You want a life like any other teen, even though you have a primary immunodeficiency (PI). You may want to participate in after-school activities, play sports or have a part-time job. Depending upon your type of PI, you may or may not have limits on your physical activity. In general, with good healthcare management, you should be able to enjoy all the things most teens do. Remember that PI does not define you!
Teens who best manage their PI are those who find a balanced approach to managing their health and living life. It is very easy to do too much, but with some planning you can successfully juggle school, extracurricular activities, work and a social life.
- How much time do you want to devote to this activity or job? You need to consider time for sleep, school, friends and family. How much is too much?
- Will your health be impacted in a bad way? If you overexert yourself in an activity or your stress level increases, then your overall health will be negatively affected. So ask yourself, “Is it worth it?”
- Your education is your future, so it should be a top priority. Being involved in too many activities or working too many hours can affect your grades- remember, there are only 24 hours in a day.
- Maintaining healthy relationships with family and friends requires spending time with them. If your family and friends say, “Why don’t I see you anymore?” This is a sign that you may be involved in too many activities or working too much.
- Talk to your parents or a trusted adult. Their life experiences can be helpful. Discussing your options with an adult can give you a new perspective.
- If you start something, don’t be afraid to stop. You may be thinking that quitting is a bad idea. But, if you start an activity or job that is hurting you physically or emotionally, then it is time to stop. It is okay to say, “This isn’t working for me.”
Creating balance is the key to good health. You can do this by taking some time to really think about how you can spend your time.
Exploring Career Options
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” You’ve probably heard this question hundreds times. And you may have had hundreds of different answers. For some, it isn’t easy to think about the future and choose a career you want to have when you are an adult. It seems like so far in the future. But it’s smart to start thinking about what you want to do when you are older. You may get a part-time job that relates to something you want to do in the future.
Be sure to talk with your healthcare provider about what kind of career you may want and if your PI could change your decisions or approach. This could help you decide on what courses to take in high school, future education or training. You can also contact your school guidance department to help you:
- Consider your talents, interests and abilities
- Research volunteer opportunities, internships or part-time jobs
- Learn about post-secondary education options
You can also visit the following sites to help you:
Explore Career Options - Find a career that works for you: http://www.careeronestop.org/StudentsandCareerAdvisors/StudentsandCareerAdvisors.aspx.
Employment Rules for Teens - Young workers are protected by federal and state laws regarding the types of jobs they can work and the amount of time they are allowed to work: http://www.youthrules.dol.gov/know-the-limits/index.htm.
Job Safety for Teens - Employers must follow laws to keep young workers, and all workers, safe on the job: http://www.osha.gov/youngworkers/index.html.