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Health & Exercise Forum

Health Tips for College Students: Part II of III

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Aug 24, 2009

Dr. Paul MackareyThis is the second of three columns dedicated to healthcare for college students inspired by my son John who leaves home to begin his freshman year at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia in a few short weeks. As part of my preparation for becoming an “empty –nester,” my wife and I started to think about a first aid kit, health care history, insurance file and other health related tips that I thought would be worth sharing with my readers. Once you finish with these preparations, plan to take dance, art history and conversational Italian classes to occupy your time as an empty-nester. Life goes on!

Remember, in living a large community and sharing close quarters makes the development and spread of disease a natural progression. College life can be very unhealthy for many reasons: lack of sleep, poor eating habits, poor hygiene and stress.

10 Symptoms College Students Should Not Ignore

(American Academy of Pediatrics)

Last week we discussed common illnesses among college students, how to manage and when to seek professional help. Below you will find a list of symptoms that should never be ignored. The college health services department should be contacted if you have any of the following symptoms:

  1. Fever – 102 degrees F or higher
  2. Headache – if accompanied by a stiff neck
  3. Pain with urination
  4. Unusual discharge from penis or vagina
  5. Change in menstrual cycle
  6. Abdominal pain – that will not go away
  7. Persistent cough
  8. Persistent chest pain
  9. Persistent difficulty breathing
  10. Persistent pain - or any other symptoms that last longer than you think it should

10 Must-Have Health Care Items For College

(American Academy of Pediatrics)

Get a small/medium plastic storage box and use it to keep all of the following health care items together in one place.

  1. Health Care Record – keep a copy of the required health care record required by the school in your health box. You may need it for the health services department or for an unexpected visit to the hospital.
  2. Medication List – with names and dosages
  3. Allergy List – with medication used for each allergy. For example, bee sting kit.
  4. Past Medical History List – write down previous surgeries (appendectomy), diseases (Mono) and dates
  5. Special Needs List – for example breathing inhaler for sudden asthma
  6. Mental Health Problem List – problem and dates
  7. Immunization Record – list shots/vaccines you have had and dates. For example, meningococcal disease vaccine.
  8. Health Insurance Card – keep a photo copy of your health insurance card in your wallet and another in this college health care box
  9. Hand Sanitizer
  10. First Aid Kit
  • Bandages to dress wounds
  • Gauze and adhesive tape to dress wounds
  • Elastic bandage to support and compress sprains
  • Antibacterial towel packets
  • Antibacterial/antibiotic ointment
  • Digital thermometer
  • Chemical ice pack/Microwave heating pack for sprains/strains
  • Acetaminophen and ibuprofen for aches/pains/fever
  • Other prescribed medications
  • Vitamins

SOURCES: American Academy of Pediatrics

Visit your doctor regularly and listen to your body.

Keep moving, eat healthy foods, and exercise regularly

Next Week: Read “Health Tips for College Students – Part III.” And if you missed it, go back and read "Health Tips for College Students - Part I."