”Health Issues for Teenagers Getting Ready for College” is a collaborative post and includes affiliate links. Please see the disclosure page for more information. Disclaimer – always verify medical information with your doctor or medical professional.
Preparing teenagers for college can take a bit of work. Rather than simply send them off to college when the time comes, it makes sense to provide them with the tools (both physical and mental) that they will need to survive. Their health is one of the things that you should think about when helping them with. Being responsible for your own health as an adult can take some getting used to, especially if you haven’t had to do things like making your own medical appointments before. There are many ways you can help your child get ready for college by ensuring they have the resources that they need to care for their health.
The first thing that you might want to arrange is health insurance. Making sure that your child will have the coverage that they need while studying is a must if you want them to feel able to get medical attention when they need it. Your children can stay on your plan until age 26, so if you have appropriate medical insurance, this makes it much easier to ensure they have protection. It’s important to check that the cover will work for them, though, especially if they will be going to a school in a different state. You will need to find appropriate in-network medical providers for them.
Organizing Medical Records and Prescriptions
Sending your teenager to college with all of the right information will help them to get started with caring for their health. You might want to ensure they have a health checkup before they leave. A copy of their medical records can be useful, and you should make sure that any prescriptions are up to date too. If you need to renew or fulfill any prescriptions, leave plenty of time to get it done before the big move.
Starting college is one of the times in life when the risk of picking up an infectious disease is higher. Lots of students are all suddenly coming together, and many may not be up to date on their vaccinations. A number of colleges have had outbreaks of measles, mumps, and other preventable diseases in recent years. It’s smart to make sure your teenager is up to date with all vaccinations and boosters before they go to college. It will protect not just them but also other vulnerable people who may not be able to have the vaccinations or have compromised immune systems. Some immunizations to consider include hepatitis A and B, HPV, influenza, meningitis, and MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella).
Regular dental checkups will still be necessary once your teen leaves for college. They might have their schedules checkups when they return home, but it’s also useful to have a dentist close to college for any dental needs. Late teens and early 20s are also when most people are likely to have their wisdom teeth erupt, and they might need to be ready for wisdom teeth removal. Removal could be required in the case of impacted wisdom teeth and other problems. Having a good dentist will ensure any routine or unexpected dental issues can be taken care of as needed.
One of the concerns for many parents watching their children leave for college is their sexual health. It’s no secret that college is the place where some teens begin to explore their sexuality and perhaps find serious relationships too. So a priority needs to be helping your child understand the dangers of STIs and emotional or mental changes that happen. This includes making sure they know about protecting themselves from disease and pregnancy, as well as understanding consent. While it can be embarrassing, it’s much better for everyone if you can talk openly about safe sex and the benefits of abstinence.
Diet and Exercise
Suddenly being completely in control of what you eat can be a difficult transition for some people. Combined with the stress of a new experience and a possible lack of cooking skills, many new college students don’t have the best diet. There’s a reason that people talk about putting on the “Freshman Fifteen.” One of the best things you can do is ensure your kids have some cooking skills that they can take to college with them, as well as some quick and cheap recipes. Exercise is important too, and not all college students want to get involved with team sports. Encouraging some form of regular exercise will help to keep them healthy.
Drinking and Drugs
Another major concern for teens heading to college is alcohol and other substances. Of course, these can be issues at home too but can be even more important to consider for those away from home. As with sexual health, it’s important to encourage safety above all else. Although you might not be able to convince your child not to experiment with anything, you can help them to make sensible choices and stay safe.
Mental Health Issues
As well as physical health, it’s also important to think about mental health for anyone going to college. There can be a lot of pressure, not just from academic issues but from personal issues too, and many students can find themselves struggling. The late teens and early 20s are also times when many mental health disorders can start to appear. Having access to the right health services can be useful, but it’s also helpful for people to be able to manage their own stress and mental health. Having some coping techniques and knowing when to ask for help are both important.
First Aid Supplies
You might want to consider sending your teen to college with some essential first aid supplies. It’s useful for them to have a few supplies for dealing with minor injuries and illnesses, from coughs and colds to cuts and burns. You can buy a ready-made first aid kit and perhaps add a few extra medicine cabinet essentials to make sure they have all that they need.
Put your teen’s health issues first when they’re getting ready for college to equip them with everything that they need to stay healthy.
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