The Hurricane Nation Online

The Official Student Newspaper of Huntingtown High School

Free Earplugs for Concerts?

June 12th, 2014

By Chloe O’Dell

 

Going to concerts could perhaps be the landmark of a teenager’s life. Seeing a favorite band live and having the best night to remember, many high school students have been to at least one. However fun the show will be, there’s always going to be that major downside: damaging your hearing.

It’s a known fact that hearing will begin to decline the more we are exposed to high levels of sound. Concerts tend to have between the levels of 110 dB to 140 dB of sound; dB meaning decibels which is the unit to measure sound intensity. Having a normal conversation tends to range 40 dB to 60 dB. Even the iPod earphones students constantly listen to even have the potential to damage hearing. The sound levels at shows exceed 100 dB, Humans can’t be exposed to that high amount of decibels at a concert for long periods of time. That’s why music venues are now promoting free earplugs.

Concert venues will be soon to provide free earplugs, like shown.

Concert venues will be soon to provide free earplugs, like shown.

Recently, Minneapolis has passed a rule that all bars and clubs that host live music must provide free earplugs that can block at least 12 decibels. Clubs do not have to use the plugs, but must offer them to the public in some way. According to City Pages, this is believed to be the first ordinance of its kind in the US. Many are on board with the new rule; however, some disagree.

Those that agree with the new rule say that there should be dispensers placed around the venue for people to freely grab the earplugs to still see the show, but not at the price of their hearing. However, those that disagree believe that it is taking away the experience of a live show, drowning the music and covering the sound. Mr. Anderson, head of the theater production, sides with the new rule. He believes that the offering of the free earplugs is great for those who are sensitive to the sound, but he would be against the venues enforcing people to wear them. The venue should offer hearing safety, just so the venue isn’t sued in the case of someone losing their hearing at the time of the show. Mr. Anderson also stretched out to the issue of the safety of the workplace. There are people there who are at the venue for a one-time concert, so the risks of hearing loss aren’t as big of a deal, versus someone who works at the venue who is there every night and constantly exposed to high decibel levels. Senior Hunter Ash plays in an organized band. For every show, he hands out free earplugs and says that they always have them available. Especially when they play in small shows, Hunter doesn’t want anyone getting their eardrums blown because the sound is worse in small packed spaces. It would just provide security and comfort for those.

Those that disagree express that blocking their hearing would take away from the personal experience. Some don’t like to have the earplugs in when they are listening to the music because the audiences’ ears aren’t filled with the entire sound of a live show. The reason people attend the live show is to hear the musicians and band perform in reality, not just by watching a performance through a screen. The people against the free earplugs believe that if someone was concerned about their hearing, then they would bring their own. As for the others who are not concerned at all, then they are not enforced on wearing something to block their enjoyment of the live performance as a whole. The issue about earplugs would be relied on the own individual’s choice to bring some or not.

The issue about hearing loss and concert venues is now becoming a rule that’s enforced by local music venues. The public seem to be on one end or the other. In general, if any concert goer decided to attend a show, whether in a huge stadium or local venue, it’s highly suggested to bring earplugs. Many Huntingtown students are off to enjoy concerts over the summer and some are going to their first show. Wherever the show may be, always be prepared with earplugs. It’ll be a billion times beneficial in the long run.

Do Video Games Affect Health?

June 6th, 2014

By Lyndsay Larson

Kaneesha Keemer (Grade 10) Enjoying a DS Game

Kanesha Keemer (Grade 10) Enjoying a DS Game

The last generation has been completely different from the last two. In the past two decades, teenagers have been becoming more and more addicted on the technologies available to them. According to The Economist, video games are highly addictive because of teens’ psychological need to immerse themselves in a mindless world to escape their problems such as depression and social phobia. Not only that, they spend hours and hours of their time on virtual games opposed to what their parenting generation had done in their free time. A generation before young people went outside to explore the surrounding countryside and neighborhoods and play outside in general. Socializing had actually meant speaking face to face instead of a text message buzzing your phone in your pocket.

