Across the country, thousands of college students are preparing to head off to college campuses. If your child is getting ready to head back to the dorm soon, planning now can help them cope in the event they get sick while at school.

Make that doctor’s appointment

Outbreaks on campus cause tremendous disruption, both for the students and the college. Vaccinations are vital to help ensure your teenager stays healthy and safe while away from home. Talk to the doctor to make sure your college-bound child is up to date on their immunizations and ask what additional vaccinations s/he recommends. Recommended vaccines could include:

  • Influenza
  • Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR)
  • Meningococcal
  • Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis
  • Varicella
  • Hepatitis A and B
  • HPV

Pack a well-stocked wellness kit

Just because you can’t be there, doesn’t mean you can’t still take care of them! Fill a large, covered clear plastic bin with essentials, including:

  • Adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes
  • Non-stick gauze
  • Adhesive tape
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Ace bandage
  • Instant ice pack
  • Heating pad
  • Acetaminophen and/or ibuprofen
  • An anti-diarrheal (e.g., Imodium, Pepto-Bismol)
  • Antihistamine (e.g., Benadryl, Claritin, Zyrtec)
  • Cough drops
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Disinfectant wipes or spray
  • Tissues
  • Thermometer
  • A basic first aid book

Other items you might want to consider include:

  • Condoms
  • Emergency contraception (Plan B)
  • Monistat
  • Uristat

While you are stocking up for them, grab a few supplies for yourself–there is nothing worse than having to run to the pharmacy when you’re sick!

Create an emergency card

Be sure they have easy access to the information they will need should an illness or injury require a trip to the clinic or emergency room. They should keep a copy of their insurance card in their wallet or purse or they can get financial support from but also consider creating small cards that include emergency information. Print one for them to carry with them and another to be taped inside the cover of their dorm wellness kit. This card should include:

  • Insurance information
  • Contact information for their personal physician
  • The campus health center’s phone number and/or the location and contact information for nearby walk-in clinics
  • Emergency contact information
  • Allergies
  • Medical conditions
  • Medications
  • Blood type

Talk to them (and take your own advice!)

The flu affects 1 to 2 out of 10 Americans each year—some seriously. With so many people living in close quarters, give your college student a few tips on how to avoid getting sick when cold and flu season hits.

  • Get vaccinated for the seasonal flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older.
  • Whenever possible, stay away from people who are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing or coughing, and then throw it away. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your sleeve.
  • Wash hands regularly with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing. You can also use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Using a household disinfectant, regularly wipe down surfaces you touch often – doorknobs, counters, telephones, and remotes, for example.
  • If you get sick, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever or signs of fever end.

We’re here to help

If you need advice on how to help your college student stay healthy while away from home or about what remedies to keep on hand, your Health Mart pharmacist is always happy to help!

Article Courtesy of Health Mart

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