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What Our College-Bound Kids Need to Know with The College Doc 

Welcome to the show today!

I’m so excited that Dr. Jill Grimes is back. She is the college doc and just came out with her newest edition of “The Ultimate College Student Health Handbook: Your Guide for Everything from Hangovers to Homesickness.” It is a great gift if you have a high school grad. It gives so much information that will help your college student navigate their health and symptoms.

In this episode, we talk about everything from how to support them in talking to their doctor to how to talk to them about getting their medication refilled. That is a tough one. How do you get your kid to become more independent and be able to do that when they go to college? We also discuss how to support them in getting enough sleep. Additionally, she talks about some things that I did not know, like how common seizures are with college students and what our kids need to know.

We also cover sexually transmitted diseases, substance abuse, and so much more. So, let’s dive in.

What You Will Learn: 

  • How to effectively communicate with doctors for college students.
  • Managing ADHD medication for college students, including refilling prescriptions and creating a reminder system.
  • Sleep tips for college students, including noise-canceling headphones, weighted blankets, and managing seizures.
  • Seizures in college students, including triggers and first aid.
  • The dangers of binge drinking and nicotine addiction and how marijuana is different today than 20 years ago. 
  • Sexually transmitted infections, vaccines, and drug use.

We also cover sexually transmitted diseases, substance abuse, and so much more. So, let’s dive in.

Mentioned in this episode:

My Course:  Raising a Teenager: A Crash Course in Decoding and Reconnecting

Dr. Jill’s book: The Ultimate College Student Health Handbook: Your Guide for Everything from Hangovers to Homesickness.

Find more encouragement, wisdom, and resources:

Sign up for our Moms of Tweens and Teens newsletter HERE

And here is the episode typed out!

Welcome to the Moms of Tweens and Teens Podcast. If some days you doubt yourself and don’t know what you’re doing. If you’ve ugly cried alone in your bedroom because you felt like you were failing. Well, I just want to let you know you are not alone, and you have come to the right place.

Raising tweens and teens in today’s world is not easy. And I’m on a mission to equip you to love well and to raise emotionally healthy, happy tweens and teens that thrive.

I believe that moms are heroes, and we have the power to transform our families and impact future generations. If you are looking for answers, encouragement, and becoming more of the mom and the woman that you want to be, welcome. I am Sheryl Gould. And I am so glad that you’re here.

SHERYL: Well, welcome, Dr. Jill. I am so excited to have you back on the show. You’ve been here once, and now you’re back with us again, and I’m thrilled.

DR JILL: I’m so happy that you invited me back. I’m excited to talk.

SHERYL: This is the perfect time because graduation is here; our seniors are graduating, and many are attending college. And you have your third edition of this fantastic book, which I’m holding up for those who can see and our listeners cannot. So we’re going to tell them what to look for.

This is the third edition of “The Ultimate College Student Health Handbook: Your Guide to Everything from Hangovers to Homesickness,” which has won the International Book Awards. So, congratulations on this latest edition.

DR JILL: Thank you. I’m excited about a lot of important updates.

SHERYL: We will be talking about those, and I just want our listeners and viewers to know that this one is blue and gold. You want to get the blue and gold one because there are many new updates. What’s different about this? What made you decide to do a third edition?

DR JILL: I received feedback from parents and students that a few things were missing. The truth is, with the first edition, I had a list of 100 topics, and the publisher made me cut it down to 50 so I could do ten more editions and keep adding more things.

But specifically in this one, one of the most important things is something we put in as a preface, not exactly. But as the initial chapter of this one is know before you go, what do college students need to know before they ever set foot in the doctor’s office by themselves for the first time?

SHERYL: I love that—you and I talked about it. When I went off to college, I did not know what questions to ask—yeah, even how to describe my symptoms. So, let’s start there. For example, how do you tell your kid how to talk to the doctor?

DR JILL: So I will do a little prequel to that by saying something I probably said last time: Parents, please ensure your student has a picture of their health insurance card, front and back, favorited on their phone. That way, they’ve always got that with them.

Because I’ll tell you what happens if kids go off to college, a job, military, or whatever, and the first thing whenever they go in when they’ve had an injury or illness, and they’re not in a good place, if they’re going in to be seen, usually because they’re hurting or ill.

