Talking to Your Teen About Underage Drinking


By the time they reach 8th grade, nearly 50% of all adolescents have had at least one alcoholic drink with over 20% report having been drunk. In addition to being illegal, underage drinking poses high risks. While your child is young, there are significant changes in the body, including rapid hormonal changes and the formation of new networks in the brain. Young adults are extremely vulnerable to alcohol-related brain damage. The immediate and long-term risks associated with underage drinking continue to show the need for prevention and treatment programs.

The 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (link) of more than 13,000 high school students nationwide found that in the past 30 days:

  • 35% drank at least one drink containing alcohol
  • 21% drank five or more drinks containing alcohol
  • 6% drank 10 or more drinks containing alcohol in a row
  • 10% drove after drinking alcohol
  • 22% rode with a driver who have been drinking alcohol

As a parent, you should feel comfortable talking to your children about underage drinking, the risks and the consequences. Often, teens do not consider consequences when making choices like to drink underage, because they do not believe they could get in an accident, or drink so much they pass out. However, alcohol related crashes are greater for drivers aged 16-20 than drivers 21 and older.

Peer pressure plays a huge role in underage drinking, as well as how alcohol is portrayed in the media. Your relationship with your children, how you discipline them, how you communicate with them and your involvement in their life are all huge influences in their choice to drink underage – or not. Communicate with your children, be involved in their lives. Encourage their growing independence, but set appropriate limits. Make it easy for them to share information about their lives, and share information about yours. Perhaps you engaged in risky behavior as a teen that you would like to make sure they do not repeat. You could be open about your teenage years and experiences. But do not glamourize any underage drinking you may have done, and be sure to tell them about the great experiences you had without drinking.

Help your children practice ways to say no to their friends: “No thank you, I’m fine,” or “I’d rather be sober,” are great places to start. Set clear rules about alcohol use and enforce the rules you set.

You need to be a positive role model for your children as well. If you drink, drink responsibly. That means not too much or too often. Do not drive when you have been drinking. Get help if you think you have a problem. And do not give alcohol to your children.

If you have any questions about how to start the conversation with your children, ask their pediatrician. They may have suggestions or resources that will help you along the way.


Talking to Your Teen About Smoking


Did you know that every day nearly 3,800 people younger than 18 smoke their first cigarette? According to the Department of Health and Human Services 2,100 youth who are occasional smokers become daily smokers every single day.

The harmful effects of nicotine in teenagers and young adults creates an important call to action for parents. Don’t wait to start the conversation about the hazards of smoking. If you yourself are a smoker, seek help to quit. 5.6 million children alive today (or 1 in every 13 children) will die early from smoking if we do not do more to reduce current smoking rates.

It may be a tough topic to talk about but it’s an important topic. Teens may be more concerned with the immediate impact smoking has on their lives than they are with their health in the future. Emphasize the immediate negative impacts. Remind them that:

  • Smoking around friends or siblings can be damaging, as secondhand smoke is known to be harmful. (Half of all children between ages 3 and 18 are exposed to cigarette smoke regularly).
  • Teens who smoke tend to be sick more often than their non-smoking peers, and may develop lung problems or have more asthma attacks. If your child is an athlete, this can harm their athletic performance.
  • Smoking has a negative effect on their personal appearance (bad breath, yellow teeth, wrinkly skin).
  • Smoking may lead to the use of alcohol and other drugs.


On the positive end, there are healthier ways to shine within a peer group, by saying no or through unique interests or hobbies. Also remind them about the long-term effects:

  • Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death in the US and in the world.
  • Smoking is well-known to cause heart disease, cancers and stroke.
  • Smoking decreases life expectancy.
  • Nicotine has negative effects on brain development which could have lasting effects on memory and attention.


Remind your child that smoking includes e-cigarettes and hookahs. Both have some of the same dangerous effects as cigarettes. Starting the discussion about smoking when your children are young and continuing it through their high school years is important. You, as the parent, are a role model and the greatest influence on your children’s lives. Set a positive example by quitting smoking if you currently smoke.

They will need consistent reinforcement, support and guidance. Knowing if your children’s friends smoke is important. You may be able to help them practice ways to say no. For example “No thanks – I’m good” or “Gross! Those things stink!”

Help your children understand that TV shows and movies may make smoking look “cool” when in reality it’s very harmful. Remind them it’s much harder to quit smoking than it is to start in the first place. Tell them stories about family members with health problems related to smoking, make it real.

Talking about smoking with your children may seem challenging, but it’s important. If you have questions, ask your child’s doctor for information that may help kick-start or continue the conversation.

Welcome Amanda M. McClure, MD

Please join us in welcoming Amanda M. McClure, MD, to IHA Colon & Rectal Surgery. Dr. McClure has clinical interests in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of colorectal cancer. Dr. McClure specializes in treating diverticulitis, inflammatory bowel disease and anorectal disorders including hemorrhoids, fissures, abscesses and fistulas.She performs specialized testing and treatment for pelvic floor disorders, including constipation and fecal incontinence.





