Your college-bound teen is spending these last few weeks at home working, soaking up summer fun and visiting with friends and family. Their bedroom, and probably your living room, is a labyrinth of boxes and bags, ready to close, tape and pack for their dorm.
Alzein Pediatrics is here to remind you that, between all those visits and packing, there is one more very important visit to make and several important things still to be packed.
“Make an appointment with us as soon as possible so we can make sure your college experience will be the best it can be,” says Dr. Alzein. “You’ll also want to make an appointment with any specialists, the dentist and your eye doctor.”
At your student’s physical exam with us, we’ll check height, weight, medical history, any chronic medical issues and development, just like in any other annual exam. We’ll also answer any concerns your child might have about college health challenges and take a moment to speak privately, if they desire.
Many colleges are now requiring the COVID-19 vaccine and more are expected to make this requirement over the summer. Pfizer-BioNTech requires two injections 21 days apart for full immunity, so you’ll want to make a first appointment at least 4 weeks before your child departs for school, with the second vaccine appointment three weeks after the first.
COVID-19 remains a real and dangerous threat. Since the vaccines have become available, the cases of infection and serious hospitalizations are now affecting young adults and children more than any any group. Even if your child’s chosen school does not require the COVID-19 vaccine, we urge you to protect your child from this illnesses. Living in close quarters such as a dormitory, fraternity or sorority house, or multi-person apartment accelerates the spread of infection dramatically. We will thoroughly and respectfully answer any concerns you have about the vaccine during your student’s appointment.
The college your student is attending may have other specific vaccination requirements and we can review those along with your child’s medical history to be sure everything needed has been administered.
Assemble or purchase a first aid kit for your college student. This kit should be in a clean container that closes firmly; a plastic food container or resealable freezer bag works just fine. Include:
- Alcohol wipes
- Adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes
- Antibiotic ointment
- Hydrocortisone cream
- Pain relievers like acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen
- Ace bandages
Most 4-year colleges and universities have a student health center which your student can visit for urgent situations like fevers, coughs, illnesses, infections and injuries. When moving your child in to their college residence, make sure they know where their health center is and how to access it.
If your child is among the 20% of teens who have a chronic medical condition like asthma, epilepsy or diabetes, your Alzein provider will make sure that any necessary medications have current and up-to-date prescriptions. If your child’s medication needs refrigeration, check dorm requirements to ensure they can bring a mini-fridge. Because these can fluctuate in temperature, we recommend purchasing a high quality appliance thermometer to ensure medications stay at the proper temperature for safe and effective usage. Your student should also call the student health center to explain their medical condition and be assured that they are able to treat and care for them.
Confirm with the student health center that they accept your health care insurance, if there are any co-pays and what that amount could be. Your student should have a copy of their health insurance card, a photo of it on their phone and then a copy on a flash drive. Ask us to copy your student’s medical records to that flash drive too, so they have access to their history in case of an urgent situation. When your student sees a provider at the health center, they should ask for a copy of the visit summary to add to our medical records here at home.
Your college-bound young adult is beginning the transition to take care of their own health. Start this transition off on the right foot by making an appointment for a thorough physical exam, vaccination check in and COVID-19 vaccine with your favorite Alzein healthcare provider. Call 708-424-7600 or click here to make an appointment. We look forward to seeing you!