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Christina Trinchero: At prom season, staying healthy and safe

With prom season just weeks away, take the time to make smart, healthy decisions. If you or someone you know is going to the prom or any springtime formal event, remember to share these tips to make the night stress-free, fun, and safe.

How you feel

Watch what you eat. Move more.

Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, eat less junk food (i.e. foods and drinks high in calories, with saturated fat, or with added sugars), and don’t crash diet. Think about what you drink. Choose drinks with no or low calories and fat, such as water, sparkling water, or unsweetened tea. As you prepare for the big event, find fun ways to stay active, such as walking, dancing, gardening, and swimming; get in shape slowly and wisely, suggests the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov. Be active for 60 minutes a day most days of the week. If a prom after-party is on your list of things to do, be sure to get plenty of sleep leading up to prom night.

Take charge of your skin. Enjoy the skin you’re in, and protect it. You don’t need a tan to be beautiful, and you definitely don’t need a sunburn. Just a few serious sunburns can increase your risk for skin cancer later in life. In fact, indoor tanning is a dangerous activity for anyone under age 35 and increases one’s risks of malignant melanoma by 75 percent, according to Dr. Katherine White, dermatologist and founder of Hampshire Dermatology & Skin Health Center. Make sure you protect yourself from the harmful effects of UV rays. Avoid indoor and outdoor tanning, which can be a popular activity during prom season, and use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher.

Wear comfortable shoes. High heels may be in style, but they can increase your chances of falling if they’re too high, uncomfortable, or not something you usually wear. Prevent injury and wear comfortable footwear that won’t affect how you walk or dance. If high heels are a must, bring along a pair of flats for dancing.

Stress less

Be safe. Plan ahead. What are your prom-night plans and who knows about them? Make an agreement with friends to keep a check on each other during the evening. Be sure someone you trust is available for you to call if your plans change or you need help.

No date? No problem. You can still have fun. Whether you plan to go with a date, with friends, or on your own, the point is to have a good time. Going with a group or meeting friends at the event can be just as fun as going with one special person. Whether you’re going solo or with a group, never drink and drive.

Remember, it’s OK to say no. Some teens feel pressured by friends or the media to drink, smoke, use drugs, or have sex on prom night. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention drinking is responsible for more than 4,500 deaths among young people each year and is associated with other problems like STDs (sexually transmitted disease) and unintended pregnancy. Alcohol and drugs impair judgment and may result in being harmed or harming others.

Travel safely. According to the CDC, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are four times more likely than older drivers to get in a car accident. Always wear a seat belt. Don’t drink and drive, and never get in a car with someone who has been drinking.

Considering an after-prom party? If you plan to go to an after-prom party, be sure it is adult-supervised and has an observed start and end time. Go with a “buddy” to ensure each other’s safety. Avoid using alcohol and drugs. Make sure parents or a responsible adult know where you are at all times in case of emergency. Call a parent, guardian, or someone you trust in case plans change or you need help.

Above all, be safe and have fun. Chances are you’ll remember your prom night for many years to come and you want the memories to be happy and healthy!

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