Hygiene

So your body is changing, growing, and probably becoming a whole lot smellier! Don’t worry, it’s cool, this happens to everyone. It’s now time to be a little more aware of your own funk, and keep up your hygiene. Most teens use deodorant, or antiperspirant. This is stuff you apply to your arm pits to either keep the area smelling a bit better or sweat less. You can buy this at the Northern, grocery, department, or drugs stores for about $4 to $6. There is deodorant meant for girls, some meant for guys, and some is unisex (meaning it can be used by either gender). The main difference between the girl stuff and the guy stuff is the smell. Some deodorants are a hard stick, some are gels, and others are sprays.

Showering is really important (or taking a bath). Teens should have a shower once a day. If you are into sports, dance, or hunting, you may want to shower once you get home from this activity as you might be super sweaty. At home you should have your own clean towel that you don’t have to share with anyone else. Some people like to use fancy soaps and shower gels to clean themselves with, but all you need is a bar of soap. In the north, the air can be really dry and as a result your skin can be dry too. You can use a moisturizing lotion to help keep your skin from getting too dry. To avoid irritating your skin, you might want to choose a lotion that does not have dyes or fragrance (smelly scents). It’s best to apply the lotion once you are out of the shower.

Summer in the north can be fun, hot, and full of bugs. Lots of people get bites from mosquitoes, sand flies, black flies, bulldogs, and sometimes pinchers. When you go outside, try wearing light colored long sleeves and long pants. You may also want to try bug repellant. No matter what, you will end up with some bug bites, and you need to take care of the bites to make sure they don’t get infected. If the bites are itchy, put a cold, clean facecloth on your skin. The cold water can help make your skin feel better. Talk to your family about calamine lotion (a pink liquid) that can help with the itchiness. It can be super hard, but try not to scratch. If you do scratch, do it very lightly, and only after you have cleaned your hands with soap and water. Bug bites themselves are usually annoying but harmless, but they can become infected with scratching. If the bites look really red, are warm to touch, and have pus (yellow/green liquid), make a visit to the local clinic or nursing station. They will look at the bites, and might give you some antibiotic pills for an infection called impetigo. For more info on impetigo: http://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/handouts/impetigo

Taking care of your teeth is important too, and it’s recommended to brush at least twice a day, for at least 2 minutes at a time. You should also floss once a day, this really helps fight plaque. (Plaque is the build up on your teeth that the dental hygienists have to clean off during dental checkups). You should see a dentist at least once a year. Some teens may have to get braces to help teeth straighten out a bit, or get a retainer.

Here is some info on dental care: http://kidshealth.org/teen/your_body/take_care/teeth.html