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 her first cold she was happy to find a thermometer, cold medicine and Vaseline for her chapped lips. When my son got a stomach bug, he was thrilled to find Imodium in his box. All kinds of remedies come in sample size these days.
Sometimes their sickness may need care beyond the treasure box. UCF’s Health Care Center is pretty comprehensive. There are even three satellite centers throughout campus. There is also a 24-hour Ask a Nurse Service. This page also lists places to go for emergency service.
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 UCF Health Center too. CVS Minute Clinic and Walgreens Healthcare Clinic have locations 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 is, include First Choice and MiniER. Centra Care can even see students who may have a broken bone and need an x-ray. Many parents speak highly of East Colonial Family Medical Center. 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 UCF is Florida Hospital East Orlando. Additional reputable facilities include Orlando Regional Medical Center, Central Florida’s only Level One Trauma Center, and Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, which does see patients up to 21 years of age.
If your student needs to get into an orthopedic facility and cannot get into UCF’s Health Care Center, other options include Jewett Orthopedic which takes online appointments as well as walk-ins and Orlando Orthopedic Center. Be sure your student has a copy of their insurance card.
If you want to send a little something to make your student feel better there are many options including chicken soup sent by the UCF Hillel (you don’t have to be Jewish to order). See our blog on 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. Here are some places near campus that make pretty good soup:
TooJays chicken noodle soup is one of the best options. They also have matzo ball and the soup of the day.
Viet-Nomz has the pho bowls which are pretty much soups and they’re delicious, according to our interns.
Bento also has udon soups.
McAlister’s Deli has really good soups (and sandwiches).
Sapporo – Ok, its not exactly soup, but some may consider ramen soup.
Domu – More ramen, and really delicious.
And then there are Whole Foods, Lucky’s, Publix, and Panera too.
No matter what sort of package you are sending be sure to double check the mailing address. Too many times we have heard of packages arriving, but never getting to the right recipient.
This past year, my daughter got really sick twice; once with a bad flu and once for a bad virus. It was difficult to get an appointment during flu season (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 doctor in Orlando. Yes, your fees pay for the student health center but her now having an Orlando doctor will make getting an appointment a little easier. 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 (although all bets are off when the flu season hits its peak).
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.