Video Games Can Affect Moral Standing

Video Games Can Affect Moral Standing

Michael D. Gallagher, the president and CEO of the American Software Association, said, “No other sector has experienced the same explosive growth as the computer and the video game industry. Our creative publishers and talented workforce continue to accelerate advancement and pioneer new products that push boundaries and unlock entertainment experiences. These innovations in turn drive enhanced player connectivity, fuel demands for products, and encourage the progression of an expanding and diversified consumer base.”
Simone Kühn, of Ghent University in Belgium, conducted some studies with a number of 14-year olds. He noted that the “frequent gamers” that played over 9 hours a week made quicker decisions in gaming and generally end up with disorders such as ADHD and schizophrenia.
Children and teenagers alike have been seen spending hours and hours of their time doing recreational fun. But it seems to be becoming an impending problem on the emotional and physical health of still developing youth. It’s okay to want to spend maybe an hour or two playing a game every once in a while. Excessive amounts seem to be the only way a teen can play at a time.

Robert Mower (Grade 11) Killing Time with a Kindle Game

Robert Mower (Grade 11) Killing Time with a Kindle Game

The school nurse, Ms. Brady, at Huntingtown High School feels that video games have allowed students to become quicker and more creative in their problem solving abilities. However, she stated, “I think that video games have more of a negative effect on teenagers. It’s all the obvious things. There isn’t enough socializing, not enough time outdoors, it can lead to obesity and difficulties in vision. The biggest problem though is that teens tend to get addicted to continuing the game so that it isn’t played in moderation but in long segments. They also buy games, meant for adults, full of violence and other mature themes that desensitizes their morals.”
Robert Mower, an eleventh grader, mentioned how his brother seemed to have gotten some bad side effects due to gaming, “His eye sight and hearing is virtually gone.”

Being in a generation of new technological advancements means that people should embrace the change but not engulf it. Learning new skills that can be applicable to other situations is useful, however, video gaming has been misused by a majority of participating players. Four hours of gaming can cause a loss of opportunity, a loss of morals, and health difficulties. Video games can help in hand-eye coordination, but if used excessively, students can miss out in opportunities that life would have given them otherwise if they could only put down the controller and try new things.

Male Eating Disorders

May 22nd, 2014

By Kirsten Niosi

Everyone always talks about how rough girls have it. They claim that the female gender is especially targeted through the media and peer pressure when it comes to the issue of self-esteem. There are countless pictures of seemingly perfect, photo shopped women all over the internet and magazines. A way of affective advertising with detrimental effects on people all over the world; a constant reminder of what one is expected to look like in our present society. They all say that women are directly focused on and the only victims of eating disorders. However, they are very wrong.

The National Eating Disorder Association has performed countless polls and has gathered copious statistics on the matter. The NEDA has come to the conclusion that “no ethnic, gender or socioeconomic group is immune to the dangers of this disease.” Their data shows that male eating disorders are actually a silent epidemic sweeping the nation and effecting even the smallest of cities and counties, including Calvert County. Remember those photo shopped pictures of women that everyone in the world seems to narrow in and focus on? While society as a whole is only noticing the naked women across posters, men see the other type of propaganda. Take a look at every gym, nutrition shop, GMC, or even clothing stores such as Hollister and Abercrombie. What do you see? Shirtless men with perfect 6-pack abs, retouch faces, and flouncy hair tied in with smoldering eyes. Still think women are the only gender affected? Data states that the muscularity of the ideal male has increased exponentially from the 1970’s to today, presenting a near unattainable body to boys and men all over the world. It also shows that 42% of the men surveyed were highly influenced by body images all over the nation. Junior Anthony Fealy tells HHS that while he is not a victim of an eating disorder, he can image in the type of pressure some males may face. “I know what it feels like to diet. On the wrestling team, we will do just about anything to make our weight class requirements. That type of pressure is so immense during the season, it’s sad that so many men are influenced that way all of the time.”