And what pushes them over the edge is that the receptionist says, I need your insurance card. And they’re like, ah, they can’t find it. And maybe it’s two in the morning, and they don’t want to call you or whatever. But anyway, that’s easy: make sure they have a picture of their health insurance card, front and back.

So, when talking to the doctor, there are two things: something to start and end with. The key is that you want to start by leading by explaining why you’re there.

There are a lot of young adults and a lot of older adults. They’re anxious or nervous about what they want to discuss with the doctor. And so what happens is, you call in, say, student calls in and they say they’ve got stomach pain, okay, they’re put in this 15-minute slot, right for such pain, maybe a 10-minute slot.

They wait until the 14th minute to say, I have one other question, and what I want to know is I’m having just terrible testing anxiety, which is probably the reason for their stomachache. It’s not that they also don’t have stomachaches.

But that last-minute question is usually something that doctors can’t answer quickly. And then you either get an inadequate, rushed answer, or they ask you to make another appointment, which you don’t want to do. Or you just don’t feel heard at all. They’re like, well, we’ll address that next time or whatever, and then you didn’t get your answer.

So that happens, of course, with sensitive things; perhaps if you think you’ve got a lump or bump, maybe somewhere in the swimsuit region, you’re not sure what that is. Sometimes, people will be afraid to ask about that.

Or they don’t want to say that they can’t, that they haven’t slept in a week, or that they’re anxious; they’ll talk about a headache and fatigue. But anyway, so lead with what your real problem is. If at all possible, do that when you actually make the appointment now that it’s online and you’re typing it; that does help a little bit, but still, especially if it’s something sexual, people don’t want to list that.

So, number one is to start with why you’re there. Number two is finished with two words: What’s next? It’s so important that most phone calls, texts, and messages I get are from people who say, Well, they’ve got X, Y, or Z problem, whether it’s I went to the doctor.

I got an antibiotic, but I still have a cough, or I went to the doctor and had a sore knee, and they didn’t do an x-ray, and my knees still hurt, and whatever it is, whether it’s therapy or an antibiotic, or whatever, I say, Well, what did they say when you got back with them? And the answer is always, “Oh, well, I didn’t go back.”

If they didn’t, they weren’t smart enough to figure it out the first time; I wasn’t gonna go back, or just young people are like, Well, I’ve already been, I mean, if they were going to give me something else for a cough, they would have already done it like no, no.

So you have to say, what’s next? What happens if I don’t get better? How soon should I get better? What side effects should I expect? Is there anything that I need to watch out for? That would mean I’m getting worse than I might not realize.

And understand that doctors have. They’re just telling you their plan A. They’ve got Plan B, C, D, E, and F. They probably will not take the time or don’t have the time to go over all those backup plans, but they know it. You just need to ask how you’ll get back in touch.

Because if this is Friday afternoon at 430. And you’re there with an illness? What happens if you get a 102 fever or shaking chills? And you can’t stop throwing up tomorrow on Saturday? Or in the middle of the night tonight? Would you go to the ER? Do you text back? So what’s next? So leave with what’s important. And with what’s next?

SHERYL: I love that. Yeah, it’s so intimidating at that age, too. It can be at any age when you go to a doctor and see them as the authority. And I’ll often get home and say, Okay, now what am I supposed to do? Right now? You’re just in that – I don’t know, anxious state.

And so I love that. What’s next? And that’s easy to say, right? Next, what’s next? Two, three words. So yeah, it’s very helpful to be able to coach them with that. Yeah, and I love this book because one of the scariest things for us as parents is letting go of knowing our kids are okay.

And if they’re on medication that comes up all the time with moms that I work with, like how do I get my kid to fill their prescription or to remember to take their medication? And we get worried? Like, how do we know they’re going to be okay? This book just answers so many of those questions.

So let’s back up. All right, prescription; what should they do with a prescription? How do you handle that? How do you handle it if they have a prescription?

DR JILL: So, if your child is moving to another state but out of town, they will probably need to get a local doctor. It sort of depends on what it is like – if they’re on asthma medicines, such as asthma inhalers or even antidepressants, they may be able to if it’s something where you’re not following up every month.

But if you’re following up every three months, or maybe every six months, then they can stay with their current doctor; most likely, the big issue comes up with ADHD medications. That’s the bottom line. Because those are only prescribed for one month at a time. And you really shouldn’t be mailing them.

