate: mechanical and chemical. Each boasts specific advantages.

  • Mechanical (or physical) exfoliation uses a tool such as a brush or loofah sponge, or a scrub containing abrasive particles, to physically remove dead skin cells. "Mechanical exfoliation can improve skin luster by taking off a dead layer of skin that can make it look dull," Dr. Reynolds says. "And it can help unclog pores a bit, which can reduce some types of acne."
  • Chemical exfoliation uses chemicals — often alpha and beta hydroxy acids or salicylic acid — to liquify dead skin cells. "Chemical exfoliants work on a more micro-level to help dissolve excess skin cells and reduce uneven pigmentation sitting at the surface of the skin," she explains. "They also restore skin glow, improve acne, and give the skin a little more shine."
  • Why do skin care products so often promote exfoliation?

    Perhaps hundreds of commercially available skin care products — from body washes to cleansers to face masks — are labeled as exfoliating, Dr. Reynolds notes. But she's skeptical about why such a wide array of items plug this feature so prominently.

    "It's advantageous for a cosmetics company to sell consumers more products in a skin care line," she says. "But it's buyer beware, because this is a completely unregulated market, and cosmetic companies can make claims that don't have to be substantiated in actual clinical trials."

    Do we need to exfoliate our skin?

    No. "Nothing happens if you don't exfoliate — you just walk around with bumpy or slightly dry skin, which is inconsequential except for cosmetic reasons," Dr. Reynolds says.

    "No one has to exfoliate, but it can be helpful to exfoliate the arms and legs," she adds. "As we age, these areas get more dry than other parts of the body, and people notice they build up a lot more flaking skin and an almost fish-scale appearance."

    That phenomenon may or may not be a sign of keratosis pilaris, a common but harmless skin condition characterized by rough, bumpy "chicken skin" on the upper arms and thighs. Physical exfoliators are a good first choice because keratosis pilaris covers areas that have tougher skin than the face, she says. But it's fine to use a cleanser or lotion containing a chemical exfoliant instead. Either type can improve skin texture and the skin's appearance.

    Can exfoliation harm our skin?

    Yes. Both physical and chemical exfoliation techniques can do more harm than good, depending on several factors. Sensitive skin is more likely to become irritated or inflamed by any exfoliant. And overdoing it — whether by rubbing too hard or using a product with higher concentrations of acid — can trigger irritant contact dermatitis, which can look red, angry, and chapped.

    "Physical exfoliation that's done too harshly can also aggravate inflammatory acne, making it worse," Dr. Reynolds says. "Also, exfoliating can make you more prone to sunburn."

    What are the safest ways to exfoliate?

    Dr. Reynolds recommends chemical exfoliants over physical versions. "Sometimes the abrasives in those apricot scrubs, for example, can go too far, aggravating the skin and creating inflammation," she says.

    She offers these additional tips to exfoliate safely:

  • If you haven't exfoliated before, start with a simple washcloth to determine how well your skin responds to mild attempts at physical exfoliation.
  • Then try gentler chemical exfoliants, such as lower concentrations of hydroxy acids or salicylic acid. Work your way up to stronger concentrations only if needed.
  • If you're hoping to eradicate stubborn skin problems such as melasma (brown facial patches) or comedonal acne (small, skin-colored bumps often on the forehead or chin), consider undergoing a chemical peel at a dermatologist's office.
  • Don't exfoliate every day. "At most, do it two or three times a week," Dr. Reynolds says. "Your skin needs to repair itself in between exfoliation episodes."

    Source: Harvard Health Publishing

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    Instablog9ja
    Singer Davido Confirms He And Chef Chioma Are Getting Married In Lagos On June 25, 2024. 🎥: @tobiadegboyega_
    ~0.3 mins read

    Nigerian singer David Adeleke, popularly known as Davido, has confirmed the news of his upcoming wedding to his partner, Chioma Rowland.

    It was recently reported that singer and chef Chioma are set to hold their traditional wedding in Lagos on June 25, 2024.

    Davido has now confirmed the reports in a video which went viral on Tuesday.

    Continue reading on Instablog

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    Investopedia
    Dell Stock Rises Amid AI Optimism From Bank Of America Analyst
    ~0.9 mins read

    Dell Technologies (DELL) stock has the potential to significantly outperform next year because of “multiple catalysts,” including artificial intelligence (AI) demand, according Bank of America analyst Wamsi Mohan.

    The tech giant's AI hardware revenue and margins on deferred revenue suggest "there will be material [earnings per share] EPS upside over time," Mohan wrote in a note Thursday.

    He added that PC shipment cycle and storage margins improvement at Dell “should drive incremental upside as well.”

    Mohan maintained a "buy" rating on the stock, “on AI upside in servers, PC refresh, and strong capital return." He also kept BofA's $180 price target.

    Shares of Dell Technologies hit an all-time high last month after Morgan Stanley also praised the company’s AI momentum. The stock price has lost ground since then after earnings failed to impress investors, but it’s still up roughly 79% so far this year. Dell shares were about 2.5% higher at $135.20 on Thursday at 3:45 p.m. ET.

    Do you have a news tip for Investopedia reporters? Please email us at tips@investopedia.com

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