Another organization that strives to show how eating disorders can effect men as well is the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD). Through their own research, they have shown that nearly 10 million men across America tackle some type of eating disorder, may it be anorexia, bulimia, or binging. Yet they also show that our society is less likely to diagnose a male with an eating disorder in its early stages. A study including 135 hospitalized males with an eating disorder claim that they feel ashamed of having a stereotypical “female” disorder and say for that reason they refused to seek out treatment. Junior Zach Goshen says that it is obvious that male eating disorders are an issue and must be addressed immediately. “It kind of disgusts me that we pressure guys into thinking it’s not okay to have something wrong with them. We teach them to be tough and never seek out help. Well, with something like an eating disorder, I know I’d want someone to help me if I needed it.”

Male Eating Disorder Stats

Male Eating Disorder Stats

Teen Dieting

March 13th, 2014

By Kirsten Niosi

After receiving plenty of bad publicity, the word “diet” has become taboo, especially amongst teenagers. People often associate dieting with negative feelings, eating disorders, and a lack of self-confidence. They tend to believe that people only go on diets to lose weight and improve their self-image. However, a vast amount of students at HHS prove this misguided belief wrong. Students all over the school go on diets for a variety of reasons. Some are vegetarians, gluten-free, or even just eating healthier to be in top physical conditions for their sports. Whether you are altering your eating patterns for a personal belief, sport, or if it is to lose weight, it is important to also change your way of thinking. The Adolescent Health Committee says that the message the media sends to teens is that you should be thin, and your diet should be solely concerned with obtaining this. They trick you with images and words to make you believe only thin people are beautiful, happy, and in control of their lives. But the reality is people who are happy and successful with their healthy lifestyles come in all shapes and sizes. Meaning, do not change to look a certain way, change to feel a certain way.

food

After deciding to transform yourself, a question comes about: How do you make the change in a healthy way? No matter what you are trying to accomplish, you should always consult your doctor or nutritionist before making any modifications to your diet. Mandie Dietrich is a junior at HHS that must be on a gluten-free diet for health reasons. She says, “I didn’t know I was allergic to gluten a for the longest time. But after doing some research, I realized I could be suffering from a gluten allergy. I knew my first step was to talk to my doctor to find nutritional alternatives to foods with gluten.” In this case and vegetarian cases, people are eliminating an entire food group, which is usually very unhealthy to the body because it rids the body of essential nutrients according to Teen Health. The experts from Teen Health do not advise diets the get rid or forbid certain groups completely, whereas moderation in all the food groups is key to obtaining the desired goal and staying nutritionally balanced.

The next step is to understand that a healthy lifestyle consists of many aspects. After determining it is safe for you to go on a diet, learning the facts about dieting can improve your res

 

ults greatly. One major myth is that cutting back on calories can help you lose the weight or make you healthier. The truth is that since calories are measure the amount of the food that will be turned into energy, cutting back on them too much results in your body not gaining the essential energy need to function problem. This means your metabolism, the process that converts the fuel in the food we eat into the energy needed to power everything we do, will slow down to unsafe levels causing the body to go into starvation mode. According to Dr. Oz, this starvation forces the body to store the little food you do eat, straight into fat to store for later.

In conclusion, healthy lifestyles come in all forms and diets. It is up to you to make the switch from sodas and refined sugars to fruits and vegetables. You are the only one who can change yourself and you should change only for yourself.  And as Dr. Folsom of Calvert Memorial would say, always remember “food is an important part of a balanced diet.”

Fast Food: Eat This! Not That!

January 16th, 2014

By Chloe O’Dell

In high school, we eat out every now and then. Depending on our work schedules and after-school or out-of-school activities, some students are eating at fast food restaurants more than others and perhaps nearly every night. Junior Amanda Bergstrom says, “I eat fast food rarely now. When I was playing sports, though, I always ate fast food. But not playing sports, I just don’t find myself there.” It might seem the best way to go to get already made food while being crazy busy. However, getting that grease-packed burger to scarf down isn’t the healthiest food to order. Junior Kaitlyn King eats fast food occasionally, and admits she doesn’t watch what she eats when eating out, but if she knew more information, she would definitely choose something else off the menu. There are plenty of other food options to choose from the menu when in a rush to get from place to place and satisfying hunger. And one good thing about living in Calvert County is having so many different fast food joints that live little miles apart, giving us so many different options for fast food. So instead of getting that calorie-packed, artery-clogging burger, try something new that’s a better option for you and will keep you healthier when you’re on-the-go. Take a look at some alternatives to the big burgers at popular restaurants.

burger

McDonald’s

Don’t Eat: Angus Bacon and Cheese. Almost all of the third-pounders at McDonald’s are some of the worst burgers you can find at the restaurant. But at 790 calories and packed with sodium and fat, this one tops it all.

