Heading off to college is an exciting time for many young adults. As parents, we prepare them for the challenges and obstacles they will face. Often, though, we fail to educate our children in some of the most essential health complications that may arise while they are away at school.
While many college campuses offer students with free or discounted health services, there are an increasing number of students who simply do not access and utilize these services until their own health is significantly deteriorated. Teaching our children the importance of maintaining personal health is crucial to their achievement in their academic curriculum.
One common health concern among college students is the all too common “freshman 15”. This term refers to the sudden occurrence of weight gain in the college freshman. While we, as parents, may have taught our children the importance of good nutrition, the fact remains, as they head off to college, our children will simply not practice these healthy eating methods. The result is a significant weight gain in the first year of school. To offset this complication, the college student should be educated in the services and location of the nutritional clinic on the college campus.
Another health concern among college students is the common onset of psychological complications, most notably depression. For many college students, this depression is temporary and attributed to being homesick. However, when untreated, the college student may suffer from an impaired ability complete tasks and this may, ultimately, impact their academic performance. Again, showing the student where the appropriate healthcare services can be obtained, while also maintaining regular and active communication with our kids, is important to their emotional health. Sending care packages from home, with some of their favorite snacks and activities, is another effective way parents are resolving homesickness and improving the potential indication for depression in the college student.
We should also educate our kids, as they head off to college, in the various symptoms and over the counter methods for treating common ailments such as headaches, fatigue and colds. While most college students are already aware of these minor care practices, it is important to educate them in the signs and symptoms of more significant health complications, such as flu, pneumonia and bodily injury, to ensure they obtain the proper medical attention, on the college campus, early in their health complication.
Because college students are often struggling to complete their academics, they feel there is very little time to devote to not only being sick but even focusing on their recovery. To ensure the college student is well prepared for the health complications that may arise while away at college, we, as parents, should educate them in the issues they may face and also maintain regular contact, physically and emotionally, as it is the parents, often, who are the first to recognize a health issue may need to be addressed.