Making Sense Of Drug Side Effects – January 2015 Harvard Women’s Health Watch

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doctorThe best way to understand drug side effects is to talk with a doctor or pharmacist. Older drugs generally have better information.

All drugs have effects. Some we want, others we don’t. The unwanted ones are known as side effects. The January 2015 Harvard Women’s Health Watch describes ways to limit or manage side effects.

The package insert that is supposed to give information about the potential side effects of a medication is likely to be more frustrating than helpful. Written in medicalese and printed in microscopic type, these inserts contain way too much information.
“Reading through scores and scores of side effects doesn’t help you sort out what is most likely to happen to you,” says Dr. Gordon Schiff, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. He suggests forgetting the inserts and trying the following instead:

1. Ask for a drug that’s been on the market a while. The information on the side effects of a newly approved medication is often based on clinical trials involving, at most, a few thousand people. An older drug is likely to have been used by hundreds of thousands, even millions, of people. That experience can reveal additional side effects and give doctors an idea of which side effects are most common, which are most serious, and which might occur only after months or years of use.

2. Learn what to expect. For example, if nausea is a potential side effect, it’s important to know whether to keep taking the drug because the nausea will eventually go away or to stop taking it. For some drugs, like benzodiazepines or opiates, it’s important to understand the side effects of withdrawal and develop a plan for tapering off.

3. Ask for help. Not sure if a symptom is a drug side effect or something else? Talk with a doctor. Doctors generally know what side effects their patients have experienced, how severe they were, and how they can be managed.

Read other tips in the complete article: “Making sense of side effects”

Also in the January 2015 issue of the Harvard Women’s Health Watch:

* Seven health resolutions for 2015
* Be alert to pneumonia this winter
* Help for the winter blues
* Heel pain explained: What to do for plantar fasciitis

Harvard Women’s Health Watch is available from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School, for $20 per year. Subscribe at http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/womens or by calling 877-649-9457 (toll-free).

Growing Up With An Addict: Effects On The Teen Generation

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familywalk2Whenever a loved one or family member is going through a struggle, including a form of addiction, it effects the entire family in one way or another. It can especially have a profound influence on young children constantly surrounded by the use of illegal substances.

Quite often, the primary reason for initial drug use is dismissed but it plays an important part in understanding how the addiction came to be. In most cases it is a voluntary choice for a number of different reasons, but the environment around us can also have a profound effect.

A parent’s drug abuse usually links to a number of things; chaotic homes, stress-induced routines and child neglect. None of these conditions are ideal for the development of children in what should be, the comfort of their own homes.

It is a truth that parents or senior family members who regularly abuse drugs, including alcohol, can increase a child’s risk of developing their own substance problems. In most cases, children are forced to grow up fast and look after their parents. Focus which should be targeted at studying and living their childhood is instead averted to the well-being of their parents. In this way, children of long-term addicts may end up suffering in other ways, such as becoming a recluse socially or needing help for mental distress.

teensTeenage years are difficult enough as the transition from child to adult is always tricky. Youngsters are impressionable and so if they are brought up in an environment that freely encourages drug use and are seen to be taken daily, they will see it as nothing out of the ordinary. They are more likely to develop an addiction themselves. Moreover, there is a likelihood of carrying addiction into adult life by taking an illicit substance at an early stage.

In fact, research shows that in the US, more than 90% of people struggling with addiction began smoking, drinking or using other drugs before the age of 18. So what could start off as a few drinks or smoking a bit of cannabis can lead to hard drugs such as cocaine, heroin and ecstasy, illustrating how easy it is for things to spiral out of hand.

Preventing the influence from one generation to another is difficult to address. Behavioural patterns are hard to break, especially those that are passed down through families. If a child’s grandparents and parents took illicit substances, there is a likelihood that they will too. It isn’t however, a concrete fact. There are teenagers who see the destructive consequences of drug-taking and manage to avoid it altogether. Changes can be made by taking small steps such as:

• Talking and listening to one another regularly

• Accepting the help you receive. A child’s biggest influence is their parents

• Set limits and make it clear that you don’t want them following in your steps

What we can discern is that is takes a number of factors that contribute to addiction including environment, lifestyle and behaviour. Children who are surrounded by family members who actively partake in illicit drug use are left vulnerable to developing a dependency. However, it is also true that the teenage generation as a whole are more educated about the dangers of drugs and therefore, not all succumb.

