The American Academy of Pediatrics website features tips and in-depth articles on subjects such as bullying and school bus safety, but when it comes to college-aged students, many parents assume their kids are ready for the big world. However, sharing tiny dorms and kitchens with other busy, pre-occupied students can be a recipe for accidents and illness.
As with any public space, colds and flu are common on college campuses, but more serious illnesses such as mononucleosis and meningitis place your student at serious risk. Teaching your child to be cognizant of their own health and aware of their surroundings is just as important to their future success as passing their math or English exam, so share with them this list of dorm dos and don’ts.
Get a meningitis vaccination. Bacterial meningitis is a serious and potentially fatal infection that affects the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. It’s contracted just like the flu, and shares many of the same symptoms.
Remind your student to wash their hands frequently, wipe down countertops and other shared surfaces, and avoid close contact with someone who is sick. Be sure your child has what they need to eat healthy, and encourage them to always get plenty of sleep.
Equip freshman with standard first aid kits and make sure they know how to use them. Also stock up on basic medicine chest items such as Tylenol Cold, Tums, and ibuprofen. Replenish medicines as needed and restock the first aid kit each semester. Having these items on hand encourages self-care and prevent minor problems from becoming more serious.
Avoid going barefoot in bathrooms and locker rooms. Wear flipflops instead. Dry feet after showering and change socks after athletic activity. Avoid sharing towels and wash cloths, and replace damp towels regularly. All of these steps help prevent bacterial growth that lead to skin conditions like athlete’s foot, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and other staph infections, and also promotes good overall health.
Mold and bacteria grow in warm, damp conditions and may trigger allergies and asthma. Kitchens and showers require regular cleaning, but if the situation is serious, professional treatment may be necessary. College students should recognize and report any lingering odors or widespread problems, and look to parents or administrators if conditions don’t improve.
Too much drinking and not enough sleep do more than damage your grades. They can also impact a student’s health. Physical exhaustion and alcohol can lead to situational depression, but they can also be symptoms of a serious mental health issue. Students should be made aware of their on-campus and off-campus care options. Even if they’re not discussing the matter with their parents, having a counselor or peer support group available can be invaluable to a student who is struggling to manage their new independence.
Companies like Aftermath work directly with schools across the US, handling difficult scenarios like communicable disease outbreaks and accident cleanups so that your children stay safe and healthy, whether in the gym or the classroom. We also service private homes and businesses. So if you are in need of quick, thorough biohazard cleanup, or have questions about the range of services we provide, please call us at 877-872-4339. Our technicians are available 24/7 to best serve you.