A health checklist for your college student
Your son or daughter is moving away from friends and family and starting a new chapter in their life. You’ve done all you can to make sure they have everything they need for dorm life, but don’t forget about their health needs, say physicians.
“Going off to college can be a very hectic time,” says Dr. Kamala Ghaey, a pediatrician at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center. “It is very important that college students schedule a checkup before they head off to college.”
Dr. Ghaey recommends adding the following things to your child’s checklist for a healthy and safe first year away at school:
When entering college, you are exposed to many new people and germs. As kids grow older, their childhood vaccines may begin to wear off. Teens and college students are encouraged to make sure all of theirs are up-to-date, including Meningitis and HPV vaccines.
In addition to vaccines, basic medical needs should be remembered. Packing basic medicine and a first aid kit can be very helpful.
Transferring prescription medications is another important pre-college health step. Often overlooked between packing the extra pillow case and shower caddy, calling your pharmacy to alert them of the location change is extremely important. If the pharmacy on the campus doesn’t have your prescription from home, check the student health clinic for assistance.
The student health clinic is a great resource on all college campuses. Learning its location and hours of operation are among the first things to do upon arrival. They offer medical support and mental health assistance.
“Many students experience some kind of anxiety their freshman year,” Ghaey says. “The student health clinics are a wonderful resource for students to talk out their issues.”
In addition to medical needs, college students should maintain a healthy lifestyle and be as active as possible. Scheduling a workout in between study hours can help improve a student’s well-being and help cope with the new independence. Eating a balanced diet is a preventative way to ward off the infamous “Freshman 15” and make the most of these years.
About the Author
Meghan Robinett, health enews contributor, is a public affairs and marketing intern with Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center. She is studying Communication Arts and Digital Media at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. In her free time, she enjoys baking, playing soccer and traveling.