Soon, high school seniors will be preparing for college! But does your new college student struggle with allergies? For many college students, this will be their first time living on their own—and therefore handling their allergy symptoms and treatments on their own. This is what your new college student can do to prepare for college with allergies.
- Schedule an appointment with an allergist.
Before your child leaves for college, schedule an appointment for them with an allergist (or show them how to schedule an appointment themselves). At this appointment, your child can review their allergy, asthma, and medication needs. You may also want to consider asking for an allergist referral near your child’s college in case they need a local appointment while at school.
- Check prescriptions and find a pharmacy.
If your child uses allergy medications, check their supply and expiration dates. Find a pharmacy near your child’s school where they will be able to get any needed refills. If your child uses an epinephrine auto-injector or an inhaler, check the expiration dates. If they will expire while your child is at school, make sure they know of a pharmacy near their college where they can get a new one.
In addition, most schools now offer health services. Encourage your child to learn about the medical services and facilities available to them as a student. When your child packs for college, make sure they take their insurance card and a list of any medications they take.
- Learn about school policies.
Your child can reach out to their new college to learn about policies regarding students with allergies. They may be asked to complete additional paperwork or register with the campus Disability Resource Center. If your child has food allergies, they may meet with a consultant to review campus dining options and dietary accommodations that are available.
In addition, it’s usually a good idea for your child to make their roommates aware of any allergies. They can also speak with their resident advisor and learn whether their residence has shared kitchens. If so, they will need to learn about cleaning policies and how they can prevent cross-contamination in shared cooking spaces.
- Take a tour of on-campus food facilities.
Once the school has been made aware of your child’s allergies, you may have the opportunity to tour the food facilities before your child moves into the dorms. This allows you and your child to speak with the chefs and food preparation staff regarding your child’s specific allergies, and you can learn what type of food allergy training they have had. Since food allergies are fairly common, it is likely they have undergone training and have procedures in place to accommodate students with allergies.
Make sure your child learns how to access allergen information for foods served in their cafeteria or dining area. Some schools have allergy-friendly areas in the cafeteria, so a tour can help you and your child identify these areas. In addition, most schools make menus and ingredient information available online.
With these simple steps, your child can successfully navigate heading to college with allergies. If you would like more information about how you can support your child during this transition, or to schedule an appointment with our allergy team, contact us today at West River ENT & Allergy.