I got the dreaded call last week…
My daughter, who’s a freshman in college, called to tell me she was sick – she had a sore throat, swollen glands, a cough and a low-grade fever. My girl sounded absolutely awful! Of course, my initial thought was to drop everything, hop in the car and drive the six and a half hours to be by her side. The only thing stopping me? I knew it was coming…
My oldest daughter, now a sophomore in college, was sick her entire first semester of college. When I say the entire first semester, I mean, there wasn’t one day in which she really felt healthy.
After doing everything I possibly could to help her long distance and having more than a few conversations with my kids’ pediatrician I learned something – the bottom line is, welcome to college.
Getting sick in college – especially the first year – is inevitable. The new environment, kids packed in dorm rooms like sardines, late nights, lack of sleep, a “fabulous,” well-balanced diet filled with Mac n’ Cheese, Ramen Noodles and pizza (and possibly even a few beers thrown into the mix), sharing bathrooms, sharing food & drinks (and maybe even a few kisses), and the stress associated with the adjustment of college opens the door to a host of illnesses including colds, flu, sinus infections and Mono, to name a few. Worse yet, when your child does get sick they don’t have any of the comforts of home to help them through it.
Plus, for most college freshman, it’s the first time they’ve ever had to manage their own health making the situation even more stressful and upsetting. As a parent, nothing makes us feel more helpless than to have our kids sick when we’re not there to care for them.
As much as every parent feels anguish over wanting to be there to care for their child when they’re sick, their vision of rushing to be by their child’s side equipped with warm soup, a cozy blanket and a basketful of medicine carefully chosen to ease every symptom may not always be feasible, especially if getting to your child requires a lengthy car ride or a plane ticket.
If you’re the parent of multiple children in college, you’ve probably come face-to-face with the wrath of the college freshman germ frenzy and you most likely equipped your younger college children with every medicine known to man-kind in anticipation of the sickness storm — endless coughing, fevers, chills and late-night calls asking what they should do to feel better.
For those of you who are new to the college scene and haven’t been enlightened about how much college freshman love sharing germs, here’s an idea for a great college care package that you might want to drop in the mail before flu season hits. Of course, you know your child best and which goodies might be best to include. Use this list as a launchpad to get your creative juices flowing and don’t forget to include a comforting note from mom!
“Mom, I’m Sick” Care Package
- Pain Reliever
- Fever Reducer
- Nasal Decongestant
- Cough Drops / Throat Lozenges
- Cough Syrup
- Nasal Spray
- Daytime/Nighttime Cold Medicine
- Vitamin C Tablets
- Box of Tissues
- Hand Sanitizer
- Subscription to Netflix
- Cozy Throw
- Fuzzy, Warm Socks or Slippers
- Cozy PJ’s
- Chicken Noodle Soup
- Tea with a Cute Tea Cup
- A Good Book
Of course, with any medication – even over-the-counter medications – students should read labels thoroughly to ensure they take the proper dosage and determine what side effect may occur. They should also talk with their doctor or a pharmacist to determine if the medication will interact with any prescription medications they may be currently taking. If symptoms persist, they should always see a doctor.