Eat This: Grab a grilled chicken snack wrap instead with a bottled water and you’ve got three times as less calories and three times as more nutrients as the burgers. You could even eat one, or two, regular McDonald’s burgers and it would still be less calories as the Angus burgers.

Wendy’s

Don’t Eat: Triple Burger with Everything and Cheese. At 970 calories, this doesn’t even look appealing to the eyes. To keep it short, this burger is definitely an artery clog waiting to happen.

Eat This: Substitute for a grilled chicken sandwich or a nice chicken Caesar salad. Both of these are between 320-370 calories and gives you the better, healthier boost you need. Pick any one of these and you’ve got low calorie but high protein, delicious meals to keep you up when running all over the county.

Burger King

Don’t Eat: Large Triple Whopper with Cheese Value Meal with Fries and Coke. With a shocking 2,110 calories, the burger is more than 1,000 and then adding the fries, you could survive the rest of the winter after eating this monster.

Eat This: Wopper jr with no mayo and 6-piece chicken fries. This holds only 510 calories and though it doesn’t seem like a lot, it should be good enough to hold you over for a meal after adding the soda or water. Plus, you can still add a little snack in to satisfy hunger until the next mealtime.

Papa John’s

Don’t Eat: Extra-large John’s Favorite loaded with pepperoni, sausage and a 6-cheese blend. Eating only 3 slices of this pizza equals 1,075 calories and half of it is 2, 150 calories which is more calorie intake than you should have for one day.

Eat This: Papa John’s Garden Fresh Pizza, topped with onions, green peppers, portabella mushrooms, black olives and tomatoes. This is the best option to get some veggies and blasting with flavor, since the other options aren’t as covered in them. The Pizza for One serves as the best deal for only your special self, and is filling enough to hold you over for a while. You can eat half of the pizza for 360 calories and the entire pizza for 720, which for a meal isn’t as bad and you’re getting in a lot of your food groups.

pizza

 

Domino’s

Don’t Eat: Chicken Carbonara Breadbowl Pasta. This dish may look like Italian heaven, but this is about 1,480 calories of pure carbohydrates. One of these is equal to about 3 slices of their pizza, with the same vegetables, cheese, and dough.

Eat This:  Medium Hand Tossed Pizza with Grilled Chicken, Green Peppers, and Shredded Parmesan (in place of regular cheese blend) (3 slices). This has only 544 calories and half the fat and sodium and definitely the healthier buy. And after filling your tummy with this, you’ll definitely feel better than stuffing your face with a gooey, cheesy, mess.

Red Ribbon: You Fibbin’?

January 16th, 2014

by Lyndsay Larson

Red Ribbon Awareness week: a time where students can become informed about the dangers of drug use and show their support against it. Every year this event occurs at Huntingtown High, where

Red Ribbons will be passed out and students have the opportunity to sign a pledge against drug use and promise to make a commitment for a healthy lifestyle. Sure, this does get the message out but is it actually effective?

red ribbon

Students tend to take the ribbons and toss them in the trash, or they will sign the banner but then they go and ahead and do what they had just pledged not to do. Are they truly proving that they are against drug use by the mere pinning of a ribbon to the front of their shirt?

This week was originally started to commemorate the kidnapping, torture, and death of a DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) Agent by the name of Enrique Camarena who had been working undercover for years. His efforts led to the discovery of an illegal multimillion dollar narcotics manufacturing operation in Chihuahua, Mexico.

The Mexican Federal Justice Police (MFJP) had sent in a tip to the DEA claiming that Camarena had been kidnapped by mistake and that they would raid the ranch the following day. Instead, they had gone the day before and shot and killed five people. Evidence revealed that Camarena had been tortured for information before his murder.

