Problems for university or college students can range from financial debt to relationship issues. These tips for staying healthy at college don’t cover every possible scenario, but they will help you avoid the flu, the H1N1 virus, and even feelings of depression and anxiety!
The healthier you are, the better your college experience will be — and the more likely you’ll achieve your goals.
Before the tips, a quip:
“College is the best time of your life,” said David Wood. “When else are your parents going to spend several thousand dollars a year just for you to go to a strange town and get drunk every night?”
That is definitely not the way to stay healthy in college! For help with too much partying and other potential problems at college, read The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College by Harlan Cohen. And, here are eight ways to stay healthy at college from Dr. Jane Horton, director of student health and counseling at Washington and Lee University.
Solving College Problems – 8 Tips for Staying Healthy at College
This article has been updated – read 8 Easy Ways to Stay Healthy at College – From A’s to ZZZs.
1. Have a physical exam before starting college. Washington and Lee requires all students to have a physical, and Dr. Horton believes it’s an important part of staying healthy at college. “For an 18-year-old going off to school, this may be the first time that they’ve had an opportunity to sit down with a physician one-on-one and talk about things like sexual health, tobacco use and alcohol use without a parent present, and with a clinician who can give them advice about those things.”
2. Talk to your doctor about recommended immunizations young adults, and make sure all of your vaccinations are up to date. Make plans to get a flu shot in the fall. Dr. Horton cautions that this will be the year when student health centers will be doing more outreach than ever to see that students get vaccinated against the flu – both the normal seasonal shot and the H1N1 vaccine when it becomes available. “We expect the H1N1 to be a two-shot regimen. That means we’ll want to try to get as many students possible to have all three flu shots,” she said.
3. If you’re a parent of a college student, discuss your expectations regarding alcohol, other drugs and sexual activity. “These are discussions that may be difficult for parents to initiate,” Horton said. “But it’s so important to have clear, honest conversations about expectations. Parents need to be aware that things are going to change and need to keep the avenues of communications open [to help students stay healthy at college].”
4. Check your health insurance. Families need to be aware, says Horton, of what kind of coverage the student will have on campus, including whether or not the prescription drug plan will be honored at pharmacies in the area.
Is one of your college problems that you have no money? Read How to Get Money for School – From Passive Income to Sharper Vision.
5. Bring a first aid kit with common, over-the-counter medications. “Students need to know how to self-treat a cold because many have never really managed that on their own before,” Dr. Horton said. “They need to know whether or not to go see a doctor, something that their parents have usually handled for them.”
6. Take your mom’s advice. Wash your hands, cover your cough, dispose of used tissues. “All of those common-sense pieces of advice can make a big difference, especially for students who find themselves living with a whole lot of other people in residence halls for the first time,” Dr. Horton said.
To ease your transition to college, you might find Tips for Surviving College for New Students helpful.
7. Watch your diet. Unhealthy eating habits are easy to pick up when no one is there to make sure you eat your veggies. “To stay healthy at college, eat breakfast to give your brain fuel for those morning classes,” she said. “Regular exercise is also important for good health and weight management. Students should try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise four to five days a week.”
8. Get plenty of sleep. “For some reason, students get to college and their clock seems to shift, and they stay up too late, and they still have 8 o’clock classes,” said Horton. “They stay up talking to friends in the hall, and they don’t start their work until 11 or 12, and they’re up half the night doing their homework. Sleep deprivation among students is a very unhealthy habit.”
If you’re having problems at college because you lack motivation, read 5 Ways to Stay Motivated to Go to College – From Bored to Inspired!
If you have any thoughts or questions about these tips for staying healthy at college, please comment below…
Need encouragement? Sign up for my weekly "Echoes of Joy" email - it's free, short, and energizing. Like me! Is your relationship in trouble? Get 7 Steps to Fixing Your Marriage from relationship coach Mort Fertel. It's free and helpful, no strings attached.