Many colleges and universities require immunizations against certain contagious illnesses as part of their enrollment processes. Your child’s pre-college health check-up is a good time to discuss vaccinations with his or her primary care provider and make sure your child is up to date. Parents should ask about immunizations recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for teens heading to college, including the:
• Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, which defends against viruses that can cause several types of cancer
• Meningococcal conjugate vaccine to protect against meningitis
• Seasonal flu vaccine
• Tdap vaccine to prevent tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis
Your child’s primary care provider may recommend other vaccines based on your child’s medical history or other factors.
Discuss Important Health Topics
No matter what your child’s hobbies and health conditions, it is important to make sure he or she can access and navigate healthcare services successfully while away from home. If your child is covered under your healthcare policy, make sure he or she has an insurance card and understands how to use it. Help your teen locate a nearby primary care provider who falls within your insurance provider’s network of coverage, and if your teen regularly takes any medications, make sure he or she understands how to refill and use them properly.
College offers your child independence, but it will also offer new temptations that will test his or her maturity. Talk to your child about important health topics, such as getting at least seven to nine hours of sleep every night, eating nutritious meals, and avoiding illegal drugs and alcohol.
To learn more ways to help your teen prepare for college life, search “college” above.
Reviewed by Lanette Brown-Jones, M.D., adolescent medicine, Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St.Vincent.