The teenage years have always been a difficult time. The transition from childhood to adulthood can be a daunting experience for most teens. Teens must endure physical and hormonal changes while searching for their personal and social identity. They carry the burden of expectation everywhere they turn. They face pressures at school, at home, from peers and even from within themselves.
This intense age of physical changes, self-discovery and external pressures becomes amplified when teens encounter an infection. Infections can have a number of harmful effects on teens. There are social, physical and mental issues that may arise out of acquiring an infection at a young age.
The Effects of Teen Infections
The social impact of having an infection as a teenager may leave emotional scars for life, depending on the severity of the infection. Teens with infections may be shunned by their peers. It is almost an innate instinct to draw away from people with infections. Fear of somehow being contaminated plays a huge role in the reaction towards an infected teen. Ultimately, this leaves the infected teen with few friends during an already difficult time.
Many infections can be treated or cured if diagnosed early. Infections that are left untreated for too long can cause lifelong physical problems. Something as simple as a urinary tract infection can be treated fairly easily but if left untreated, it can lead kidney disease. The potential complications of an untreated infection are numerous and warrant treatment from a medical professional as soon as possible.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are some of the most common infections among teens. Teenagers who begin to engage in sexual activity are not always aware of the potential STD risks or how to protect themselves. The first step to protecting yourself is to have “the talk” with a parent. If that is not an option then find a healthcare professional to talk with confidentially. Untreated sexually transmitted infections can have major complications that may affect you throughout your life so it’s important to address them quickly.
Infections can also have a profound impact on the mental health of a teenager. The normal pressures associated with being a teenager are difficult enough, and a teen with an infection faces even greater challenges. Most teens do not want to confide in their peers for fear of being ridiculed and embarrassed. They may isolate and distance themselves from their friends. This feeling of being isolated can lead to greater self-doubt, fear and depression. It may even lead to thoughts of suicide if the pressure of life is too overwhelming. The mental health problems among teens dealing with infections can become critical issues that may take years to overcome so it’s important to promptly seek help from a mental health professional.
Dealing With Infections
The best way to deal with an infection is to acknowledge the condition and get help. A medical professional can and will help deal with the treatment of an infection before it becomes a complicated health issue. A school counselor or trusted family member can help work out any mental and emotional problems you may be encountering, and refer you to well-respected mental health workers. Sometimes just having someone to confide in can make a world of difference.
Teen infections are fairly common. Do not isolate yourself from your friends. You may not want to confide in them but that does not mean you have to seclude yourself. You should still be able to relate to peers about everything else that is going on in your life. An infection problem is just one more thing to deal with that can be handled.
The best way to deal with teen infections is to avoid them through prevention. If you believe you may already have an infection, deal with it immediately by seeing your doctor. Your health is in your hands. If you feel overwhelmed or lonely, talk to a school counselor or adult family member you trust. That person can help you keep things in perspective and help you to get the help you need.