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This page contains answers to common questions of older students and their parents.


  1. Can listening to my MP3/iPOD put me at risk for hearing loss?
  2. What is caffeine?
  3. Why do I need a Carbon Monoxide detector?
  4. How do I take a tick off my skin?
  5. Do you have any tips to keep me safe on my bike?
  6. How can I stay safe in the sun?
  7. Which Helmet for Which Activity Guide
  8. Net
  9. Sunscreen safety
  10. Your child's vision




Can listening to my MP3/iPOD put me at risk for hearing loss?

Can listening to my MP3/iPOD put me at risk for hearing loss?

Loud Music can cause hearing damage. This is particularly important with the new MP3 or IPODs. These devices can really harm the delicate hair cells in the inner ear. These cells transmit sound impulses to the brain. CD players can do this also, but the MP3/IPOD players pump the music directly into the ear canal.

Many middle and high school students don't think of hearing loss when they listen to loud music. Some kids feel that some type of medicine will help their ears if they are damaged. Unfortunately, this isn't true. The resulting damage is nerve damage. This type of damage can't be reversed.

An article in the Pediatrics magazine estimated that 12.5% of children ages 6-19 (5.2 million kids) in the US have noise-induced hearing loss. Sometimes, voices sound muffled or people have difficulty following a conversation in a loud room full of people. People can also have ringing in their ears.  The most important way to prevent this is by lowering the volume of the music. 

IPOD have marketed an ear pad accessory that clips on the ear, instead of the small speakers that fit directly into the ear canal. Remember, you can't toughen your ears by listening to loud music. If the music is loud enough and is on long enough, it will cause permanent damage to your hearing.Noise and aging are the two primary causes of hearing loss.


Here are a few things you can do to prevent damage from noise: 

Earbuds can boost the sound in your eardrums to a damaging level. Listen via earbuds for no more than an hour a day, and keep the iPod/MP3 volume control at 6 or below. If you want to listen to your iPod/MP3 player for longer periods of time, use earmuff-style headphones and turn the volume down even more. ( don't bother with expensive headphones, the inexpensive sets work just as well). Parents should monitor their child's headphone/earbud volume. Put the headset on and adjust it, if necessary. 

Always wear earplugs at concerts and clubs. Earplugs don't have to be the expensive, pre-molded kind; the cheap ones sold at drugstores are fine. Be sure your concert seats aren't right next to the speakers. Amplified rock music can damage ears after one-half hour/day. 

Rapper Foxy Brown is 26 years old, and has been deaf for 6 months. She will undergo surgery this month (January 2006) to restore SOME of her hearing. Phil Collins and Pete Townshend also have marked hearing loss.

In Europe, there is a limit to how much sound comes from the personal music players (decibels). Currently, the US doesn't have limits on the level of noise. Please consider the above recommendations to protect your hearing.



What is caffeine?

Teenagers and Caffeine

The teachers and staff of the Middle School have seen a lot of students drinking hot coffee or tea in the morning. How many of you are drinking soda on your way home from school, or at home?  Do you have a headache in the afternoon after you've your morning caffeine?  If you say YES to any of the questions, read on:

What is Caffeine?

Caffeine is a drug that is naturally produced in the leaves and seeds of many plants. Some examples are:  tea leaves, coffee beans, chocolate, many sodas, medicine for pain, and other medicines that you can buy at the store.  It can also be made and added to certain foods.  Caffeine is a DRUG because it's a stimulant that causes your heart rate increase, makes you more alert,  increases your energy, and makes your mood better.  Higher doses of caffeine can cause you to be anxious, dizzy,  tough time concentrating in class, increase your blood pressure, give you headaches, feel a bit depressed and make you sleep differently.

Caffeine is addictive.  If you usually have some every day and stop,  you may go through withdrawal.  This can make you have a nasty headache, achy muscles, and get really irritable.  Kids who drink caffeine regularly get resistant to the caffeine. That means that you have to eat or drink more caffeine to feel the same effects (more alert, energy, etc.)  Caffeine also dehydrates you, so you have to drink more fluids. It also makes your body lose calcium, which isn't good for growing bones.  This can lead to osteoporosis when you are older.

Some examples of a lot of caffeine are Coffee, Kick, Surge, Jolt cola and Mountain Dew. Some drinks with less caffeine are: Tea, Coke and Pepsi.  If you drink a lot of caffeine, try cutting out one caffeine a day and drink water instead. Do this for a week.  This will give you more energy than the coffee or tea. There are no caffeine standards in the United States for teens.  In Canada, they recommend only 45 mg. of caffeine a day. That's equal to : 1 can of soda, a 6 ounce chocolate bar,  10 glasses of chocolate milk,  3 ounces of dark chocolate,  6 ounces of tea, and about 2 ounces of coffee. 