– Written by Guest Author, Lloyd Kenyon.

Obesity: Its Main Causes, Health Effects And Possible Solutions

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By Dr. Mario Pary

bellymeasurementsmallObesity usually results from an energy imbalance between your consumed and expended calories. For those who wish to lose or gain weight, it is crucial to find the right balance between the calories they take in and burn to achieve their fitness goals. Note that whether a person wants to maintain a healthy weight or remove excess pounds, there is still a strong connection between the energy taken in by his body through the drinks and foods he consumed and the energy used by his body when performing various activities. Here are some of the main causes of obesity that should be avoided by those who wish to obtain a healthy weight:

1. Inactive Lifestyle

Living an inactive lifestyle makes it impossible for your body to burn your consumed calories. This results to taking in more calories daily than burning them through normal daily exercises and activities.

2. Emotional Factors

There are those who eat more than usual because of their emotions such as stress, anger, and boredom. This will lead to overeating which is one of the risk factors for obesity.

3. Poor Diet and Eating Habit

The daily diet plan and eating habits that you follow play a crucial role in your weight. This means that following a diet plan which is rich in calories, eating a lot of calorie-rich foods at night, eating oversized portions, drinking beverages rich in calories and skipping meals especially breakfast contribute to excessive weight gain.

4. Pregnancy

Pregnant women gain weight because of their need to support the growth and development of their babies. Most of them experience difficulty losing their accumulated weight after they deliver their babies. This triggers obesity especially for women who have already undergone several pregnancies.

snoring5. Inadequate Sleep

Inadequate sleep, characterized by sleeping less than 7 hours every night, triggers hormonal changes that might boost your appetite. It can also cause uncontrollable cravings for foods rich in carbohydrates and calories.

Other risk factors and causes of obesity are medical problems like hypothyroidism and poor metabolism, age, environmental factors and genetics.

Health Effects of Being Obese

Obesity can trigger a variety of harmful health conditions that have the tendency of affecting your entire life. Your risks of experiencing the following conditions are also high if you are obese:

• Metabolic Syndrome
• High Blood Pressure
• Stroke
• Coronary Heart Disease
• Breast and Colon Cancer
• Type 2 Diabetes
• Gallbladder and Liver Disease
• Respiratory Problems
• Sleep Apnea
• Gynecological Problems such as infertility and abnormal menstruation
• Osteoarthritis
• Abnormal Blood Fats

Natural Solutions to Obesity

1. Dietary Changes

There is nothing more effective in treating obesity than making a few dietary changes that aid in reducing your weight. One dietary solution in overcoming obesity is to follow a low-calorie diet plan. Note that the secret towards achieving a dramatic loss in your weight is to reduce the amount of calories consumed by your body.

Make sure to talk to a health care provider or dietician so your present drinking and eating habits will be reviewed. This is crucial in determining the amount of calories normally taken by your body and how this can be reduced. The typical amount of calories taken by people who aim to lose weight is around one thousand to one thousand six hundred calories daily.

Another tip is to adhere to a healthy eating or meal plan. Eat plant-based foods like whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Consider increasing your intake of foods rich in protein like lean meat, soy, lentils and beans. Adding fish into your diet two times weekly is also necessary.

Another healthy eating habit tip is to reduce your intake of sugar and salt. Stick to dairy products that are low in fat and reduce your intake of unhealthy fat sources. Your fat sources should be from foods that are good for your heart including nuts, fish, and canola or olive oil.

joggers2. Physical Exercises

One of the best physical exercises that you can do on a daily basis is brisk walking. This is valuable in reducing your risk of dealing with obesity and preserving your healthy weight and body. It is also advisable to work out in the gym for approximately thirty to forty-five minutes 4 to 5 days weekly. Combining your regular workouts with healthy dietary habits can aid in significantly reducing your weight.

Dr. Mario Pary, owner of Shreveport Dentist. I focus most of my energy on serving my patients as best as possible. In my spare time, I enjoy writing articles for various dental journals. I also enjoy playing guitar and spending time with my family.