They just shouldn’t mail them. And they should get a prescription, ideally, from where you know the town that they’re in. Now, some colleges have it. Unfortunately, it’s the minority of colleges that have University Health Center doctors who prescribe ADHD medications, partly because of abuse and partly just because of lack of money and staffing; most places do not have that.

So you’ll need to find that in the community. You can also ask the health center what doctors in the community students usually use for their ADHD prescriptions. And the health centers will have a list for you. In some communities, it’s pediatricians, which, I mean, I’m a family physician, but most pediatricians stop at 18.

So, I continue caring for them through college; it’s a gray zone. But anyway, it can either be a pediatrician and family physician or neurologist in Austin, Texas, or a psychiatrist. More of our neurologists and psychiatrists prescribe them than primary care physicians in my town, but it varies by town.

So those have to be refilled once a month. Let me just say I am the parent; I am this parent, and it’s called attention deficit. The reality is, the odds are high; your kid is going to run out of medication, and probably right before the test. And they’ll run out on a Friday, and they won’t be able to get a refill over the weekend.

And then we’ve had a shortage of ADHD medications. So it’s a natural consequence, a very frustrating kind of thing. But it happens a lot. All I can tell you is that you can talk with your young adult about making sure that they’ve got a reminder system; we always encourage them to refill that ADHD prescription the day that you can, even if you still have some leftovers, because you forgot to take them which also happens a lot.

You still refill it because that way, you sort of start creating a little stash for yourself as a backup. So if you do screw up in the future, you may have a few days of your extras off to the side. And the other thing, parents, is these pills do disappear. They are sold for five to $10 per pill, so your kid does need to have a locked box to keep these prescriptions in so that they don’t walk away.

SHERYL: You can buy it at Target or OfficeMax.

DR JILL: Yeah, I think that’s where I’ve usually bought them for our kids. It’s a good idea anyway, especially since you know that they will have a few documents, maybe their passport or whatever. It’s good to have at least a small lockbox. Not that somebody couldn’t scoop that up and walk away with the whole thing, but every step makes it less likely.

So, anyway, make sure that your kid knows how. Not only just know how to make sure this summer, let them make their own doctor’s appointments. And remember, they probably need at least one immunization check on their tetanus shot when their last one was.

They need to see if they need a meningitis shot and go to the dermatologist, the allergist, or the dentist. Make sure they go to a dentist. That is something that frequently falls by the wayside. The first semester is a very fertile time for cavities. But have them make their appointment and help them walk through the paperwork, which is now online, so they understand all of that.

I’ve got that outlined in this first chapter of the book. What’s the guarantor? Blah blah blah, all that kind of stuff. Then, have them go by themselves and fill out the prescription.

The doctor will now send it electronically for most things and have them pick it up at the pharmacy because most kids have never done that. We’re so used to doing that when they’re little—we have to. Then you just don’t ever kind of go out of the habit of that if you haven’t made it a point to have them start taking over their health care.

SHERYL: Get them to practice before they go. I think that’s important. This is a very random question, but Amazon will now send prescriptions. Is that helpful for college students who don’t have a pharmacy now?

DR JILL: I have not used Amazon, where I have no prescription, so I’m not fully sure what you’re saying. I mean, like CVS, Walgreens, and the different grocery stores, they all have delivery services where you can deliver your prescription.

But it’s great to pick CVS, Walgreens, or one of these pharmacies nationwide; it makes it so much simpler. When they’re home, they can stick in and still get their prescriptions and the whole back-and-forth thing. It’s all in one system. So, I generally recommend using one.

SHERYL: Okay, that’s good to know; I have to chuckle. I was one of those parents whose kid was waiting until the last minute and didn’t have it. And can you rush me? Can you mail it? Can you get it to me?   

It has natural consequences. They’re learning to be independent. But if you can help them figure out some way to set their calendar reminders, that would be just one thing they can do to be more aware. Yes, it’s kind of training them to become independent and on their own. But it’s very scary. Like, I just remember that anxiety. You know?

DR JILL: Yeah, it’s hard. And the response I get from kids, not just my own, is that I have an attention deficit. Of course, I forgot this, like, Yeah, but Okay, now, we need to move from that to you have this. So, you need to have better backup systems in place than the average person. What are those that have more than one backup? Are there different kinds of visual reminders? Yeah, it’s a challenge.

SHERYL: Yes, yes. Good. Very, very helpful. Because I know a lot of moms are like, oh, yeah, how often do I remind my kid, like, you need to get your medication? That’s another one. And just how fast?

