Ten Health Tips for College-Bound Kids
Sending a child off to college can be an exciting and emotional experience – for parents and students.
Whether they are just starting freshman year, or heading back to campus as an upper classman, it’s important to have a plan for your student’s health care while at college.
Here are 10 tips to help ensure a healthy and safe semester:
- Be sure that your child is up to date with their immunizations – particularly the Meningococcal, TDaP and HPV vaccines.
- Encourage your student to get a flu shot. For protection that lasts throughout flu season, it’s best to receive the flu vaccine in October or November, when they are home over Thanksgiving break.
- Be on the lookout for new COVID vaccine recommendations. New information from the CDC is expected in the next few weeks; be sure to share those recommendations with your student and make a plan for them to be immunized.
- Review your child’s health insurance to determine coverage for both emergency and non-emergent care while they are at school – especially if they are out of state.
- Keep a copy of your child’s health insurance card and ask them to keep their card in a secure but accessible place.
- Encourage your student to become familiar with student health services at their school, including its location on campus, hours of operation and the emergency phone number.
- Have an open discussion with your child about mental health, including how and where they can seek care if needed. Remind your child about the 988 national Suicide & Crisis Lifeline offering 24/7 call, text and chat access to trained crisis counselors for people experiencing suicidal, substance use, mental health crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress.
- Consider giving your child a credit card they can use in case of an emergency, with no questions asked.
- Have a candid conversation about practicing safe sex and how to be prepared.
- Remind them about the hazards of substance use and abuse and reinforce that they can always call you 24/7, without any judgement.