Health Effects From Noise – Part 2

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By Dr. Michael Wald

Continued from part 1 of this article…..

EAT THESE FOODS

watercup1. Drink plenty of water daily (body weight divided by 2, multiplied by 0.8 is the number of ounces your body needs, more if you are exercising).

2. Increase the amount of whole, unprocessed foods in your diet including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and raw nuts and seeds – its high fiber.

3. Limit saturated fats in animal products and increase your intake of polyunsatured fats such as those found in olive oils, salmon, tuna, cod and mackerel, currents and raw nuts and seeds.

4. Fifteen to twenty percent of your diet should be from proteins such as lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, soy products and beans.

5. Eat several small meals throughout the day and chew thoroughly- eat every 2 hrs.

6. Supplement your diet with the supplements in this article if appropriate.

AVOID THESE FOODS

a. Eliminate or drastically reduce your intake of processed and refined foods, simple sugars, and fried foods

b. Eliminate refined and processed sugars like those in candy and desserts.

c. Eliminate coffee

d. Do not drink colas (with phosphorous).

e. Do not drink fluids with your meals.

f. Do not eat when you are stressed and on the run.

LIFESTYLE CONSIDERATIONS

1. Remove yourself from the noise if possible.
2. Eliminate the noise is possible.
3. Wear earplugs (carry with you)
4. Choose the right earphones that can block out ambient noise
5. Take the nutritional supplements below

NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS

1. Omega 3 fatty acids: Take 2-4 grams per day of high DHA content product that is preferably vegetarian and organic. Helps repair damaged and inflamed nerves; promotes healing and reduces nerve degeneration.

2. Herbs:

i. Gingko biloba: Take 100-300 mg per day. Helps improve blood flow.

ii. Butcher’s broom: Take a tincture as directed. Helps improve blood flow along with gingko biloba.

1. Ubiquinol: Take 100-400 mg per day. Helps improve nerve conduction and slows nerve degeneration.

2. Magnesium chelate: Take 200 mg of chelated magnesium daily for best absorption. Most abundant mineral in the nervous system and in nerves and helps to maintain normal function.

3. Methylated B12 liquid: Take 1000-5000 mcg per day of methylated or active vitamin B12. Acts as a neuroprotectant.

4. Active folic acid: Works along with active vitamin B12 to protect auditory and other nerves.

5. Comprehensive antioxidants including: vitamin C, selenium and vitamin E. Take as directed. Helps to reduce the oxidative stress that is ultimately responsible for nerve breakdown in response to noise and other factors such as aging.

6. B-complex including vitamin B1, B2, B3 and B6: Take a comprehensive multivitamin as directed. Required for a large number of energetic processes in the body for repair.

7. Vitamin D: Take 1000 IUs per day, or better yet, get a vitamin D blood test to idealize your needed dose. Vitamin D is a neuro-protectant.

8. Alpha-lipoic acid: Take 100-200 mg per day of this important water and fat-soluble antioxidant. It has been well-studied to protect nerves.

9. Zinc picolinate along with synergistic minerals: Shown in studies to improve hearing loss and immunity, take zinc picolinate at a dose of 50 mg per day.

10. Glutathione: Take 500 mg of reduced glutathione per day to protect nerve degeneration.

11. Amino acids including:

i. Acetyl-L-carnitine: at a dose of 100 mg per day. Works with fatty acids to get these fats into nerve tissues.

ii. Taurine: Take 100-200 mg per day of this amino acid that acts as a neuro-protectant antioxidant.

iii. Methionine: Take 100-200 mg per day of this amino acid that acts as a neuro-protectant antioxidant.

TESTS

doctor1. Go to your ears, noise and throat doctor who will perform an initial hearing screen. If it is determined that you have hearing loss, a variety of additional tests to determine the type and extent of hearing loss will be suggested.

2. Nutritional Tests:

i. CBC and chemistry

ii. Serum ferritin

iii. Homocysteine

iv. Methylmalonic acid

v. Vitamin D2 (25-OH D3)

vi. Serum vitamin B12

vii. Red blood cell (not serum) folic acid

viii. Red blood cell magnesium (not serum)

As you can see, accelerated hearing loss and other health problems are possible if you know how to recognize this pervasive problem.