DR JILL: Yes, and I went through phases where I would just be like, stop, stop reminding her because every time she expects me to remind her, and I haven’t, we had this conversation. If she knows I will keep nagging her until she gets it, she doesn’t have to take on that responsibility.

So that was hard for me because I’m like, well, there are consequences. What if she doesn’t do well and then loses her scholarship? Then there are financial consequences. And it’s parents; I’m right there with you.

We’ve all had those different challenges, but it is really important to try not to over-parent that so they can start getting their backup systems. And I will say my youngest is now 25. And she’s, she’s got it 98% of the time.

SHERYL: Yeah, I can say the same thing. Just know. But if they know that, we’re always there to remind and nag them; they don’t have to take it on because it’s in the back. Well, Mom will; just remind me. Yeah, and then they get mad that you’re reminding them?

You have all of these tips, tricks, and hacks, and I just have to say, I love it. It’s so fun to see how you format the book and the common health issues for our kids. So, let’s go through a few of the most common ones I have written down. One big one is insomnia, and all my kids went through this insomnia, dorm room insomnia.

DR JILL: Huge, huge issue, the biggest issue in the that combined with loneliness, the biggest issue in the first month, and of course, loneliness and homesickness can cause insomnia. But listen, parents – dorm rooms are designed to make you not sleep.

If you think about it, they’re loud, smelly, bright, and hot. They are all the things that disturb our sleep. So, being as proactive as possible. You want to ensure your kid knows the things that optimize sleep so you can’t make the dorm dark.

Still, you can make your eyes dark, so I’m a fan of the bit the sleep masks, and yes, guys use these too – this is not just a princess pink, you know, little frilly masks, and when guys use them all the time, so sleep masks ideally get two -because they get gross.

After all, they forget to put them on. And they put them on, and they’re sweaty, which makes their acne worse. So don’t get the $2 ones. Go like a fine wine, go mid-range, just get the $8 one or something, somewhere between $5 and $12. You should get a Nurish one that can be washed with their laundry.

So that makes it dark, make sure that they have a fan, a little personal fan. And, of course, this depends on what area in the country you are in. But even if you’re using it for white noise, it is good to have a fan, and most dorms are not cool enough. So people like to have that smell of aromatherapy.

You cannot have a super flowery, smelly thing. You can’t have candles but can remove bad odor with gel odor absorbers. This tends to be worse in guy dorms than in girls. I think guys sweat a little more and shower a little less. So, putting that in with their smelly shoes next to their laundry. That can help a little bit with the smell.

Or you can get a lot of not to be sexist, but more girls than guys tend to do this. They’ll get the little essential oils, lavender or eucalyptus, and drop them on their pillowcase. And they’ll smell that, so you make it dark. You make it cool.

If you want to minimize noise, the best thing I recommend is that you don’t want to fall asleep. Noise-canceling air pods are not good for your ears. If you have those in all the time, you’ll end up with a wax buildup, and then that’s going to be a separate problem.

But Amazon sells sweatbands that look like sweatbands. They go over your ears and are Bluetooth noise-cancelling. I mean, these are not super high-end, and they’re not expensive. I think they’re in the $20 range.

But they’re good enough that you can listen to guided meditations or sleep stories, which most young people call guided meditation. And for parents who haven’t heard, that’s like stories that are kind of read in a monotone voice. It’s a thing.

SHERYL: I use them.

DR JILL: Okay, there you go.

SHERYL: I don’t know what they do. I guess it’s the monotone voices. But yeah, it just works. And it takes your mind off of what you’re worrying about.

DR JILL: Right. So yeah, they don’t do it for me, like my daughters love them. I do not, but everyone has to find out what works for them. Anyway, you can do a guided meditation, sleep story, music, or whatever. But with those headbands, it’s not going inside your ear. But it is canceling the noises around you.

Again, you’ve got your mask on. So if your roommates come in and out, it’s still dark and quiet for you because you’ve got that little barrier. But the biggest thing students do wrong in trying to correct their sleep is this: they need to get up at roughly the same time every day.

And that’s hard if you have an eight o’clock class, which almost nobody does anymore. But if you’re a pre-med major and you have no choice because you have the labs or you’re an engineer, that same anyone who has labs that take up three-hour chunks ends up having to have morning classes.

