How to Prepare For A Sick College Student

This post about how to prepare for a sick college student is compensated by Amwell via Momtrends. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author. They are not indicative of the opinions of Amwell or Momtrends.

How do college students deal with sickness? Not very well, I can tell you that.  Having sent my oldest off to college last year, we learned quickly that staying healthy at college is incredibly hard.  Going to class sick in college is miserable and finding time to go to the campus health center is almost impossible.  But, we learned our lesson with the first kid (unfortunately). We are making some changes when the youngest leaves for school next fall.  Our college readiness to do list includes a fully stocked first aid kits, loads of hand sanitizer and vitamins, and signing up for Amwell for urgent care video visits.

What to do for sick college students to help them feel better fast

How to stop getting sick in college:

A sick college student will not be functioning at their best, meaning grades will suffer.  However, staying healthy when you are living in a dorm full of college students is hard.  Health care experts have put together a list of tips to share with your new college student to help prevent kids from getting sick in college. 

  1. Wash your hands regularly.  Especially before heading to the dining hall.  Keep hand sanitizer available when washing hands isn’t feasible. 
  2. Try to get enough sleep.  While college sleeping habits are questionable, the more tired they are, the more likely it is that they get a cold.  Or worse. 
  3. Eat a balanced diet. Pizza at midnight is tasty, but try to add in a glass of orange juice with breakfast. 
  4. Manage stress. Staying on top of day to day class requirements will go a long way towards reducing stress
  5. Get up-to-date on immunizations.  Talk to your doctor before you leave about flu shots for college students and other necessary boosters you might need. 
  6. Slow down when sickness hits. Your sick college student still has tests to study for and papers to write. Make a friend in every class that you can share notes with on days you are too sick to get to class.  Check out my post on what to do when you feel a cold coming on for more tips. 
  7. Pack a first aid kit from home: Before you head to college, stock up on vitamins, cold medicine, tissues, and everything else you may need when you are sick. Encourage college students to familiarize themselves with it before they leave. 

college student first aid kit

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What to put in a college first aid kit:

A college first aid kit is their first line of defense when it comes to illness.  Going to class sick in college isn’t fun but you can only miss so many of them before it affects your grades.  For the average cold, the right medicine and first aid supplies can making calling in sick to college unnecessary.  Here are a few things to pack in your college first aid kit:

  • Pepto/Imodium
  • Advil
  • Tylenol (yes, both, for high fevers…)
  • Cough drops
  • Sore throat spray
  • Allergy meds (saline, decongestant, Zyrtec, etc)
  • Band-aids and first aid stuff
  • Rehydration tablets…. (and yes, those are good for being sick from germs and being sick from too much alcohol….)
  • Cough suppressants
  • Anything else you think they will need….

amwell app on ipad and materials for college class

When you can’t get to the campus health center:

When my son was a Freshman, getting to the campus health center was not easy.  He didn’t have a car, so had to rely on public transportation.  Without an appointment, the wait time at a college health center at a large college can be hours long.  He didn’t have that kind of time to wait.  I wish we had known about Amwell for urgent care visits last year. It would have made talking to a doctor so much easier for him!

SIck college student using amwell app for healthcare


Amwell for College Student Urgent Care Visits

Amwell has an app that college students need to put on their phone before they leave home.  The Amwell app is perfect for urgent care visits when they can’t get to the campus health center.   With this app, they can have live, on‑demand video visits with a physician to help them figure out what’s wrong.  And how to get better, FAST.  Of course, your sick college student doesn’t want to deal with this in the midst of a stomach bug, so do it before they leave home! Here is how it works:

  • Install the mobile app and create an account for your college student. (or, better yet, have them do it themselves before they leave!)
  • Fill out the profile info and enter insurance information if you have it. Visits on and through the Amwell app accepts insurance coverage from the brands like UnitedHealthcare, Cigna, Aetna and more. If they don’t have medical insurance, they can still see a doctor and pay at the time of their visit. Urgent care visits are only $69 and less if they have insurance. 
  • Urgent care is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in all 50 states. Even when they wake up at 3 AM throwing up. They just sign in and have their visit.  
  • Prescriptions are sent electronically to the pharmacy of their choice. Ask around to see if delivery is offered at any local pharmacies.  Or, do as my son does and grab an uber to pick up their prescriptions. 

GET 25% off an urgent care visit NOW. 

Use code AMWELL25 – which gives them 25% off an urgent care visit ($69). This never expires.

Being sick in college is no fun and really gets in the way of having fun…. and succeeding academically, too, of course.  Help your college student prepare in advance for getting sick at school.  Because they WILL.  No matter how many vitamins they take or how much hand sanitzer you send them with.  So give them the tools they need to get better fast and get back to living their best college life.  

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