– Dr. Michael Wald, aka The Blood Detective, is the director of nutritional services at Integrated Medicine of Mount Kisco, located in Westchester New York. He has appeared on ABC World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer, Channel 11 PIX, Channel 12 News, CNN, The Food Network and other media outlets. Dr. Wald earned the name Blood Detective for his reputation to find problems that are often missed by other doctors. He earned an MD degree, is a doctor of chiropractic and a certified dietician-nutritionist. He is also double-board certified in nutrition. He has published over a dozen books with three additional titles due for release late 2013 including: Frankenfoods – Genetically Modified Foods: Controversies, Lies & Your Health and Gluten-A-Holic: How to Live Gluten Free and the Blood Detective’s Longevity Secrets. Dr. Wald can be reached at: www.intmedny.com or www.blooddetective.com or by calling: 914-242-8844.

Health Effects From Noise – Part 1

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By Dr. Michael Wald

humanearAccording to OSHA, the Occupational Safety Health Administration, thirty million Americans are exposed to occupational noise that is considered hazardous. The Department of Labor Statistics reports that 125,000 people per year suffer significant hearing loss. Hearing loss is only one of many health issues caused by environmental noise. Proactive means can and should be taken by individuals to avoid reduced quality of life and shorter lifespan.

A variety of health problems are caused by noise in our environment. Some of these health dangers include:

• speech delays
• difficulty formulating words
• hearing loss
• ear pain
• hypertension
• unexplained dizziness
• ischemic heart disease
• sleep disturbances
• childhood developmental issues (including speech and reading difficulties)
• violent behavior
• reduced ability to deal with stress
• easy to anger
• irritability
• and more

Symptoms of Environmental Noise

The early symptoms of environmental noise pollution might be a mild sensation of stuffy ears or ringing in the ears known as tinnitus. Sometimes the only sign of early damage to the inner ear from noise is difficulty understanding speech and hearing high frequency noise. Depending upon the health issue, a large number of symptoms can manifest in individuals that look like the disease. For example, if hypertension were caused by environmental noise the symptoms might be headaches, fainting or noise bleeds. If ischemic heart disease was caused by environmental noise, the symptoms might be chest pain or difficulty breathing.

Noise at Work

Employees in a workplace should not be exposed to anything greater than 85 dBA (decibala) per eight-hours daily. Workplace noise for construction workers allows a higher limit of 90 dBA per eight hours of noise exposure. However, outdoor noise should never exceed between 60 and 65 dBA. Workplace noise can result from a variety of sources, including noisy vehicles, aircraft’s, loud music and television and road traffic.

Outdoor (everyday) Noise Limits

As stated above, outdoor noise should never be louder than 60-65 dBA. It is important to realize that a person may not recognize that they are exposed to loud noises especially if they are distracted or have been exposed to an environment of noise on a routine basis; in this instance, one might become accustomed to noise, but still suffer many series health effects. Sources of outdoor noise can include: yelling in the household, noisy vehicles, aircraft’s, loud music and television and road traffic.

What can be done to minimize or eliminate health risks from excessive noise?

1. Be aware of your home, outside and working environments.

2. Take notice of the noise levels.

3. Do other people think that it is noise? Just lowering a few decibels of occupational noise can make a huge difference in one’s general health and wellbeing and susceptibility to the chronic health problems mentioned in this article.

4. Old equipment making excessive noise could be replaced in the work or home environment; refurbished and should be maintained properly.

5. Structural barriers can be constructed between sources of noise and the person within “ear shot” of the noise.

6. Earplugs and headphones can be used as well, but these are impractical depending upon one’s circumstances.

Noise adds up!

Damage from noise has cumulative effects and affects individuals quite differently; one person notices the noise and another does not; some individuals suffer health issues from noise and others do not, etc. How could someone not notice noise? Think of this like being exposed to secondhand smoke from a smoker; at first you cough but soon you become sensitized to the smoke and no longer cough or even consciously smell the smoke. Nonetheless, the smoke, just like noise, continues to exert its damaging effects on the body ranging from heart disease to insomnia.