There are other reasons to avoid caffeinated drinks.  One caffeinated drink per day may increase your risk of being overweight.   Also, you may not be getting all the nutrients your body needs if you are quenching your thirst with drinks other than milk and fruit juices.   Your teeth may have more cavities too.   The best way to cut out caffeine is to avoid soda and coffee/tea.  Drink 100% fruit juice, milk, flavored seltzer, and water. 

If you have any questions, please come by the nursing office upstairs. 


Jeanne Pratt and Sally Brown 




Why do I need a Carbon Monoxide detector?

In Nov 2005, Mitt Romney passed Nicole's law which places certain requirements on owners of all residental properties. Generally speaking anyone who owns residental property that contains fossil burning fuel equipment (oil/gas/coal, etc) OR contains enclosed parking (attached or enclosed garage) in Massachusetts is required to install CO alarms by March 31,2006. In certain limited instances, the installation requirements are deferred until 1/1/07.

Carbon Monoxide is a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas that results from incomplete burning of fuels, wood, coal, and gasoline. Each year, many people die from accidental CO poisoning and thousands more are injured. This law was passed to protect all of us from the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Install CO alarms on every level of your home except for basements and attics that do NOT have habitable living spaces by 3/31/06. Acceptable combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarms must have simulated voice and tone alarms that clearly distinguish between the two types of emergencies. If you have any questions, call the Rockport Fire Department at 645-3444. 



How do I take a tick off my skin?

A tick bit may transmit diseases. 

The goals to remove a tick are: 

  • remove safely, 
  • remove quickly, and 
  • to watch for symptoms of disease.


Signals of a tick bite:

  • tick embedded in the flesh
  • sore, reddened area after the tick is removed


Watch for:

  • fever and chills
  • flu-like symptoms, joint pain, and muscle pain
  • Bull's eye spot or black and blue rash around the bite or on other body parts

To remove:

  • Grasp the tick with fine-tipped tweezers close to the skin and pull slowly. 
  • Use plastic wrap, paper, or a leaf if you don't have tweezers
  • Do not try to burn the tick off
  • Do not apply petroleum jelly or nail polish to the tick
  • If you can not remove the tick or if its mouth parts remain embedded, seek medical care,
  • ALWAYS call your doctor when you remove a tick from yourself or your child. 


  • Try to save the tick if you can. Your doctor may want to test it.
  • Wash the bite area very well with soap and water, and apply antiseptic ointment.


IF you don't feel well after you remove the tick, be sure to call your doctor's office back to let them know.




Do you have any tips to keep me safe on my bike?


  • Be sure to keep your tires inflated properly
  • Always ride on the right side of the road-with traffic
  • Be sure to ride in a straight line, and don't swerve.
  • Check your helmet before you ride each time. Be sure it doesn't tip backwards
  • Wear brightly colored clothing if you are biking during the day. 
  • If you are biking after sunset, be sure to wear reflective tape on your clothing, and have a front light and rear reflector.
  • Be sure to make eye contact with motorists if possible.  This will let motorists know you are there.



How can I stay safe in the sun?

First-Don't use a suntan lotion containing DEET and sunscreen. The directions for these two types of ingredients conflict. DEET lasts 6-8 hours, and sunscreen needs to be applied often.

Also: remember that 80% of UV (ultraviolet) rays pass through haze and thin clouds. If you sit in the shade, you cut UV exposure by up to 60%.


For SPF (sun protection factor) remember:

SPF 15-blocks 93%
30-Blocks 97%

Even with the 4% difference, most dermatologists recommend using the SPF 30 or higher. Remember to smooth the lotion on. If you rub it on vigoriously, the sunscreen is less effective by at least 25%.  The average person receives 14% of incidental sun exposure each week.

Be sure not to forget your lips. Try a lip-protecting lipstick or gloss labeled SPF 30.

If you wear moisturizers with SPF, they aren't appropriate with outdoor activities after 2 hours.

There is a popular myth that we have all of our sun damage by age 20. THis is not so. We get less than 25% of our total sun exposure by age 18. By age 40, we've soaked up about half our life time exposure, and by age 60-we've soaked up 75%. Remember, we need at least 1 ounce of sunscreen on our bodies, and at least a full teaspoon on your face.

If you wear a hat, be sure your hat is at least 3 inches wide. Some hats are lined with a fabric that offers UV protection. A basic white cotton t-shirt offers UV protection of only 5. Dark blue jeans have a UV protecion of 50. Be sure to check the expiration date on your sunscreen. Sunscreen doesn't last more that 2 years, so be sure to check the date! If the sunscreen is left in the car or on the picnic table outside, it will lose its power long before the expiration date.




