Your college freshman’s to-do list likely includes buying a shower caddy, signing up for philosophy 101 and Facebook stalking his or her new roommate.
But it’s also important to carve out a little time for certain health and wellness necessities. Here are six things you need to know:
Before leaving for college
Shots, shots, shots
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends incoming freshmen visit their pediatrician before leaving for school to make sure they have all of their vaccines.
Parents and students should ask about formeningococcal disease, HPV, pertussis and flu. Even if the teens have received these shots before, they might need a booster shot.
Think about medication
If your freshman is taking medication for a health condition, he or she should know everything about it: what its name is, any side effects and what foods and drinks you can and cannot have while taking the medication, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
It’s not a bad idea to make a list of prescriptions and dosages, have the student take a photo of that list and keep it on his or her phone. Pictures of the bottles of pills also work great.
The student should know how to refill prescriptions. As you and your teen purchase the college essentials, it might be helpful for some to pick up a pill organizer.
Freshman should be equipped with their insurance card and, if it applies, their prescription card. Many colleges require students to have some type of insurance and typically offer plans for those who aren’t covered.
Students should know what type of insurance plans they have, particularly if plans offer limited coverage.
Consider packing a first aid or emergency kit in your student’s suitcase, so they can have it on hand in case of an emergency.
Some colleges sell these kits at their bookstores and a wide variety are available online.
If you want to make your own, think about including items such as cold and allergy medicine, antibiotic ointment, bandages, Ibuprofen, tweezers, a thermometer, a flashlight with batteries and bottled water.
Once on campus
Find the student health center, nearby urgent care center and nearby hospital ER
Pediatricians recommend students know where the closest medical facilities are.
Colleges’ health centers offer more than a yearly flu shot: They typically have a wide array of services for both physical and mental health. At some schools, students can order and pick up their prescriptions through the health center.
But some centers have strict hours, close on weekends or have appointments that fill up quickly. That means students should know where a nearby urgent care center is, as well as a hospital emergency room.
That can be important for both speed of treatment, and also mom and dad’s budget, especially in a flu season when being seen quickly can mean a big difference. Moms and dads may want to check to see which of the nearby urgent care offices are included in their insurance plans.
There’s an app for that
We all know the Freshman 15 is a very real concept — and for some, it could be much worse.
Apps such as MyFitnessPal and Fitness help track users’ physical activity and diet. Because sleep can factor into students’ stress, apps like Relax Melodies and Sleep Cycle can help people fall asleep as well as monitor their sleep cycle.
For students on a tight budget, the Mint app helps people manage money, bills and credit scores.
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Contact Meredith Newman at (302) 324-2386 or firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @MereNewman.