So, if you have that on Monday or Wednesday, unfortunately, you need to get up within about the same hour the rest of the week. And if you get up at the same time, it’s fine if you take a nap in the afternoon, but you’re better off getting up at the same time every day, then that’s more important than focusing on when you go to sleep at the same time. So we have to get them to get on that cycle.

Also, for social reasons, many kids who may not have drunk coffee before college become a very common afternoon at Starbucks or your cute little on-campus coffee places. That’s an expensive habit, too, but it becomes a very common social habit.

And so people don’t realize that they’re having a coffee at three in the afternoon, and that’s going to screw up your quality of sleep even if you’re going to bed at midnight. So teach them to be aware of that.

And weighted blankets. I love weighted blankets. People are hit or missed on them for whatever reason. You want a 15-pound one for a bigger person. I’m just going to say, you know, over, over 180 pounds, I would get the 20-pound one, and it’s sort of like somebody hugging you it.

Some people like it just to sit in before they sleep, and others like to sleep in it. And I think those things can be worth their weight in gold. Wonderful.

SHERYL: Good tips. Okay, seizures. That’s a biggie and your book talks about it. I did not realize that those are common.

DR JILL: Yeah. So seizures are far more common than people realize; here in the United States, one in 26 people during their lifetime will have a seizure; think about way more than 26 people, right? A bunch of people that have had a seizure, I promise. And around the world, it’s one in 11.

But that’s, that’s because of infectious diseases and parasites that can cause seizures. But the real thing is that college-age are much more likely to have seizures than those other ages. And there’s a variety of reasons for that.

But let me go over triggers for seizures, and it’ll become very clear to you why college students are more at risk. Let’s start with sleep deprivation, which we were just talking about because they live chronically sleep-deprived and stressed.

Also, alcohol, of course, medications like ADHD medications, and then street drugs like amphetamines, similar, certainly cocaine, ecstasy, synthetic THC cannabis products, those can all put you at risk for seizures, antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications do slightly increase your risk for seizures. Head injuries again, we see a lot of head injuries in college, often coupled with alcohol.

And let’s see what else – Benadryl, Benadryl, gets abused actually for its hallucinogenic potential, which many parents don’t realize. Some students will try and use it for insomnia. That’s not recommended. I’ve seen people use it effectively for two or three nights. And that’s fine.

It loses its sedation if you use it routinely anyway. But the bigger problem was when people started taking bigger and bigger doses of Benadryl. But here’s what I want parents to know: what we see in college with seizures are provoked seizures, meaning that we can usually identify a trigger.

And it’s not one, it’s not two, it’s usually that third layer or fourth layer of adding something on, so you’ve got a sleep-deprived kid who drinks alcohol because they’re in college.

They’re drinking alcohol, but they’re also on an antidepressant, and then maybe they’ve got a cold, or they had insomnia, and they took Benadryl. So it’s like you just took someone with no risk factors and put them all together. And it’s when that happens. And then we see seizures, and we do see seizures from drugs of abuse, drugs that are abused, street drugs, cocaine, et cetera, as well.

And here’s something that people think about because there are two different things I want to talk about regarding seizures. First, talk about what you do if you see someone having a seizure. Because, again, it’s more common in college.

So, the odds are good that your child is going to end up seeing someone have a seizure. So what do they do? One, the first thing they do is take a breath. It is scary. It’s scarier for people watching a seizure, typically, than it is for the person who had a seizure because at the moment that they are unconscious, they’re unconscious. It’s embarrassing, and it’s scary when they wake up. But it’s also scary to witness.

I ask them to immediately start their stopwatches. I don’t know any college student who doesn’t have an Apple watch or a smartphone, and they all know how to start their stopwatch. So do that because it is really helpful for the EMS to know how long the seizure has been.

And that takes one second. So do that as you’re walking over. When you get to the person, if they’re not on the ground, ease them to the ground because maybe they were sitting in a chair at the library. And that was where they had their seizures, so you’re going to ease them to the ground. And all you’re doing is making sure they don’t get hurt worse during their seizure. So you’re just protecting their head; if you’ve got a jacket, sure whip your jacket off, put that underneath their head, and if you can roll them onto their side, great.

I don’t overly emphasize that there’s always a chance that they can throw up and aspirate, and that’s why you would put them on their side just like you would if someone were drunk. But the main thing is you’re just protecting them from harm. So if they’re near something with sharp edges, protect them from that either with a coat or by moving them slightly, and you’re timing it and so when it stops you so that you can give an accurate thing.

