This giveaway is no longer accepting entries. Congratulations to our winner Lisa!
If your child is leaving for college soon, chances are you’re in the final stretch of getting all of the basic necessities together and checking items off of your to-do list. But one important aspect that can be overlooked is healthcare.
Make Sure Everything is Up to Date
Bacterial meningitis is a contagious and fast-moving disease, and first-year college students are often at a greater risk due to common lifestyle factors like living in crowded dorms and sharing personal items. Talk with your child’s primary physician about the bacterial meningitis vaccine and whether it is recommended. Other vaccines may need a booster, like tetanus, so a quick check-in can be helpful to make sure everything is up to date. Also, make sure your child doesn’t need any school/sport physical paperwork filled out and, if they do need this paperwork, plan ahead to get in with their doctor to get it filled out and get any labs/titers (if necessary).
Sign Up for MyChart
If your family are UW Health patients, sign up for MyChart. Among the many advantages of MyChart is that if a medical question arises, your child can email his or her physician directly even when living away from home. Your child may also find out, once at school, that they need a record of previous immunizations and/or lab results and MyChart can be a great tool for quickly communicating this information.
Identify Local Resources and Stock Up on Necessities
Help your child identify the local medical resources available. Here at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, University Health Services is the student health center that provides a range of medical, mental health counseling, prevention and wellness services to enrolled students. Most universities have a similar program. And make sure you send a current insurance card if he or she is still covered by your insurance. If not, many colleges and universities offer a basic health plan for a fee.
Consider creating a small medical kit of common necessities for your child to take with, including items like:
- Hand sanitizer
- Acetaminophen or ibuprofen
- Adhesive bandages (a box with multiple sizes is ideal)
- A refreezable ice pack
- Antibiotic ointment
- A thermometer
- A pair of tweezers and nail clippers
- Over-the-counter medications like antacids, allergy tablets, multivitamins, etc.
If your child takes prescription medication, check with your insurance about the possibility of getting a 90-day supply. Either way, make sure to have a plan in place for how new refills will be handled so you won’t have to figure that out when there is only one pill left.
Have a Candid Conversation
By now, you have probably already had many chats about drugs, drinking and sex with your children. If you haven’t yet had these conversations, this would certainly be the time. Now, the stakes may be a bit higher because they’ll be on their own, possibly even far from home. They may also feel greater pressure to do things in order to fit into their new surroundings. Have a candid conversation and help them think through scenarios ahead of time.
Consider ways they can push back on peer pressure, such as things to say in certain situations, and help them feel empowered at a time they are likely feeling vulnerable. And while it can be difficult to think about, it is also important that they have the knowledge and supplies they need to protect against sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy. Your child’s doctor can also be a helpful resource for having these discussions.
Learn to Let Go
When the time comes, remember the first few weeks away can be very difficult for both of you. If your kids were in daycare when they were little, you may recall being told not to linger when you dropped them off as it made it difficult for them to adjust. The same is true years later. Try not to linger when you drop them off. And once you do get them settled, don’t overwhelm your child with a barrage of texts, emails and phone calls in those first few days and weeks. Brief reminders of love and support can go a long way and make it easier for everyone to adjust. The occasional letter or care package with a gift card to a local restaurant or some food to remind your child of home could do a lot to remind your child that you care.
Prize: 1 First Aid Kit Rules: Giveaway closes on Saturday, August 17, 2013 at 11pm CST. Open to Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois residents only. One entry per email address is permitted. The winner will be selected using random.org and announced on the following Monday as an update to this post. Winner will be notified via email and asked to provide a mailing address to receive the prize; if the winner does not respond within 7 days, the winner forfeits the prize and another winner will be selected. Subscribe to the blog and you’ll get new posts delivered to your inbox as soon as they’re posted.