Health Alert: Voluntary Recall of Children’s Cough Syrup

The Perrigo Company is voluntarily recalling two batches of its children’s Guaifenesin grape liquid (100mg/5 mL) and three batches of its children’s Guaifenesin DM cherry liquid (100mg guaifenesin and 5mg dextromethorphan HBr/ 5 ml) after a dosing cup with the wrong markings was included with the 4 oz. bottles. The medications are sold at nine major stores under different brand names across the country. (See below for a full list)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is aware of the recall. A company statement says that using these recalled products “according to labeled instructions with an affected dosing cup is unlikely to result in serious side effects”, and it says that there have been no reports of anyone becoming sick.

“There have been no reports of adverse events to Perrigo as a result of the incorrect dosage markings,” Perrigo’s Chairman and CEO Joseph C. Papa said in a statement. “Perrigo is taking this action to maintain the highest possible product quality standards for our retail customers and consumers. We are taking this action because it is the right thing to do.”

Recalled lots, along with their corresponding branded labels, are listed below:


H.E.B 5LK0592 08/2017
CVS 5MK0340 5MK0340


 Sunmark  5LK0528, 5LK0630   03/2017
 Rite-Aid   5LK0528, 5LK0630  03/2017
 Topcare  5LK0528, 5LK0630, 5LK0779   03/2017
 Kroger  5LK0528, 5LK0630   03/2017
 GoodSense   5LK0528   03/2017
 Dollar General   5LK0630   03/2017
 Care One   5LK0630   03/2017
 CVS  5LK0630   03/2017

 Click here for more information.

Know Your Spots

Protect yourself by knowing the warning signs of skin cancer

Many people are familiar with melanoma, one of the most deadly forms of skin cancer, but are you aware that there are other, more common types of skin cancer that you should be watching for? As we prepare for warmer weather, it is important to know how to prevent and detect skin cancer.

An ounce of prevention

Sun avoidance is key to preventing the development of skin cancer. Ultraviolet (UV) light exposure, such as from the sun or indoor tanning beds, is a known risk factor for the development of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers, especially in fair-skinned individuals.

Avoiding tanning beds, staying out of peak sun exposure (during the mid-day), seeking shade, and wearing long sleeves, pants, and a wide-brimmed hat are your best bets to keep your skin looking younger for longer and for the prevention of skin cancer.

If must expose your skin to the sun, using a sunscreen is helpful. Daily use of a broad-spectrum (UVA and UVB blocking) sunscreen is recommended. In the summer months, a minimum SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 is suggested, but the higher the SPF number, the better. If you use moisturizer or make-up, look for products that contain a sunscreen, and you can skip daily application of a second product to your face. Application of an adequate amount of sunscreen is also important to achieve the desired effect. Approximately one ounce (two tablespoons) is the amount of sunscreen required for one full body application. A thin coat of sunscreen can provide one half or less of the labeled SPF. Check to make sure that your sunscreen is not expired. Even if your sunscreen is labeled as water-resistant, be sure to reapply frequently, especially if you are perspiring or swimming.

Get to know your skin

I recommend a full body self skin examination once per month. Pick a day of the month that is easy to remember, such as the first of the month, or another number of personal significance. If you “know your spots,” it is easier to recognize and treat potential skin cancers at an earlier stage.

Know the warning signs of skin cancer

The most common type of skin cancer is basal cell carcinoma. This is a slow growing skin cancer, but can be locally destructive if left untreated. This presents most commonly as a fragile, pimple-like bump that bleeds easily. This cancer fails to heal like a normal pimple would. Scaly, pink or red patches of skin that do not respond to moisturizer may also be a warning sign basal cell carcinoma.

The next most common type is skin cancer is squamous cell carcinoma. This can present as a scaly, sandpapery, rough patch of skin that fails to respond to moisturizer. It may also present as a new or rapidly growing lump on the skin, sometimes with a crusty center.

A less common, but more dangerous form of skin cancer is melanoma. An easy to remember mnemonic device highlights the warning signs of melanoma – look for the “ABCDEs.”

IHA ABCDEs for checking moles

It is also helpful to look for the “ugly duckling” or “black sheep” of your moles or spots. If you have a mole that stands out from the rest of your moles, a professional should examine it.

Other rare forms of non-melanoma skin cancer also occur, such as merkel cell carcinoma or tumors of sweat glands and oil glands.

A baseline visit with a board-certified dermatologist is recommended to screen for any potentially concerning lesions. Your dermatologist can provide further education about how to perform a self-skin examination, will discuss your individual risk factors for skin cancer, and can help you to design a plan for sun protection.

To schedule an appointment with an IHA Dermatologist, please call 734.677.DERM (3376) or make an appointment.


How to Select a Sunscreen

How to Perform a Self Exam

What to Look For