Colleges are in session and students are back on campus, which often means living away from home for the first time. It is a really exciting time in the life of a young person and also presents awesome opportunities for them to start taking control of their own health.
This is the perfect time to make a trip to the pediatrician or family doctor to make sure students have the necessary vaccines, and to check in about mental health and any anxieties. Many people heading to college will need some vaccines - make sure you are up to date on shots for meningococcal disease (meningitis), HPV (human papillomavirus, which causes certain types of cancers in both boys and girls), pertussis (whooping cough), and flu.
This is a time for many people in late adolescence and early adulthood to begin pushing boundaries and broadening horizons which sometimes means indulging in risky behaviors. Doctors can help counsel teens about how to keep themselves safe and healthy in their new college environment.
Quick Tips for Mom & Dad
- Make sure that your college freshman knows where to go on campus for emergency or urgent health care
- Make sure the health center has basic health info for your student (insurance info, immunization records, and any information about chronic conditions or medications they take).
- Make sure you know where to go for any mental health concerns
Additionally, make sure your teen has health insurance! Many young adults can be covered under their parents' policy until they turn 26, but it's a good habit to review what is covered and whether your student might need a separate policy or supplemental coverage. If you are a college student and have a chronic health condition, ensure that your roommates or someone else on campus knows about it, warning signs, and what to do in an emergency.
Feeling overwhelmed, sad about leaving home, or uncertain? Know that these feelings are really normal when starting college. You should seek help right away if these feelings are lasting longer than a week or two, or are interfering with your ability to enjoy college. Most importantly, if you are thinking of harming yourself or anyone else, seek emergency mental health care immediately. The student health center or counseling center are great resources, or you can go to an emergency room or call 911 any time day or night.
This is a great time to start taking some action around your own health. Start making your own appointments, refilling your own prescriptions, and learning more about preventive health care. Just know that adults are always around to help if things get confusing and support your health journey too.
Do you still have questions about flu vaccines, or whether you should plan to get one this season? With Swedish Express Care on-demand services, you can get answers by visiting an online doctor from your device, calling for a doctor to visit you at home, or stopping by one of our conveniently located clinics.
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This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional's instructions.