Meanwhile, you’ve told somebody else to call 911. You don’t. That’s the thing: you don’t have to do everything yourself; you’re rarely the only person. If you are the only person, start your stopwatch and call 911. As you put your phone down, put it on speaker, and you’re using your hands to protect the person. But most of the time, these happen in crowds, walking across campus, at parties, and often, people lie on a couch or sit down.

But again, you’re protecting them, seeing how long the seizure lasts, and calling 911. Because there are people who can die from a seizure, it’s not super common; there’s a term for it. It’s SUDFEP, sudden, unexplained death from epilepsy.

If one has a prolonged seizure, they go into Status Epilepticus, which is the medical word for it, and they just either have repeated seizures back to back or just one long, continuous seizure. At that point, it can be dangerous; the vast majority of seizures are scary to watch. But it’s kind of over and done in less than two minutes, most less than one minute; it will not feel like one minute when you are watching someone have a seizure; you’re gonna think it was going on for 10 minutes.

If you weren’t timing it, I promise you, it’s an impressive thing to see outside of a controlled area like a hospital. So it’s really good that people know about that. So, I think that’s everything about the seizure itself.

That person is going to be taken to the hospital and evaluated unless they have a known history of seizures. Even then, they may be taken, but something that college students don’t realize when they’re binge drinking and doing things that can lead to provoked seizures is that if you have a seizure, and of course, in your scene, some states have mandatory reporting of seizures.

Most of it’s voluntary, but if you have a seizure, you really shouldn’t drive for three to six months, up to 18 months; those regulations vary from state to state. Being unable to drive when you have a job or live off campus can be challenging, which is just a good thing for young people.

And again, the biggest thing is that they need to know it’s that tipping point; it’s if you if you’re on an antidepressant, you can maybe have a glass or two of alcohol, but you really can’t binge drink, you are going to have a bad outcome of some sort. And in it, you gotta avoid that layering of multiple risk factors.

SHERYL: I learn much from talking to and listening to you on social media. I read your book because I didn’t know what to do if somebody had a seizure. And it’s just very helpful for our kids to know because that wouldn’t be something that would dawn on me, knowing what you mix like Benadryl, alcohol, you’re on ADHD medicine, like all these things, that there’s real danger involved.

DR JILL: That’s the biggest thing when people ask about what are some of the risks of binge drinking. I mean, just alcohol alone, you can have seizures, just from blood alcohol toxicity, but really what we see is it’s when those things get combined, and you just have to be careful.

SHERYL: Yeah, very, very helpful. Um, nicotine patches. So we have the whole vaping. So that’s maybe separate. Is that separate from nicotine patches? Is it more than chewing tobacco?

DR JILL: So there’s this new thing called zen, and influencers, adults, and grown-ups are pushing this stuff. It is a big trend in middle school, as much as college, probably even more so than college. And the whole selling point, if you will, is that it’s nicotine, it’s not tobacco.

So, the kids all know that smoking is bad. But they know that they know that that’s a health risk, but they’re being sold that nicotine is just like this great brain stimulant, which it is. It is a great brain stimulant. It’s also like the most addictive substance.

It’s just so we’ve spent decades getting people to understand how addictive nicotine is in its different forms. And now there are these little pouches, which just look like a little clear pouch with white powder. And you put it in your mouth between your ears. It’s like It’s like dipping but spitless.

Although actually, it still generates some saliva. People do still spit on this, but supposed to be spotless; the thing is about nicotine is that the first time you use it, it works great. This is the problem with all drugs that are addictive. It’s not that they don’t do anything – they do.

They wouldn’t be addictive if they didn’t do something. But what people don’t realize is that you’re going to spend the rest of your life chasing that initial buzz that you got, whether it’s because it’s going to take more and more of the same substance to get that and then especially nicotine because it’s so short-acting, so you get this burst of okay, alert, you’re feeling alert and focused and a little bit euphoric.

But then it quickly fades. And very quickly, with use suddenly, now you’re not just craving the feeling of good. You’re feeling bad from withdrawal, and you can’t get to normal. You can’t get back to your normal baseline without that same substance. And that’s why it’s so addictive.

I heard a young man refer to it as the devil’s pacifier. And I’m like, you know what, I think that’s a pretty accurate description. And I am really, very anti-nicotine.

