Preparing Your College Student for Healthcare Away from Home

| Posted On Sep 03, 2019 | By:

Sending your kids off to college for the first time can stir up a myriad of concerns. Are their classes all set, do they have everything they need for their dorm, will they get along with their roommate, will they eat right, do they know how to do laundry? This year, my twin daughters are joining the group of incoming freshman, and I’m joining the group of emotional parents that are left behind. It can undoubtedly be a stressful time making sure you have covered all the bases.

When preparing your child for living away from home, you want to make sure they stay safe and healthy. Take the time to go over all of your child’s emergency information. If they are covered under your health insurance, make sure they have their own insurance card and know their medical history. If your health plan has a separate pharmacy plan benefit, make sure your child has a pharmacy benefit card and a complete list of all medications they are taking. If your child is a patient at Atrius Health, the easiest way for them to get information from their medical record is to make sure they have access to MyHealth Online.

For children going to school out of state, research what’s covered under your health plan and what you may need to pay out of pocket. It’s helpful to find out what care is available on campus through student health services and other options where they can go for routine, urgent, or emergency care. If your child takes prescribed medications, learn how to transfer prescriptions to the campus pharmacy or to a nearby off-campus pharmacy so they can easily fill and pick up medications.

As a pharmacist and a mother, I worry about what will happen when my daughters are not feeling well. To help soothe that dreadful call from one of my children that they’re sick, I decided to make them a small care package of over-the-counter (OTC) medications. I picked up the items below at one of our Harvard Vanguard pharmacies, where often several OTC medications we stock are up to 50% less expensive than retail pharmacies. Here are the OTC items I included in the care packages for my girls:

It’s comforting for me to know that they’ll be ready for those mild cases of a cold or a headache. I hope this information will help make it a smooth transition to college for both you and your children!

Contributed by Kathy Lai, Pharmacy Supervisor at our Harvard Vanguard Somerville location.

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