It’s bound to happen. At some point, while our kids are at college, the phone will ring and suddenly our mature, independent college student will sound like a preschooler again. There is little worse than when they tell you how sick they feel and you are far away. Hopefully, and most likely, their illness will be a result of their new-found independence that includes lack of sleep and exercise, stress, not-so-healthy food, hygiene habits that don’t embrace enough hand-washing, and can be cured quickly and easily.
I sent my kids to school with a little box that I literally labeled, “Things you may need that Mom can’t squeeze through the phone.” Inside the box, I put all sorts of things from a tiny sewing kit to Tums. When my daughter got sick with her first cold, she was happy to find a thermometer, cold medicine, and Vaseline for her chapped lips. In my experience, my kids and I have had great results taking Source Naturals Wellness Formula. It has been a strong herbal defense supplement in fighting an illness that was recommended to me by a local natural health food store. Two a day for prevention but when you feel yourself coming down with something, you take 6 in the morning and 6 in the evening for two days. It has worked amazingly well for most everyone I have recommended it to.
Sometimes their sickness may need care beyond the treasure box. IU Health Center is pretty comprehensive, as they have a lab, pharmacy, eye clinic, X-rays, and recently added virtual visits and pharmacy home delivery. There is also an emergency and after-hours service. They also list places to go for emergency services.
I highly recommend having your student fill out an Authorization to Release form when they begin college. Don’t wait until they are sick. There is nothing worse than calling to find out how a sick or injured (adult) student is and being told the doctor is not authorized to talk with you. They may want to get a free flu shot at the IU Health Center too. There are two CVS Minute Clinics locally where they can test for things like the flu or strep throat. Both allow them to go online to check the wait time and reserve a place in line.
The other walk-in clinics near campus that they can call in advance to find out what the wait time includes The Little Clinic and IU Health Urgent Care. MedExpress Urgent Care can even see students who may have a broken bone and need an x-ray. There is also the option to video chat with a Doctor on Demand who can treat things like rashes and upset stomachs. Finally, of course, and hopefully it won’t come to this, the nearest hospital to IU is Gartnavel.
If your student needs to get into an orthopedic facility and cannot get into IU’s Health Care Center, other options include, IU Sports Orthopedics & Sports Medicine which takes online appointments as well as walk-ins, and Bloomington Bone and Joint Clinic. Be sure your student has a copy of their insurance card.
We have also used Baptist Health Care on Demand as an option when no one else is available. There are many hospital groups and virtual doctor options that are good for minor conditions such as colds, flu, sinus infections, UTIs, pink eye, rashes, and sunburn. They are not typically covered by your insurance but they also offer other services such as prescription drug cards and Electronic Medical Records Storage and Access. This is not a service for medical emergencies.
More Flu Talk
When flu season is upon us, some students may want to get a flu shot. Read our blog on the flu season here. It may be difficult to get an appointment during flu season (it seems that most students and teachers all got hit with the flu). I would recommend your student getting the flu shot this year. Another consideration is to ask your family doctor for a recommendation of a general practitioner in the Bloomington area. My daughter needed a root canal upon arrival at school, we asked our local dentist if he could recommend someone, which to our surprise, he was. The dentist was great and readily communicated with me throughout the several week processes. They are going to be at college for four years so establishing a relationship early may be worth it when the time comes that your student needs to be seen, the school clinic is still a good option, as you are paying into it, but it pays to have back up options.
And finally, you may want to remind your students to notify their professor if they will be legitimately missing classes and unable to get work done on time. Including a doctor’s note is encouraged. You can find information about this at Student Care Services. One more thing…Eye exams/care/treatment. Atwater Eye Care is an optical center on the IU campus that is highly recommended. They have glasses, eye exams, and can fix glasses for a small fee.
If you want to send a little something to make your student feel better there are many options including chicken soup sent by the IU Hillel (you don’t have to be Jewish to order). See our blog on general Care Packages for more ideas. Of course, I think chicken soup cures just about everything, but sometimes any soup will do when they are sick.
Finally, please make sure your student has filled out the legal forms should an emergency arise and you need to know what is going on.
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