If your child is graduating from high school this month, you may be thinking about vaccines for college students and how to keep your rising scholar healthy. If she is heading off to college this fall, there are a few medical things on her to-do list. Be sure your child prepares this summer by taking care of the following:
Vaccines for College Students
If your child has been with Generations Family Practice for several years, she is probably up to date on vaccinations, but may need a few more. When it comes to vaccines for college students, many colleges recommend students get a meningitis vaccine before enrolling, along with Hepatitis B. Check with your doctor about whether a TDAP is needed. Your teen should probably get the HPV vaccine if she hasn’t already. You’ll also want to make sure your child starts getting an annual flu shot and starts doing this on her own each fall.
In our newsletter this month, we talk about the importance of legal forms that give you access to your child’s medical records and the ability to make decisions for him if he cannot do so. Be sure your 18-year-old signs a health care proxy and a durable power of attorney. Without these documents, you will have get court approval to act on your child’s behalf or even get information about them if hospitalized. Get more information in our May newsletter (Make sure to sign up for our newsletter by going to our website and entering your email address in the request box).
Your teen is now an adult and will make his own decisions about sex. Although health classes may have given him some basic education, make sure he is ready to take responsibility. Speak to your children about birth control, safer sex practices by using condoms, and getting tested for sexually transmitted infections each year. Colleges have on-campus physicians; be sure your student knows where they are located and makes an annual appointment for a checkup.
Drugs and Alcohol
You’ve no doubt raised a child who can make good decisions, but once out on their own, kids may find it tempting to experiment or to overindulge. While your teen may roll her eyes at you, studies show parents have an influence. Talk to your child about the pressures of drinking or drugs. Make sure you talk to your son or daughter about drugs and what to do if they are present at a party or if someone offers them.
A 2013 national survey showed that most high school seniors have tried alcohol, but the pressure and the appeal become more intense in a free environment. Be sure she is vigilant about not driving and not getting into a vehicle with a driver who has been drinking. Make sure your child has taxi service phone numbers saved in her cell phone, along with numbers for campus police.
Emotional Well Being
Going off to college or moving out on your own is an adventure most kids can’t wait to experience. But for many, the challenge of living on your own or with roommates and making all of your own decisions leads to emotional struggles. The change can feel drastic to some. You may have prepared your kids for adulthood by teaching them about money, but what about relationships? Speak to your kids about what to do if they feel down. Remind them you are available, but don’t be willing to rush in and fix everything. Talk to our team if you’re not sure your young adult is emotionally ready or have questions about this.
Questions about your graduate? Contact us for a wellness visit.