DEAR HARRIETTE: I carpooled to a party with some friends recently. The driver had quite a few drinks, and I really didn't want to ride back with him, but when I offered to drive, he got irate. We got home safely, but I wonder what a better way to handle this would have been. I know I risked my life by getting in that car. -- In Jeopardy, Chicago
DEAR IN JEOPARDY: This is an example of why I think you should always carry extra money. Never put yourself in a position where you have to get into an unsafe car. Have enough cash or a credit card to get a taxi or car service to take you home.
You could have asked the others who were carpooling with you to help you wrestle the keys from the driver. Together, your group may have been able to get him to listen.
You may want to check in with the driver to let him know that you are grateful everyone made it home safely but that you are sincerely concerned about his actions. Tell him you think he was intoxicated and it was unsafe for him to drive. Suggest that in the future he not drink and drive and that, if it inadvertently happens again, he should turn over the keys. He may not want to hear this, but we are talking about the possibility of saving multiple lives. Now is the time to step up.
You already know how lucky you are. Don't make the same mistake twice. If you carpool again, identify a designated driver in advance. Agree up-front who will not drink and will ensure that everyone gets home safely. But don't use the designated driver as license to be a passenger who gets drunk. Remain responsible.
DEAR HARRIETTE: Changing one's diet can dramatically improve or even cure acne. Try going off wheat, sugar and dairy. The reader's daughter who is suffering with acne may have celiac disease or be gluten- or lactose-intolerant. Also, stop drinking soda pop. -- Acne-Free, Chicago
DEAR ACNE-FREE: You make a great point: What you eat can directly affect the health of your skin. Eliminating or reducing sugar can be helpful to teens' overall health and may help to reduce the frequency of acne outbreaks.
It is important to remember that acne usually occurs in teens because of hormonal changes during puberty. Visiting a dermatologist can be incredibly helpful for anyone suffering with acne. Also, taking your teen to an internist for a complete physical can help you identify exactly what's going on in your teen's body. If there is another underlying condition, a medical doctor can help to identify it and recommend treatment.