What to Know About Your College First Aid Kit

What to Know About Your College First Aid Kit

Going to college can be scary for many students.

For the first time in their lives, they will be on their own, forced to make decisions about things they never really had to think about before such as , what to eat for breakfast/lunch/dinner, when to clean, and most importantly, what to do when they get hurt. 

While you can’t be there to help them with most things, you can at least make sure you’ve taken care of the last thing on that list by giving them a first aid kit as their parting gift.

Once they’re at school, parents will be able to sleep a little more soundly knowing that their child is prepared, should they get injured or need to go to the doctor.

Because a first aid kit is so important, especially now, it shouldn’t be thrown together at the last minute.

Each child is different and has different needs when it comes to medicines, et. al, but when you’re thinking about the general essentials that go into that kit, here’s what you should know.

 

What Should Be in a College First Aid Kit?

A first aid kit should be comprised of multiple categories of items from medicines to insurance cards, to medical “equipment.”

It is important to encompass all of these areas as each has its own purpose in a time of emergency. 

Key medicine to include in a college first aid kit:

  • Ibuprofen/Tylenol is useful for reducing fevers, pain relief, any aches that may arise from the muscles, teeth or back, and can also help lessen headaches.
  • Excedrin works wonders by eliminating headaches and can also serve as a slight pain reliever.
  • Antacids are useful in treating heartburn as they will work to lower the acid in  your stomach which can also aid in the relief of belching, bloating, and other stomach pains.
  • Antidiarrheal medicine prevents diarrhea by slowing and limiting the bowel movements of the stomach.
  • Cold/Cough Medicine is used to treat common colds or coughs.
  • Cough Drops should be taken when students have a bad cough to prevent further coughing.
  • Hydrocortisone Cream attends to a wide variety of skin conditions, notably, bug bites, poison ivy, eczema, and general itching.
  • Antibacterial Ointment should be used on minor wounds to prevent infection and can be applied prior to the use of a band-aid.

Additional equipment to include in a college first aid kit:

  • Thermometer 
  • Band-aids Large and small band-aids are suggested.
  • Ace Bandages can be used to heal muscle sprains and strains.
  • Surgical Tape
  • Roll of Gauze
  • Pulse Oximeters are used as a way to check the flow of oxygen throughout your body.
  • Face masks and Gloves have surged in popularity in recent months, but are simply good pieces of equipment to have whether you are sick or you are around someone who is sick.
  • Ice packs are crucial for slowing and stopping the swelling of numerous types of injuries.
  • Bug Repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • Scissors
  • Nail clippers
  • Tweezers

 

Important Medical Tips Before Leaving for College

While the first aid kit may provide some peace of mind as you send your child off, there are still a few more important items and steps to follow before you are officially done.

  • Have your child make a copy of their insurance card along with the original and be sure one is carried on them at all times whether it’s in their wallet or elsewhere. 
  • Once you have completed your first aid kit, the most important thing is that your child knows how and when to use every item in it. One parent from the Paying For College 101 Facebook group places a white sticker label on the medicine she gives to her child that contains “dosages, when to use, contraindications, etc.”
  • Schedule a doctor’s appointment before leaving and be sure your child has all of the vaccinations they require. Meningitis, whooping cough, and HPV are all common vaccines to receive before college.
  • Once a child turns 18 and becomes a legal adult, their parents are no longer allowed access to certain medical information without their child’s approval. This can become problematic if a child is incapacitated and parents need certain information that they normally wouldn’t have access to. To avoid this, and with your child’s permission, fill out a medical release form.
  • Similarly, filling out a form for the healthcare power of attorney will give permissions to parents/guardians to make decisions for a child. As explained by a parent in our Facebook group, “The POA is used to designate a surrogate decision-maker if the patient/student is unable to make their own decisions.”
  • If your child is going to a school in an area commonly affected by natural disasters, make them aware of the proper protocols should a situation arise.
  • Finally, be sure your child is aware of the nearest hospitals and the location of any emergency clinics on campus.

Sending a child off to college is equally as scary for the parents as it is for the students, but if you follow the proper steps and take precautions, you can alleviate the stress that comes with it.

The statements on this post are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or ailment. The author does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any message and will not be held responsible for the content of any message. Always consult your personal physician for specific medical advice.

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Matthew Schwartz

Matthew Schwartz

Matthew is a senior at The Haverford School, in Haverford, PA. He is the editor-in-chief of his school newspaper, The Index. He enjoys writing, photography, and film making.
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