Which Helmet for Which Activity Guide

Which Helmet for Which Activity Guide

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Office of Information and Public Affairs
Washington, DC 20207

March 29, 2006 
Release #06-122

CPSC Recall Hotline: (800) 638-2772
CPSC Media Contact: Julie Vallese or Patty Davis, (301) 504-7908

Gear Up, Strap It On - Helmets Can Save Lives and Reduce Injuries CPSC Releases New "Which Helmet for Which Activity" Guide 

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Spring is here and millions of Americans are heading outdoors to take part in their favorite sports activities. But gearing up for fun also means wearing the right gear. For CPSC, that means wearing a helmet each time you jump on a bike or skateboard, or put on your in-line skates. 

At a press event at CPSC's headquarters, Chairman Hal Stratton released CPSC's new guide, "Which Helmet for Which Activity." This safety brochure is being released in conjunction with "Brain Injury Awareness Month." CPSC believes the guide will help consumers determine the best type of helmet for their activity and help to prevent head and brain injuries. 

"Thousands of consumers could reduce the risk of serious head injury or death by wearing a helmet. It's important to wear the appropriate helmet for your sport," said Chairman Stratton.

Ice skating Olympic gold medalist and sports commentator Dick Button, a national spokesman for the Brain Injury Association of America, spoke about his brain injury due to a fall on the ice and strongly encouraged greater helmet use. 

Not all helmets, however, are created equal. Different activities require different helmets, and there are helmets for every season's sports. Each type of helmet is designed to protect your head from the impact that can take place in the particular sport for which it is intended. In a collision or fall, a helmet absorbs most of the impact
energy, instead of your head. 

Wearing a bicycle helmet while biking, for example, can reduce your risk of head injury by 85 percent, and reduce the risk of brain injury by 88 percent, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. 

According to CPSC's 2004 estimates, bicyclists received about 151,000 head injuries that were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms. Nearly 11,000 or 7 percent of those emergency room visits resulted in hospitalization. 

Skateboarders visited hospital emergency rooms with about 18,000 head injuries, and approximately 760 or 4 percent were hospitalized. CPSC estimates horseback riders received about 14,000 emergency room-treated head injuries. Approximately 2,400 or 17 percent of those head injuries required hospitalization. 

Many of these injuries could have been prevented through proper helmet usage. 

Bicycle helmets manufactured after 1999 must comply with the CPSC bicycle helmet mandatory safety standard. The standard also requires that chin straps be strong enough to keep the helmet on the head and in the proper position during a fall or collision. Other helmets are subject to other safety standards. 

A proper fit is as important as wearing the correct helmet in helping prevent head injuries. A helmet should be both comfortable and snug. Be sure that it is level on your head, not tilted back on the top of the head or pulled too low over the forehead. It should not move in any direction when adjusted properly. Make sure the chin strap is securely buckled so the helmet doesn't move or fall off during a fall or collision. 

CPSC's "Which Helmet for Which Activity" guide is a free publication and can be ordered by calling CPSC's Hotline at (800) 638-2772. An on-line version of the guide (pdf) can be found at

Also in the web site copy of the press release at is a table of estimated head injuries for selected sports.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from more than 15,000 types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $700 billion annually. The CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard or can injure children. The
CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products - such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals - contributed significantly to the 30 percent decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.

To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, call CPSC's hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC's teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270, or visit CPSC's web site at To join a CPSC email subscription list, please go to Consumers can obtain this release and recall information at CPSC's Web site at


Tips for Internet safety usage for Kids and Teens


  1. Don't give out personal information such as: name, age, address, telephone 
    number, parent/guardian's name, school name and address

  2. Don't respond to mean, offensive, threatening or unwanted e-mail or instant 

  3. Choose a screenname that doesn't identify you as a young boy or girl

  4. Don't share your password with anyone (except a parent/guardian)-not even 
    your best friend

  5. Remember, people online may or MAY NOT be who they say they are



Sunscreen safety

As the days get longer, so does the need for Sunscreen. Did you know that  wrinkles and other age related changes result from long term exposure to  sunlight? Incidence of skin cancer could be reduced by 75-80% if people use  sunscreen and sun-protective clothing. Sunblock should have a SPF of at least  15-30. When going outside, apply sunscreen 20-30 minutes before going  outside. If you are swimming or moderately sweating, you may need to reapply  sunscreen every 80 minutes. The American Cancer Society has a slogan:  Slip, Slop and Slap. Slip on a shirt, Slop on sunscreen and Slap on a hat.  Remember to check the expiration date on the Sunscreen. It's best to buy new sunscreen each spring.




Your child's vision

Your Child's vision is the most important tool for success in school. When  vision suffers, chances are schoolwork does, too.

School age children also spend a lot of time in recreational activities that require good vision.

24 Jerden's Lane, Rockport, MA 01966
Phone: 978-546-1200
Fax: 978-546-1205