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Talking to Your Teen About Health in College

College-Health-(1).JPGExtra long twin sheets, a new computer, a load of textbooks…your teen has everything they need for college, right? Not so fast. As your college-bound son or daughter prepares to head off for four years away from home, make sure they’re equipped with the health information they need should an emergency arise.

“For many teenagers, this is the first time they’ll be living on their own. Whereas before they’ve depended on their parents to be the guiding hand when it comes to healthcare and dealing with illness or emergency, this is the first time they’ll be taking responsibility for their health,” says Levelle Drose-Bigatel, MD, family practice physician at Main Line HealthCare in Westtown.

Unfortunately, sending your son or daughter off with their insurance card and a pack of band-aids won’t do the trick. Below, Dr. Drose offers some tips for making sure your child is prepared to be in the driver’s seat when it comes to their health.

Get vaccinated: Most schools make them mandatory, but it’s worth repeating that the summer before college is the time for vaccinations like meningitis, tetanus, and pertussis. You may want to talk to your child and their doctor about the HPV vaccine, as well.

Know your health history: By the time they’re in their teens, most people are well-versed in their health history and can speak to any allergies or chronic medical conditions. Make sure you also talk to your teen about health issues in your immediate family, as doctors will often inquire about those, as well.

Build a first aid kit: Include everything you think they’ll need for the little emergencies: a thermometer, bandages, gauze, scissors, tweezers, antibacterial cream, etc.

Talk to your teen: It sounds cliché, but it’s true. Talk to your teenager about some common health concerns for college students, including contraception, alcohol, managing stress, and getting enough sleep. Creating an open dialogue makes it more likely that they’ll come to you with questions or concerns about their health.

Make an appointment:
In addition to making a doctor’s appointment for your child before they leave for college, help them find a primary care physician near their new school or apartment within the first few weeks of moving in. If their school has a well-established health center, that can be used instead. This way, they’ll have a relationship with a physician in the area for referrals and appointments.

Regardless of how much you encourage your teen to take control of your health, it can sometimes take a back seat to time with friends, studying, or participation in extracurricular activities. Still, during talks with your son or daughter, make it a point to ask how they’re feeling and pay attention to verbal clues that might allude to health concerns.
 
Posted by Main Line Health on 8/21/2013 9:31:27 AM

Talking to Your Teen About Health in College

College-Health-(1).JPGExtra long twin sheets, a new computer, a load of textbooks…your teen has everything they need for college, right? Not so fast. As your college-bound son or daughter prepares to head off for four years away from home, make sure they’re equipped with the health information they need should an emergency arise.

“For many teenagers, this is the first time they’ll be living on their own. Whereas before they’ve depended on their parents to be the guiding hand when it comes to healthcare and dealing with illness or emergency, this is the first time they’ll be taking responsibility for their health,” says Levelle Drose-Bigatel, MD, family practice physician at Main Line HealthCare in Westtown.

Unfortunately, sending your son or daughter off with their insurance card and a pack of band-aids won’t do the trick. Below, Dr. Drose offers some tips for making sure your child is prepared to be in the driver’s seat when it comes to their health.

Get vaccinated: Most schools make them mandatory, but it’s worth repeating that the summer before college is the time for vaccinations like meningitis, tetanus, and pertussis. You may want to talk to your child and their doctor about the HPV vaccine, as well.

Know your health history: By the time they’re in their teens, most people are well-versed in their health history and can speak to any allergies or chronic medical conditions. Make sure you also talk to your teen about health issues in your immediate family, as doctors will often inquire about those, as well.

Build a first aid kit: Include everything you think they’ll need for the little emergencies: a thermometer, bandages, gauze, scissors, tweezers, antibacterial cream, etc.

Talk to your teen: It sounds cliché, but it’s true. Talk to your teenager about some common health concerns for college students, including contraception, alcohol, managing stress, and getting enough sleep. Creating an open dialogue makes it more likely that they’ll come to you with questions or concerns about their health.

Make an appointment:
In addition to making a doctor’s appointment for your child before they leave for college, help them find a primary care physician near their new school or apartment within the first few weeks of moving in. If their school has a well-established health center, that can be used instead. This way, they’ll have a relationship with a physician in the area for referrals and appointments.

Regardless of how much you encourage your teen to take control of your health, it can sometimes take a back seat to time with friends, studying, or participation in extracurricular activities. Still, during talks with your son or daughter, make it a point to ask how they’re feeling and pay attention to verbal clues that might allude to health concerns.
 
Posted by Main Line Health on 8/21/2013 9:31:27 AM
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