SHERYL: Yeah, that’s a good way to ascribe the devil’s pacifier. You think it will make you feel better, but then it makes you feel worse and worse, right?

DR JILL: It does initially make you feel better, but very, very quickly. I’m talking with very little use, just a few times. You’re in that cycle, you’re in that bad cycle, and then it’s just so hard to break.

If someone out there is listening and they are addicted to nicotine, please talk with your doctor; we have so many different ways to help people with nicotine addiction. But we’ve kind of stopped talking about it as smoking rates went down, but now, another. It’s just a new nicotine delivery system.

SHERYL: There are so many now. We have no-smoking restaurants and all these places. And now, to thank guests for coming to us, it’s just packaged differently.

DR JILL: Yep. Yep.

SHERYL: So sex and disease. And you have a lot to say about that, which is very important. We don’t want to. We go no, no, no, and not talk about that. But it’s important to talk about. So what would you say? What would you say about that?

DR JILL: You bring this up in the 11th hour!

So I say in this book, I have written three other books on just sexually transmitted infections and ended up talking about that for a decade, which was never my intent. It’s important; it is not always great for dinner conversation.

But anyway, the main thing is, you can’t tell by looking if someone has a sexually transmitted infection or not; they are very common. The most common is herpes. And it can be passed from someone’s mouth, from a cold sore to someone else’s genitals. And we see this all the time. And the most we can treat it is that this is not a death sentence.

But to the self-esteem of young people, when they are diagnosed with genital herpes or herpes in their mouth, it goes both ways, and they start having all these cold sore outbreaks. There, they feel very bad about themselves.

So, number one, these viruses don’t care how much money you have or how beautiful you are; everybody has said it’s common for one in five Americans to use a barrier. If you’re going to be intimate with somebody and have your mouth on someone else’s genitals, there needs to be a physical barrier there.

That’s why flavored condoms were invented. And usually, that’s kind of an aha moment. People like, oh, I never thought about using it with that. So that’s important. And hookups.

There’s no kind of moral judgment one way or another. But, a lot of times, young people want to hear me say that hookups are not risky. But the reality is, the more people you’re intimate with, the higher your risk of getting a disease; get tested and use barriers; there’s going to be a decrease in your risk.

Next, we have the Gardasil vaccine; oh my gosh, it used to be we saw genital warts. I mean, there were over a million cases every single year. I don’t even know what the current count is. But it’s got to be way down.

I mean, it’s been years since I’ve even treated anybody for that was so great that thanks to that vaccine, so, but young women are fertile, you need two methods of birth control. And I would say one barrier plus something else, the pill or the implant, different things.

SHERYL: What is also great about your book is that you can give this to your seniors, who will want to read it because you make it so fascinating. And it’s under each topic. So, I just think they’re gonna want to read that.

That’s where I’m like, well, that’s probably one of the big ones sexually transmitted infections. Yes, it happens to people like you that they will run and read it as a third-party influence, telling them they don’t want to listen to us these times.

DR JILL: I can’t tell you how many parents have told me they get several crisp $20 bills and put them in the chapters. And then they just set it out, you know? Just set it out and see what happens.

So, I never intended it to be a sit-down-and-read book; I intend it to be – I’m concerned about this. Or, after they read one thing, they might be like, Oh, hey, wait a minute, what’s this thing about pierced ears, hearing infections, or it catches their eye.

Some kids read it cover to cover before they go to college. That’s the exception, not the rule. But it’s good to know what’s in there. My main point is that I do know a thing or more than Dr. Google.

And if you look up a lot of things, it’s just going to tell you that you’re going to have a brain tumor and die if you have a headache because I have to go immediately to the extreme. And I tried to just keep it real that, like, here’s the most common thing. Here’s when you need to get out. Here’s the worst thing that can happen if you don’t get out and just say it like it is no judgment.

SHERYL: Yeah, I like that, too. Like, when do I go get it? What do I need to pay attention to regarding that? I know I need to go get help. It’s very important.

So, I know we didn’t even talk about weed. Can you just say something, and you’ll have to get her book? You have to get her book. But quickly, can you comment about weed?

DR JILL: Short version: today’s weed is not your pot. Whether you used it or you knew others who did the THC concentration today, which is the active part vector component that causes the high in the hallucinogens, hallucinations, and such, it used to be three to 5%. Now, it’s routinely 15% up to 30%.

