DR. WALLACE: I went camping last week with my family to a wonderful nature site with a lake, many cabins, fire pits and boat docks. There’s a lot of great fishing, hiking and other outdoor activities available in that magical spot. Well, one night I met this boy at the campground around a fire pit about 500 yards away from our family campsite and we hung out talking to each other for quite a while. I really liked him a lot; one thing led to another and the next thing you know, we went out into the nearby woods for some heavy kissing. We didn’t exactly hook up with each other, but we did spend a lot of romantic time together nonetheless, if you catch my drift.
Now today, I don’t feel very well and I found out that I have a low fever. Do you think I could have caught COVID-19 from this handsome boy at the campgrounds? — Concerned Teen, via email
CONCERNED TEEN: COVID-19 is spread through close personal contact; it can be contracted after breathing in microscopic particles in the air. Some people who are infected do not show any symptoms of the virus but can still spread it to others.
If you think you might possibly have contracted COVID-19, there are many free testing sites available to you in virtually every American city.
Plan to get yourself tested before you return to school, and don’t forget that especially in these times, it might also be wise to contact your family physician so that your overall health profile can be more fully evaluated.
DR. WALLACE: I want my parents to let me choose my bedtime! I’m 15 years old now and over the course of my life I’ve always been a good kid. I take all honors and Advanced Placement classes, and last semester I had a 3.9 GPA. I feel like I’m old enough to decide when I can go to bed as long as I can keep up with my schoolwork.
Sometimes I have to study late and go to bed late (after midnight) when I cram for tests. Do you think if I ask my parents and explain this, they won’t make me go to bed at 10 p.m. every night? — Super Student, via email
SUPER STUDENT: Clearly you are excelling in high school, and I congratulate you on being such an excellent student and achiever. I think that you deserve some flexibility with your bedtime hours as long as your schoolwork doesn’t suffer (and you aren’t cramming until midnight either.)
It’s great that you are not experiencing sleep deprivation or any other stress signs thus far. I think in your case a compromise is in order. Perhaps you could propose to your parents that on certain nights ahead of very important tests you be allowed to study hard until 11 p.m., but on regular nights you’ll adhere to their 10 p.m. curfew.
If your parents agree to this, it would give you an extra full hour of study ahead of important school days. But beyond this idea, I suggest that you start studying the principles of time management. Do your best to allocate time to study well in advance of the night before a big exam. This way you’ll avoid stress and still be able to use that last extra hour the night before for a good, sound review of what you already have absorbed previously.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.