When all the agents had been found murdered, red ribbons had been donned in his honor in his hometown in Calexo, California. In 1985, Henry Lozano put forth an effort to further the Red Ribbon commemoration which is now a nationwide event in which the DEA and the National Family Partnership confirm that over 80 million people participate.

Do all these people truly appreciate the severity and representation of the red ribbons pinned to their shirts? Do they allow it to affect their lives?

After speaking with the students in Mr. Morris’ fifth period AP Language and Composition class, practically all the students feel that Red Ribbon Awareness Week indeed does get the message out but none of the students take it seriously.

Several students said that they had seen kids that did drugs on a daily basis pin numerous red ribbons onto their clothes and act as a sort of joke. One student stated, “Red ribbon week just makes people want to go and do drugs. It’s the dumbest thing ever because a lot of the kids do drugs and pretend to be against it.”

One student felt that Red Ribbon Awareness week was effective for elementary schools but not effective for high schools. They said that this week could possibly be more effective if more information and assemblies were given to the students. Then, perhaps, the students would understand how much more serious this event commemorates and take it more seriously rather than a joke.

So, if the necessary steps were taken to make Red Ribbon Awareness more effective, then students’ lives could be impacted to avoid drugs and to live a healthy lifestyle.

Eating Disorders: How Can You Help?

November 20th, 2013

By eating-disorder-awarenessKirsten Niosi

Have you ever went out to eat with your friends and noticed that one of them isn’t eating? You probably thought nothing of it. However, these types of actions can lead to a much bigger issue, an eating disorder. Eating disorders in children and teens can cause serious changes in eating habits that can lead to major, even life threatening health problems. There are three major types of eating disorders. They include anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating, all of which are very common in the United States. In fact, according to kidshealth.org, two out of every one hundred teenagers will struggle with one in their lifetime. Experts say that females are more vulnerable to develop an eating disorder, most commonly anorexia or bulimia. 85% to 95% of those diagnosed with either of the two are female, while 35% of binge eaters are male.  Eating disorders tend to develop during adolescent years or early adulthood for a variety of reasons. While doctors cannot pin point the exact cause, they hypothesize that it has something to do with the pressure teenagers are under to fit a certain “mold”. They also tested for a correlation between disorders and other health problems. There results showed that those who struggle with an eating disorder also seem to struggle with distress, fear of becoming overweight, fear of helplessness, and a low self-esteem.

Those at children.webmd.com say that harmful eating habits are formed to cope with those issues. In most cases, harmful eating habits can also lead to anxiety disorders, depression, and substance abuse. Eating disorders also have the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder, with statistics coming in at 4% for anorexia, 3.9% for bulimia, and 5.2% for binge eating. Knowing the signs of these types of disorders can help prevent them from continuing to occur and can stop them from developing into even more problems. Anorexia (anorexia nervosa) is the mental state where one is terrified of weight gain. Many teens with anorexia restrict their food intake by dieting, fasting, or excessive exercise. Even when they do eat, it becomes an obsession; they cannot stop thinking about it. A Huntingtown High School student who has struggled with this type of disorder, but overcame it says, “I couldn’t do anything without thinking about what I ate. How much I ate, the calories, the fat, the sugar. Many people told me to just get over it and eat, but that’s not how it works. Eating disorders are very serious and cannot just be pushed aside.”  The next two, Bulimia (bulimia nervosa) and binge eating are similar in a way. They both include eating massive amounts of food in shame, often hidden from other people. However, in the case of bulimia, the person suffering purges and vomits up the food they had just ate while those binge eating do not and tend to become over weight.

When looking for the signs of all three, it is important to consider the following. If someone is anorexic or bulimic, they tend to look emaciated, and have trouble speaking about their weight. They also may tend to wear baggy clothing to hide their rapid, unhealthy weight loss. In cases of binge eating, it is hard to identify the exact signs, but if you are worried about yourself or a friend, it is always crucial to tell an adult, so the proper treatment can be provided. Treatment includes seeing a doctor, therapist, and/or a nutritionist. Awareness is the key to prevention. Hope L. of HHS states, “As a teen, I always hear about the effects of eating disorders, and how harmful they are to an individual. However, I was never told how to identify the signs. If one of my friends was struggling, I know I would want to help.” eating

What Is Insomnia?

