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Healthy Advice for College Students


Unless your student is living at home, you probably won't be around to offer healthy advice. Here are some ways you can prepare your child for college:

  • Make sure your child knows his or her medical history. Make a written list that includes inoculations, hospitalizations, allergies and diseases.

  • Make a list of your child's existing medications and medication schedule. Get extra prescriptions and identify a pharmacy near the school for refills.

  • Make sure your student has health insurance. He or she should have an insurance card and understand when to use it. This insurance should be over and above what's covered by the student health service.

  • Encourage your child to visit the school's health facilities whenever he or she feels sick, physically or emotionally. Discuss the importance of preventative care and counseling services.

  • If your student has a chronic illness, find a local specialist before classes begin in case of an emergency.

  • Send a small medical kit with your child to college that includes band-aids, gauze tape, thermometer, aspirin and/or ibuprofen, antacid and anything else that specially applies to his or her medical needs.

  • Discuss the symptoms of the common cold and flu and how to treat them. Stress that if your child has a temperature of more than 101 degrees for more than a day, he or she needs to go to the student health center.

  • Stress that many illnesses in college are directly related to lack of sleep. Pulling "all-nighters" and not getting enough sleep aren't helpful to good health or good grades. Headaches are often a signal of too much stress.

  • Give your child correct information about nutrition so that he or she can avoid the fad diets. Vitamins are a supplement to good nutrition, not a substitute.

  • Talk to your child about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as AIDS, herpes, chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea, and hepatitis. Students who practice unsafe sex stand a good chance of contracting one (or more) of these diseases.