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Dr. Karina Azank Parilo

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College Must-Have: First Aid/Medical Kit



                        This time of year is exciting as summer comes to an end and our kids head back to school and for some off to college or into their own home for the first time. Getting ready for their big move can be stressful and full of mixed emotions and while you’re checking off all their must haves, I wanted to remind parents of one thing that is often overlooked but is necessary. That’s the first aid kit/medicine cabinet. When I was in residency, my youngest cousin graduated high school and was heading off to NYU. As I thought of what to give him as a gift, I settled on a first aid and medical kit figuring he actually needed it and more than likely no one else would get him one and I was right. My aunt and uncle were thrilled with the gift and we promptly reviewed all the components making notes on the different items to make it even more user friendly for him.

                    So today I have put together a kit list much like I did for him years ago as a suggestion of the things to include for your children. First you can see in the video that the kit does not take up a lot of room, its all assembled in this small plastic tub, I use the size that holds regular paper so it will fit just about anywhere in a dorm room or apartment. Then we fill it up. Starting with basic first aid, we have alcohol cleansing pads, bandaids in assorted sizes and antibiotic ointment. We also have Benadryl and Cortisone cream for bug bites or allergic reactions, etc. If your child is inclined towards outdoor activities or sports, a reusable hot/cold pack and depending on their activities and location here’s where you might add burn cream or aloe, tweezers for thorns, etc.

                   Then we get into the medicine cabinet aspects of our kit. I include the basics for fever, headache and the like with Ibuprofen or your preferred anti-inflammatory and Tylenol. For general stomach ailments, Pepto-Bismol, Tums, and Immodium, and generics are perfectly fine. Then there is OTC cold medicine. You have several options here so get your child what you typically give them when they have a cold, if that doesn’t work they should see student health or their doctor just as they would if they were home. Next is allergy medicine for those pesky seasonal allergies and again here get what they normally use and need whether it’s a pill, nasal spray, nasal rinse or all of the above. And last I have include anti-fungal cream for athlete’s foot, ringworm, etc. 

                   Then, I recommend you go through your own cabinet at home to see what your child may use from time to time to add to this list and of course if your child takes ANY prescription medicines even if its as needed for allergies, migraines, menstrual cramps, etc. make sure you see their doctor and get them a refill to tuck in here as well before they go. If it's medicine they use everyday make sure they either have a large enough supply to last until that first vacation home or a plan of how and where they are going to get refills while away. In addition, if your child is not med savvy yet, get a sharpie and without covering the ingredients or directions, mark the boxes/bottles in the kit with what they use them for. For example, if they normally take Ibuprofen for occasional headache, write headache on the bottle that way their kit is user friendly for them.

                   Finally, the last very important items to have in their kit are a gallon size zip-lock bag and a medical history card. This is in the event they need to go to the doctor or the emergency room. Label the zip-lock bag My Medicines and put their Name & DOB on it. If they are going to the doctor or ER all they have to do is grab their usual medications and whatever else they have been taking for their symptoms and toss it in the bag. No worries then when they say I took something for my headache, they can show exactly what they took which is important for their medical providers. The other item is the medical history card. This is a list of their pertinent medical information, allergies, emergency contact, medical conditions, history, etc. You can create your own or print one for free from the internet. I’ve created one using CVS free wallet card report creator. It was simple and easy to complete, took less than 5 minutes and you can print it as both a fold-up card for their wallet and a full page to tuck into their zip-lock bag in their medical kit.

I've put the link here https://www.cvs.com/drug/wallet-card .  So as you send your kids off to live on their own for the first time, Congratulations and don’t forget the first aid kit and medical cabinet.


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