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Adolescents’ Health

Adolescents’ Health

When you are young, you may not think much about going to the doctor unless you’re sick or hurt. But we are here for you in sickness and in health. We provide preventive services that can detect disease or help prevent illness or other problems. It’s important to get these services when you are a teenager or young adult.

Many conditions that happen later in life develop when you are younger. For example, about 65% of all deaths in adults are caused by heart disease, cancer, and stroke. In many cases, these diseases are preventable. Many of the behaviors that cause these diseases begin at a young age. For example, teens who use tobacco are more likely to have heart disease, cancer, or stroke in adulthood.

Path to improved health

The preventive service you need might be a test, a vaccine, or advice from your doctor or nurse practitioner. Which preventive services you need depends on your age, medical history, and family history. For adolescents and young adults, there are several key areas that your doctor or nurse practitioner will probably focus on. These include:

  • Social and behavioral health treatment
  • Immunizations (vaccines)
  • Healthy habits
  • Reproductive and sexual health
  • Confidential care
  • Patient and parent information

Social and behavioral health

Adolescents and young adults face many issues every day that affect their need for social and behavioral health treatment. These could include violence, harassment, school bullying, or drug use. These issues can affect you in many ways. You may experience depression, anxiety, or an eating disorder. Our depression treatment doctor can help. You may also experiment with drugs or have unsafe sex. It is important for you to talk to your family doctor or nurse practitioner if you are having trouble with or experiencing these things. Please talk to us if you have any of these warning signs:

  • Agitation or restlessness
  • Weight loss or gain
  • A drop in grades
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Ongoing feelings of sadness
  • Not caring about people or things
  • Lack of motivation
  • Feeling tired, low energy
  • Lack of interest in activities
  • Low self-esteem
  • Trouble sleeping


Immunizations (also called vaccines) are an important part of preventive services for children, teens, and adults. They are safe and effective, and they save lives. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) strongly recommends that patients receive all necessary vaccinations in their primary care physician’s office. These can protect against diseases such as measles, chicken pox, and human papillomavirus (HPV).

Vaccinations that you may need as a teenager or young adult include the flu, HPV, and Tdap. The flu vaccine is given every year at the beginning of cold and flu season to protect you from getting the flu. The HPV vaccine is given when children are 11 to 12 years old, but older teens and young adults can still get the vaccine. It helps prevent the spread of the HPV virus, which causes genital warts and several types of cancer. The Tdap vaccine prevents tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough). Preteens and teens should get one shot when they are 11 or 12 years old, but older teens and young adults can get the shot as well.

Healthy habits

“Health is a state of physical, mental, and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” ~AAFP

Health is the key to living a productive and satisfying life. Developing healthy habits when you are an adolescent or young adult can decrease your chance of getting sick or hurt. When you are talking to your family doctor or nurse practitioner, you should discuss how you can stay healthy. Talk to us about:

  • Your physical health. Get regular exercise, eat a healthy diet, get enough sleep, and maintain a healthy weight. Take care of your teeth, wear sunscreen, and don’t smoke, vape/use e-cigarettes, or use tobacco.
  • Your mental and emotional health. Learn how to manage stress and develop a good balance between school, work, and social life. Pay attention to your moods and feelings, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
  • Your behavioral health. Keep yourself safe by avoiding substance use or abuse, driving safely, avoiding violence, and practicing abstinence or safe sex.
  • The habits you have now really do make a difference when you’re older.

Reproductive and sexual health

Becoming sexually active is a big decision. Contact your doctor or nurse practitioner if you are or are thinking of becoming sexually active. They can explain your options for preventing pregnancy as well as sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

There are many ways to protect your sexual health and care for yourself. Abstinence is the only way to 100% prevent pregnancy and STIs. This means not having vaginal, anal, or oral sex.

If you decide to be sexually active with a member of the opposite sex, you should consider a form of birth control. Different types include a condom, pill, patch, shot, implant, diaphragm, or intrauterine device (IUD). These can help prevent unwanted pregnancy. Condoms are the only way to prevent both pregnancy and STIs. Talk to your doctor or nurse practitioner before you start having sex. They can answer any questions you have about sexual health. They also can prescribe a form of birth control.

Confidential care

The AAFP believes that adolescents and young adults should have access to confidential healthcare. This is important for your health and well-being. You should be offered the opportunity to see your doctor or nurse practitioner alone, without a parent or guardian in the room. You should be able to do this whether you are seeing the doctor or nurse practitioner for an examination or for counseling. You need to have confidential one-on-one discussions about making healthy decisions.

Patient and Parent Information

It is important that patients and parents have access to information that will guide adolescents and young adults toward healthy decisions. The AAFP encourages parents and patients to talk with their family doctor or nurse practitioner about the potential risks to adolescent health and how to avoid them.

Things to consider:
You may think that because you are young and healthy, you don’t need to see a doctor. But it is important to see your doctor or nurse practitioner to receive preventive services. Unhealthy decisions when you’re young can lead to big consequences later on. Preventive services now will protect you and help you make healthy decisions throughout your life. Questions to ask your doctor or nurse practitioner include:

  • What kind of preventive services do I need at my age?
  • Do I need any immunizations?
  • What kind of birth control is available to me?
  • What can I do now to avoid heart disease, cancer, or stroke later in life?
  • How often should I see the doctor or nurse practitioner for preventive care?


Need more info about screening and prevention at Cold Hollow Family Practice? Call us at 802-933-6664 or Request an Appointment here. We see patients of all ages from Enosburg, Richford, Franklin, Sheldon and Swanton.

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