A University of Missouri student health expert says often overlooked when students prepare to leave for college are their health needs.
Director of the MU Student Health Center Susan Even says a student at college could for the first time be having to take care of his or her own health issues.
“Many students when they get sick, their first reaction is to pick up their cell phone and call or text their mom and say, ‘What should I do?'”
Even doesn’t expect she can stop that from happening, but she says it’s a good idea to prepare a student as much as possible before they leave home. That can be done at the same time a student is doing other things, like packing clothes and meeting roommates.
She says students need to know things like, “What they’re allergic to, what kind of surgeries they’ve had and how to get a refill … how much they’re going to have of their medication if they’re taking it ongoing, how long what they’re bringing with them to school is going to last and how are they going to get a refill.”
Even also recommends a student have his or her immunization records and know what the requirements are of the college and the state its in, and check to see what restrictions might be placed on students who have traveled abroad or lived in other countries.
She adds, prevention can stave off a great deal of problems.
“Even just by appropriate respiratory hygiene: coughing in their sleeves, using hand sanitizers, staying home from classes when they have fevers over 101 and can’t control their coughing, that sort of thing. We’re going to be continuing to try to encourage students to do the things that might help prevent spread of their respiratory infection to others but also then to get their flu shot, for example.”
Even says new students could also fare better if they make some friends.
“Everybody needs help and everybody benefits by asking for help sooner rather than later and making a connection with somebody that you can have as a link to making more friends is useful.”
She says students should also be ready to make decisions about alcohol, substance abuse and sex, know what insurance will and won’t cover and know what the health centers on their college’s campus offer.