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First Aid: College Edition

Any new college student can tell you about the hours spent making packing lists or buying must-haves for dorm life. While most students don’t forget to pack shower shoes or an extra-large laundry hamper, many new residents forget one big item: a first aid kit. Packed with essential medicine and important documents, a proper first aid kit can help any student deal with a sore throat during finals or a morning recovery after an all-nighter. 

Must-Have Medicine

Whether you’re dealing with a headache or stuffy nose, over the counter (OTC) medications can help get you back on track. While there is a vast world of OTC meds available, these four essentials should be in every student’s first aid kit. 
1) Ibuprofen: This fan-favorite provides a wide range of relief for unwanted symptoms. This medication is best used to ease headaches or pain related to inflammation or swelling. While the benefits of ibuprofen are great, avoid combining the medication with alcohol to keep from causing stomach inflammation and damage.
2) Benadryl: Dorm living is an exciting time and a great way to make new friends. However, group living also comes with a whole new world of potential allergens in the air. Whether it’s pet hair from your roommate’s dog or bites from pesky bugs, keep your stuffy nose at bay with this OTC medicine. 
3) Cough Drops/Lozenges: No one wants to be the student coughing in a silent auditorium during an exam. Keep cough drops in your first aid kit to help soothe minor throat pain after losing your voice during a football weekend or coming down from a cold. 
4) Antacids: College cafeterias are not exactly known for being the healthiest dining option. With all of the pizza and burgers available from a never-ending buffet, a few antacids on hand can help ease heartburn and settle a sour stomach. Another alternative is to skip the junk and try out the salad bar a few days a week!

Tools and Bandages

In addition to OTC medications, your first aid kit should have a wide range of bandages, tools, and devices to keep you in tip-top shape. Check out these recommendations for essential items to include when making your kit. 
1) Bandages: No, one small box of Band-Aids is not enough. To prepare for any accident, keep a wide range of bandages and gauze in your first aid kit. For good measure, include an elastic bandage for minor sprains and hot/cold packs for injury relief. 
2) Thermometer: If your professor doesn’t believe you have an actual fever, a thermometer can come in handy. Opt for an oral digital thermometer and give it a try before your big move. 
3) Tweezers: The old wooden beds in your dorm have the potential to give out nasty splinters. Keep a pair of tweezers on hand for splinters, ticks, or any other small injuries that need an extra precise form of care. 

Important Documents

For many new students, the move to college means the first step into adulthood. Part of being a responsible adult also means being in charge of important paperwork. Before you load up the car, take a few minutes to make copies of these important documents. 
1) Your Doctor’s Information: In your first aid kit, include a copy of your primary care doctor’s information and phone number. If a campus provider requires more information, your primary care doctor is just a quick call away. 
2) Insurance Card and Personal Information: While your original card should stay somewhere more secure than a dormitory desk, keep a copy on hand if you need to access specialized campus health services. In addition to your insurance card, keep a detailed list of any chronic illness, current medications, and allergies to ensure you’re ready if disaster strikes. 
3) Emergency Contact Card: In the unfortunate case that you have an accident, keep an emergency contact card in your first aid kit and wallet. Being prepared is the first step in taking control of your health and an emergency contact card is a smart idea. 

When the First Aid Kit Isn’t Enough

Finals are fast approaching and despite taking OTC meds and sleeping through the weekend, your symptoms are still present. When the ibuprofen won’t cut it, visit First Care Clinics for a quick diagnosis and symptom relief. Find a location near you or contact a First Care consultant today!