November 20th, 2013

Insomnia-Electronic-Cigarettesby Hope Louizes

As the most common sleeping disorder in the world today, insomnia is experienced by most Americans at one point or another in their lives. Categorized as the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep for long period of time (as defined by the Mayo Clinic), this abnormality in the normal resting periods can cause both extreme and subtle effects on one’s behavior. The word “insomnia” isn’t so uncommon, though many people wrongly associate it with images of crazy people with red eyes and psychotic breaks. In truth, insomniacs are not so easily discovered, and the effects depend on the form the individual possesses. Episodic, short-term, and chronic insomnia are the three main forms in which this disorder can take place.

Episodic insomnia is just what it sounds like-insomnia that comes in flashes, or episodes. It does not occur every night continuously, but rather short bursts of one or two sleepless nights. This could be a repetitive event, but in most cases the flare up only occurs in times of great stress. It also does not require extensive treatment the way other forms do, however medscape.com recalls that this particular condition is one of the top ten reasons for an adult unexpectedly calling into work sick. Over 70% of American adults will experience this by the time they are 60 years old, reinforcing the commonality of this situation.

Short-term insomnia takes place over a range of three days to three weeks. As with the other forms of this sleeping disorder, short-term insomnia is driven by stress, usually evident in students with a high level of worry and concern, whether it be for school, family, or other reasons. Huntingtown High School sophomore, Amanda Crandell, describes the the disorder as “The worst confusion a teenager can deal with,” further elaborating by saying, “You lose track of how long you have been awake and all of the days start to blend together.” When asked, many students expressed their same feelings on the subject, though most refused to be named. This problem is not simply one found in a few students here and there, but this being such a widespread issue in Huntingtown may be an indicator that this problem could be much larger than our school (medscape, Mayo Clinic, and Huntingtown High School students).

Finally, chronic insomnia is the inability to sleep for weeks or months at a time. This is the most severe form of the disorder and almost always requires therapy, pharmaceuticals, or a mixture of both. According to Health Professional, Allen Blaivas, M.D., “The harder it is for the patient to sleep, the more the patient focuses on the inability to sleep, and the harder it becomes to sleep!”, making chronic insomnia one of the hardest habits to break. It feeds on itself, and is nearly impossible to cure by oneself.

Any form of insomnia can have a myriad of harmful effects on the body, but there are an equal amount of treatments out there for all cases. If you think you or someone you know may be suffering, the best option is always to inform your physician and see what he or she can do for you. As Thomas Dekker once said, sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.

Teenage Pregnancy

October 9th, 2013

By Hope Louizes

Does it seem strange that as various methods of birth control are becoming easier and easier to obtain, teenage pregnancy is still at a high rate? Across America teenage births are continuing, despite the multiple forms of contraception available, such as abstinence, condoms, the birth control pill and the morning-after pill.

In the year 2010 as many as twenty five per every one thousand teenagers aged 15-17 in the United States became pregnant, or one per forty, according to Medical Billing & Coding. Although this is a significant drop from the late twentieth century, think about it in terms of Huntingtown students. If on an average year, the high school has 850 students, 21 of them would be pregnant at once. Teenagers aged 18 or 19 have an even larger number of pregnancies, averaging seventy five per one thousand, or three for every forty. Whether it is a lack of information, apathy, or uncertainty on how to acquire birth control, teenagers are continuing to get pregnant, which bring up another round of issues.

Birth control not being utilized in teenage relationships is not the only problem surrounding teenage mothers. According to CBS News, only about fifty percent of teenage mothers earn their high school diplomas by the age of twenty two. Along with this, forty four percent of the pregnancies never make it to live birth, sixteen to miscarriage and twenty eight to induced abortions. Despite the way the fetus was lost and your moral convictions, anyway you look at it a mere fifty four percent of these ever make it to being alive, which is often characterized by premature births and a low birth weight. Easy access, low birth rate, detrimental health effects on the mothers, and low graduation rate all seem like reasonable persuasions to use any of the methods of birth control at your disposal.

