DR. WALLACE: I'm a healthy, 15-year-old teenager, and next month, my family and I will be visiting relatives in another state. We will be in a home where a younger cousin of mine has just had the measles, which I know from studying it is a highly contagious disease. I am really concerned that some or all of us could become infected. I told my mom that the measles could be as big a deal as COVID-19 is, in its own way. Should I be safe and have a vaccination to make sure I don't get the disease? This is a really fun time in my life, and I don't want anything to disrupt it. — Worried, via email
WORRIED: Please call the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at 800-232-4636 to receive important and up-to-date information about preventable diseases and immunizations to protect against them. Callers will obtain good data on 12 contagious diseases, including chickenpox, mumps, polio, influenza and the one you're most worried about, the measles. You are wise to keep an eye out for other diseases besides the dreaded COVID-19.
The hotline provides information on who should be immunized, when a person should be immunized and the locations of sites where vaccines are available. This hotline answers questions about recommended vaccinations for children, teens and adults. It would be wise to use a speakerphone and make this call with one or both of your parents listening in.
TRY TO START OUT AS REMOTE STUDY BUDDIES
DR. WALLACE: I was attracted to a certain boy at my school earlier this year (back in January) when we all went to school in person. I did everything I could to attract his attention, but nothing worked back then because he is very shy. I smiled at him in the halls when we passed each other, but I didn't really get much of a reaction out of him. He usually kept his head down and only would glace up briefly here and there.
Now, with all of us going to school remotely due to COVID-19, what should I do? Do you think he was not interested in me back then, or did he not react because of his shyness? — Unsure How To Connect, via email
UNSURE HOW TO CONNECT: It could be that he never knew your smile was directed at him, but you'll never know unless you have a chance to talk with him.
Since it may be a while before you get a chance to meet him face to face, see if you can connect with him via telephone or text during this upcoming school semester this fall. Stick to safe subjects at first, such as your schoolwork and study plans for the work you are all doing from home. Let him know that it would be great to study remotely with someone in your class that you've never met because your time would be well spent on studying rather than telling stories or gossiping, which you might be tempted to do with close friends.
If you can make contact, you might at least have a good study buddy to lean on for mutual support and guidance with classwork. Then, when the all-clear arrives (hopefully soon!) to return to your classes in person, you will have established a comfortable friendship with this boy. From there, you might explore spending social time with him as well, if you both end up feeling comfortable doing so. Good luck!
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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