Prevention and Treatment

Hearing loss universally inevitable with aging is known as presbycusis. This hearing loss is not treatable once it occurs. This is because the hearing loss affects the inner ear along with the auditory nerve. The term neurosensory loss is the type experienced in some aging persons, and with noise damage to the hearing nerve, that is not helped with medications or hearing aids. Hearing aids do not help those with neurosensory hearing loss because they only elevate the intensity of the unheard noises and do not improve hearing. In other words, hearing aids only make louder the inaudible noise heard by those with neurosensory hearing loss.

Slowing down nerve degeneration and improving upon your propensity for developing hearing loss, may be possible if you consider the following:

Stay tuned for part 2 of this article shortly…..

– Dr. Michael Wald, aka The Blood Detective, is the director of nutritional services at Integrated Medicine of Mount Kisco, located in Westchester New York. He has appeared on ABC World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer, Channel 11 PIX, Channel 12 News, CNN, The Food Network and other media outlets. Dr. Wald earned the name Blood Detective for his reputation to find problems that are often missed by other doctors. He earned an MD degree, is a doctor of chiropractic and a certified dietician-nutritionist. He is also double-board certified in nutrition. He has published over a dozen books with three additional titles due for release late 2013 including: Frankenfoods – Genetically Modified Foods: Controversies, Lies & Your Health and Gluten-A-Holic: How to Live Gluten Free and the Blood Detective’s Longevity Secrets. Dr. Wald can be reached at: www.intmedny.com or www.blooddetective.com or by calling: 914-242-8844.

The Effects Of Dehydration

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By Dr. Kevin Kita

waterWhen somebody comes in my office and they are in a lot of pain I know right away that they are not drinking enough water. I tell 95% of the people coming into the office that they need to drink more water. Drinking more water is very important and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Just 24ozs of water low is considered being dehydrated. I have had some people come in my office as much as 100ozs low in their fluid intake.

The serious problems of dehydration can include disc problems. The discs between each vertebra in your spine is mostly made of water, so if your dehydrated the disc shrinks just a little and that can put added pressure on one of your spinal nerves and cause pain. About 99% of the people that come in my office with sciatic pain are dehydrated. The disc shrinks and presses on the sciatic nerve and the person will have excruciating pain. If someone is chronically dehydrated it can lead to herniated discs and bulging discs because their spine is less stable than normal a person.

A person who is dehydrated can have headaches all the time because the blood does not circulate as well to the brain which also can lead to dizziness, heaviness in the head, blurred vision, and hearing loss.

A person who is dehydrated can have headaches all the time because the blood does not circulate as well to the brain which also can lead to dizziness, heaviness in the head, blurred vision, and hearing loss. When a person feels weakness, fatigue, or energy loss usually they are dehydrated because the blood gets thicker making the heart have to work harder to circulate the blood around the body. That is a waste of energy which leads to energy loss and fatigue. When someone feels tired they are better off drinking a big glass of water than drinking a cup of coffee or some other energy drink. This also leads to a slow metabolism and stubborn weight gain. Most people if they just make a conscious effort of just drinking more water and only water they will drop some weight off naturally without seemingly doing anything extra physically. Dehydration can cause asthma and sinus problems. If you are not drinking enough water your sinuses and the lining of your lungs become dry causing it hard for you to breathe.

Chronic pains such as back pain, neck pain, and hip pain can be caused by dehydration because the muscle, tendons, and ligament tend to become tight. This causes lack of flexibility and joint stiffness. People will come in thinking they have arthritis, when they are only dehydrated. They will tell me how come my medical doctor doesn’t tell me to drink more water. I tell them it is because pills are much more profitable then drinking more water. I have had many yoga enthusiasts and instructors come in complaining of all of a sudden not being able to get into certain postures. I tell them to drink more and they can now get into postures that they were unable to get into.

waterbottleDehydration can actually cause water retention. You wouldn’t think that if you were dehydrated that you would have a problem with water retention. The body releases something called histamines when we are dehydrated. Histamines cause the body to hold on to water because our body is wondering when is the next time we are going to drink water and doesn’t want to release any water that it already has. Histamines can also cause chronic inflammation of the body, skin to become plump, and can also cause fake allergic reactions. There are a lot of times when someone comes in my office thinking they are allergic to something when all they are is dehydrated.

