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College Healthcare

by The Kid's Doctor Staff

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Sending a child off to college is usually filled with excitement and a little anxiety. Many parents probably spent the summer preparing their child for life in the dorm, but they may have neglected to prepare their child for dealing with a health situation when away from home.

Pediatrician Dr. Sue Hubbard advises that before a child heads to college, you and the child have a visit with their current pediatrician. If your child has any ongoing medical issues like diabetes, asthma or ADHD, you might ask your pediatrician for a referral in the city where your child will be. Otherwise, you can call the university for a local recommendation.

Dr. Hubbard also recommends that parents investigate two things before dropping the child off at school:

  1. Does the school have a health center
  2. How much is your current pediatrician going to be involved in your child’s care or are you going to transfer that care to another doctor on the college campus.

“If your child is on an ongoing medicine, make sure they know the name of the medicine, the milligram of the medicine, why they take it and when they take it.” Dr. Hubbard recommends the child heads to school with new refills. Depending on the medication, your child may not always be able to get it refilled, especially out of state. Make sure your college-bound child has their home pediatrician’s office number in case they have a question. But remind your child that it is hard for a pediatrician to do “long distance medicine.”

The Kid’s Doctor also says going away to college is a good time to talk about insurance. “Make sure they have a card and it is correct and they know they have to carry it like a driver’s license and have to present it when going to the doctor or health center.”

A great item to pack for your child says Dr. Hubbard is a first aid kit. Here are the items she recommends you include:

  • Thermometer
  • Tylenol (Acetaminophen)
  • Ibuprofen
  • Antacid
  • Decongestant
  • Steroid Cream
  • Band-Aids
  • Throat Lozenges
  • Allergy medicine like Benadryl for bites & rashes
  • Constipation medicine
  • Diarrhea medicine

“You should label each item and what it is for so there is no confusion.”

And Dr. Hubbard offers this final piece of advice for college-bound children: Get a flu shot. “It’s very important that they get a flu shot

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