Then, kids take it from there and get concentrated products called DAB, oils, or shatter. And these things have like 95 up to 99% THC. It’s not the same product. Today’s weed is addictive. It’s not addictive for everybody, but one in six teens, one in 11 adults, which means if you try and tell someone this, they’re like, oh, yeah, well, I’ve used it, and I don’t have a problem walking away.

Yeah, because five out of six don’t, but you don’t know if you’re going to be the one out of 16 that gets completely addicted or the one out of 11 adults, and whether you’re addicted or not, you can have a bad experience on a given usage. It can be the same from a legal dispensary.

But one time you use this product, you have a lovely experience, and another time, you have a very bad experience. And the bad trips are you’re you’re having delusions, you’re paranoid, you think someone’s chasing you trying to kill you. It’s very terrifying.

And those cars that you see occasionally racing down the street when you’re driving—I would bet you nine times out of 10 today if it’s just a crazy, way out of proportion, high-speed car—I would bet you that that is a cannabis issue. That’s what we’ve seen in the States.   

As it’s been legalized, I’ve seen an increasing number of these heights, high-speed chases, because they think they’re being chased. I mean, they’re not. They’re not out there like, oh, hey, this is just fun. They’re fleeing from the CIA with machine guns trying to kill, and that’s what they’re experiencing in their head, and it’s very, very scary, and then they can hurt themselves and others in the process.

SHERYL: Oh, yeah. No, I mean, I know that is a true thing because moms I’ve worked with their kids have had a psychotic episode and paranoid running end up in the hospital. I mean, it’s bad. And they think, oh, it’s natural, it’s not going to happen to me.

DR JILL: Yes, scary. And, parents, I know I do want to say I recognize that.  I see the problems. So I understand that people always want to argue with me and say that it’s not that bad for some people. And maybe it’s not, but what I’ve certainly seen is that it’s not good for brains under the age of 25, which are still rapidly developing; they have a higher potential for addiction.

That’s why I keep emphasizing that it’s not just teens; it’s up to 25. But that it’s more addictive and more dangerous. And it’s just that if you’re looking for my advice, I would advise you to avoid it.

SHERYL: Well, thank you. Yeah, thank you, Dr. Jill. We need to know these things. We need to be educated; we need to educate our kids. What a wonderful way to do it to have written this book. And so that we can give it to our kids so that we can read it ourselves and gift it and stick in those 20s –

DR JILL: Fives can be fives, so you could run out of money quickly. Yeah, marking everything here.

SHERYL: It can give us greater peace knowing that we’re having these hard conversations, but we’re also equipping them with this book when they go to college. If they’re having something like an ear infection, they’re not sure they can flip to that chapter on strep throat. I mean, cover to cover.

DR JILL: It is like kidney stones. I mean, we, aside from other things, still have concussions and sprained ankles and all those things. And I try and give little tips. Like just as an example, the appendicitis one is the easiest one.

People get so worried when they have really bad stomach pain, and nothing is 100% in medicine, but I will tell you that it’s very, very, very rare to be hungry and have appendicitis. So, for many people, that ended up being a little bit reassuring in the morning when they were hungry but having stomach pains. It’s much more likely they’ve got gastritis, a stomach bug, or whatever.

SHERYL: Yeah, those are those great tips and tricks in the book. So we’ll have to do an Instagram or something on there where you can give us these tips and tricks. Because there’s so much anyway, tell them where to find you and where to buy the book. You mentioned Amazon again. Do you want the blue and gold version?

DR JILL: Check the publishing date if you want the blue and gold version. The blue and gold is the new one. The maroon one is the old one. But just remember one thing: Blue and Gold are the new ones. It has more in it. If they mark the other one to sell for five bucks, I would get that back. But you want you want all the new information.

Please support your local bookstores. I love indie bookstores and always encourage people to go there first. But we all use Amazon to some extent, and I think most of us do, so it is there as well.

I am on social media on Instagram @JillGrimesMD and @TheTikTokCollegeDoc. I am kind of migrating data. Who knows how long or if TikTok will last? Whatever. I’m just there to give information. But I’m also slowly migrating to YouTube, and I’ll just be @TheCollegeDoc.

SHERYL: Okay, wonderful. And then your website is –

DR JILL: https://jillgrimesmd.com

SHERYL:  Well, thank you so much for being with us. Thank you for writing this book. And I always love talking to you.

DR JILL: It’s so much fun talking with you, and I’m always available to help your group.

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