Another hurdle seems to linger in a smaller fraction of teenage mothers-planned pregnancies. Some young women decide they want a baby for more emotional reasons, although they are far from being prepared to take care of a child. Childhood and backgrounds often tend to point to the signs of a planned teen pregnancy, which the reason is more often than not that the mother grew up in a “broken” home and wanted nothing more than someone who loved her unconditionally.

In all cases, most teens do not go to a responsible adults early in their pregnancy, resulting in the lack of prenatal vitamins and precautions. These advantages greatly reduce birth defects and without them there is a high risk of unexpected issues during and after birth. Combine the above with the fact that teen mothers do not usually have a responsible father or stable long-term home and teenage pregnancy seems as if it should be one of the most prevented problems of the twenty first century. All questions concerning teen pregnancies and simple curiosity can be answered at stayteen.org.

Energy Drinks Good or Bad?

October 8th, 2013

By Lyndsay Larson

Consumers feel that energy drinks are in the rage today. Especially chronically-fatigued people and young individuals seeking a boost now and again when they are feeling a little drained before a long day.

Not only that, but according to the energy industries, such as Red Bull, the drinks are proven to be great stimulants. They also point out that through these industries they are able to provide numerous jobs for many employees.

However, over the past few years, questions have been raised over whether drinking energy drinks is advisable. According to the Medical News Today, a recent government survey indicates that from 2007 to 2012, a number of emergency department visits related to energy drink consumption had nearly doubled from over 10,000 to over 20,000.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has received more and more reports about energy drinks causing serious injuries and death. One person in particular, a 14-year old girl from Maryland, died shortly after drinking two cans of Monster Energy in a period of 24 hours. Her parents claim that her life was taken due to the drinks.

Some critics of energy drinks pointed out that high levels of caffeine in the drinks increases the toxicity and noted that the girl from Maryland drank around 480 milligrams of caffeine between two cans of Monster Energy. This would be the same as drinking 14 12-ounce cans of Coca-Cola during the same time period.

Energy drinks have a lot of ingredients usually containing high amounts of additives, such as caffeine, taurine, vitamins and sugars. Energy drinks have a significantly larger amount of caffeine than regular cups of coffee which considerably stimulates the cardiovascular and nervous system. A lot of people really aren’t aware of how many additives are in the drinks, with doctors reporting that they get a lot of patients that have consumed as many as three to four drinks in one hour which is equivalent to 15 cups of coffee.

Doctors have also reported that many of their patients had rapid and irregular heartbeats and, in some cases, heart attacks.

Men accounted for two-thirds of the energy drink related Emergency Department visits which is probably due to the fact that they are more likely to purchase energy drinks. A lot of men are more involved in sports than women which are a high factor in this situation, but all the same, visits from both men and women have doubled over the past four years.

Most cases indicated they were identified as patients aged 18 to 25. The marketing is definitely directed towards a more youthful crowd and made to look as appealing as possible. Most marketing that is targeted towards youth uses famous and popular figures to advertise the products. One such advertisement used Brittany Spears to make the energy drink made by the Pepsi Company more appealing to a younger audience who was more familiar with Brittany Spears.

Students at Huntingtown High School are often seen walking down the hallways of school, in the mornings, with a large cup of coffee or energy drinks. It is questionable as to why they drink so much in the mornings. It could be that they are tired and want a boost or it could be simply for status. At this period of time in a teenager’s life, they become very self-conscious about what people think about them. So the drinking of energy drinks could be directly related to what they feel makes them cool.

The health complications associated with young people consuming energy drinks was explored in a study published in Pediatrics. The researchers found that energy drinks may be unsafe for some kids, especially those with seizures, heart abnormalities, diabetes or mood and behavior disorders.

These products can cause health complications, such as insomnia, migraine, seizures and heart problems. One can conclude that excessive energy drink consumption can have some severe medical and behavioral consequences. This is proving to become a serious public health concern.