You know the saying “back to school, back to germs”? You most likely visualize young children heading back to school with runny noses, sneezing, touching everything and placing their hands in their mouths. Unfortunately, the germs do not end with grades K-12. When you send your child off to the independent world of college, be sure to prepare them for germs. Lots of germs! In my opinion, germs at college are worse than the younger years. During our daughter’s Freshmen year of college she was sick quite frequently. In our family we prefer to call it “temporary malfunction” not sick. She had more temporary malfunctions her first year of college than the prior 5 years put together! It seemed as though she was in Kindergarten all over again.
Why Are Germs So Bad At College?
College campuses and classrooms are crowded. Those crowds carry germs. The germs spread like wildflowers. Then you have large numbers of sick people in close proximity and tight spaces. If your child lives in a dorm they will be sharing some of the most germ prone spaces with others. Toilets, sinks, showers, keyboards and door knobs are amongst the dirtiest places there are. Our daughter lived in a dorm, which was great, except for the temporary malfunctions. It seemed she had a form of upper respiratory issue almost every month. She had strep throat for the first time ever and she had pink eye. Pink eye not just in one eye, but both eyes!
How To Prepare For The Germs
You know your kids are going to be sick for the first time away from mom. You won’t be there to nurse their ailments or make sure they rest. So what can you do to help? Send them to college with a medicine and first aid kit. If you skipped this item and they are already at school, I recommend sending them a medicine and first aid care package. College Care Package Must Have Items will be of good assistance to you.
You can also read more about what to pack for college in my post here, College Dorm Checklist…. Include every possible medicine and immune booster you think they may need. Odds are, they will use it. When the need arises it will be much easier if they already have these items. Money and trips to the store are scarce in college. Our daughter’s temporary malfunction container has: RX Kit EmergenC, Airborne, Ibuprofen, Cough Drops, Tums, Nyquil- Day and Nighttime, Midol, Imodium, Pepto Bismol, Anti itch cream, Benedryl and perhaps a few other things I have forgotten. It is also good to send them with some tea bags, soup and some crackers. I like salt lamps too. Our daughter has a small salt lamp in her room. Salt lamps cleanse the air and help with moods.
In general college kids are sleep deprived and practice poor nutrition. Talk to your child about getting adequate sleep and eating healthy. They need to drink lots of water and be well hydrated. I know this will probably go in one ear and out the other, but at least you tried. Eventually they will value the importance of your advice. When our daughter was suffering temporary malfunctions, she carried on and went to class. She stayed up late nights studying and socializing too. I am hoping this year will be better. Fingers crossed.
Send your child with a health insurance card or a plan for what to do should medical attention be needed. Does your insurance cover them at the clinic on campus or do they need to seek urgent care off campus? Do they need campus insurance or must they pay cash? How will they get a prescription? Will prescriptions be covered by insurance? This process will be much easier if you are prepared before your child needs medical assistance.
Also send them with disinfectant wipes, such as Clorox wipes. Encourage them to wipe community areas frequently to minimize the germ transmission. Some areas to encourage disinfecting are door knobs, keyboards, sinks, faucets and toilets. Finally, encourage good hand washing practices. This is one of the best ways to stay germ free. Wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. Do so after using the restroom, after class, before eating and after sneezing or coughing. If washing hands is not possible some hand sanitizer will help. Always use a paper towel to open the door when leaving the restroom.
I hope that you find this post helpful and that you are now prepared for the germs at college. Can you think of any other items for a medical kit or other ways to be prepared when your child gets sick at college?
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