Sick at School Oct10

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Sick at School

• Poor Baby’s Sick at School! •

You’ve sent your kids off to college, told them to take care of themselves, eat healthy, exercise, manage the stress, and get enough sleep — and you hope they don’t get sick.  But they will. It is inevitable. They don’t get enough sleep, they don’t eat well (mostly because they say the dorm food is terrible), they are stressed with classes and homework, and they are in a new environment living in close proximity to so many other kids who also are stressed, not eating well, and not getting enough sleep.

So what do you do when you get that phone call saying, “Mom, I’m sick!”? While your first instinct may be to jump in the car (or on a plane) to go take care of your sick baby, unless it is something serious, it is probably time for your college kid to start learning how to take care of themselves. Here are some things you might do:

  • Try to assess how sick they really are.  Is it a head cold? A sore throat? Do they feel achy or have a fever? This is where a good first aid kit comes in handy. It should have some cold medicine, vitamin C packs, Advil or Tylenol, and a thermometer. Throat lozenges would be a plus.
  • If they feel really lousy, have a high fever or a sore throat that is getting worse, encourage them to visit the student health center on campus and let you know how it goes. (Remember, if you feel a real need to talk directly to the doctor, your kid needs to sign a HIPAA form authorizing the medical providers to talk to you.)(See Serious Stuff: HIPAA and Other Important Medical Forms)
  • If they don’t feel well enough to go to class, remind them to let their professor and/or faculty advisor know so they don’t miss an assignment and get too far behind.
  • See if they can enlist a friend or roommate to bring them some food from the dining hall so they can stay in bed, rest, and keep from getting others sick.
  • Send a care package with soup, tea, vitamins, tissues, and hand sanitizer, or make it even easier and send a Get Well Soon Kit from Dormify.
  • Reevaluate how your child is feeling after a couple of days.  If things seem better, congratulate your student for doing what was necessary to get well quickly.  If things are not better, or are getting worse, another visit to the student health center may be in order.
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If there is a Hillel on campus, check to see if they have a chicken soup program.  Some will deliver a steaming bowl of chicken soup directly to a sick student’s dorm room!

Think Ahead About Prevention: It may be a good idea for your student to get a flu shot each year.  Most student health clinics on campus offer flu shots, some free and some at a nominal cost.


Want to Know More?

What to Do If Your College Student is Sick at School by Paige DiPietro

When Your Kid’s Sick at School by Vanessa McGrady

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