When someone doesn’t drink enough water their digestion is compromised. If someone is dehydrated they can’t produce enough acid to breakdown the food that they just ate. Most times acid reflux is actually lack of water causing indigestion because food is not being properly digested.

Now, in order to rehydrate properly you should drink room temperature water or warm water because the body can absorb that type of water faster. If someone is severely dehydrated they should add a pinch of sea salt in their water to make it even easier to rehydrate. Avoid distilled water because distilled water has no minerals in it and just goes right through the body without any of it being absorbed. Avoid cold water or ice water because that just shocks the body and you just end up going to the bathroom with very little being absorbed. People that are severely dehydrated from being in the desert they are first given warm water because they know that is the easiest way to quickly rehydrate a person.

– Dr. Kevin Kita, Chiropractor, Author, International Speaker, and Radio Host

Protecting Your Kid From Psychological Effects And Bullying

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By Joyce Del Rosario

meangirlsAccording to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, up to 50 percent of all kids are bullied at some point during their school years.

We used to think that bullying was no big deal – it was something you learned to live with and grow past – but ongoing research and a number of high-profile tragedies related to bullying have caused experts to change course and treat it like the serious problem that it is. Bullying can not only leave physical and psychological scars that can last a lifetime and prevent people from living up to their full potential, in some cases it has led to kids harming themselves or others.

Luckily there are ways for you to fight back and protect your children so that they aren’t forced to suffer the worst of these effects. Here are several techniques recommended by experts to protect bullied kids from the psychological damage it can do and stop the bullying once and for all.

Pay attention. Your child may not want to admit to you that they are being bullied, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be signs. Watch for long sleeves and baggy clothing that may indicate that they are attempting to hide bruises and other kinds of physical damage done to them by another kid. And if the bullying consists more of threats and other kinds of psychological damage, look for signs such as trouble concentrating, fear of going to school, increased sickness, anxiousness, low self-esteem, and even depression.

Show your acceptance. Studies have shown that kids who felt like they were accepted and loved by their families are far more likely to bounce back from bullying and not fall prey to depression or suicidal thoughts. Positive things that you can do to show your support include things like praising them and putting them in situations and positions to have positive emotions, talking to them and hanging out with them, and finding interests that you can share together.

friendTeach problem solving skills. Too often, bullied kids simply don’t know how to respond, or they can’t see that they have multiple options available to them. Parents can help with this problem by instilling in their children the ability to look at situations logically and think through each potential course of action before they go through with it. Will it be more beneficial to ignore the problem or to retaliate? Could they diffuse the situation by making a joke or talking honestly with the person bullying them? Each of these actions could be helpful in some ways and hurtful in others, but by thinking the situation through, your kid can avoid making an emotional mistake that they regret and causes further regrets or embarrassment.

Make yourself available. Many kids won’t want to come to parents to talk about bullying because they are embarrassed to talk about it, so it’s difficult to force them. What you can do, though, is make sure that they know you’re available. And if they do start to talk about it – even if it’s at the most difficult possible time for you – do whatever you can to set aside what you’re doing and listen to them. It’s hard enough for a kid to push themselves to talk to their parents once about something like this, so you might not get a second chance if they feel like you’re not really listening.

Listen, don’t talk. One of the best things that you can do if your kid comes to you is simply listen to what they have to say and take them seriously. Even if the problem doesn’t sound like a big deal to you, the fact that they’re talking about it means that it is important to them. Let them get the entire story off of their chest without interrupting, and show them that you’re listening with your body language. For some kids, simply being able to vent to you about the situation will be a weight off of their shoulders that will allow them to feel better about themselves and what’s going on.

Follow up. While it’s great if your kid feels better after talking to you, if the bullying is serious you need to make sure that you follow up with them to see if it’s still going on. It may also be wise to alert school officials so that they can be on the lookout for the bullying and put a stop to it. In some cases, vigilant teachers and administrators may even be able to do this without drawing attention to the fact that your kid told you about the situation so that they won’t have to feel like they had to “tattle” to solve the problem.

– Joyce Del Rosario