Getting Your Kids Ready for College!


Kids Health Watch is brought to you by our friends and Magnolia Springs Pediatrics


Happy Summer, y’all! Well, this month, I’m writing a bittersweet article because we are coming to grips with the fact that my kids are growing up and will be headed off to college soon! (Insert crying emoji here.) But they will grow up in spite of our best efforts, so there are some things as parents that we need to do to help them get ready!

Most colleges and military commitments require not only a physical, but some require blood work and a tuberculosis test, and almost all require either a booster or new immunizations. Unfortunately, there are still outbreaks of preventable illnesses like mumps or measles, as well as new ones. The colleges will send out what they need, but since the immunizations are pretty much the same across the board, let’s talk about those.

First, be sure that all routine childhood immunizations are up to date. These include the Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis), MMRV (measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella), Hepatitis A and B, Haemophilus, and Polio. Some require boosters at certain ages, so check with your physician.

Next, let’s think about vaccines for older kids. There are several vaccines for bacterial meningitis. These are often required and necessary because of how dangerous they can be. There are cases every year of college-age kids who have died from this disease. Next is an annual flu shot, followed by a pneumococcal shot for those with underlying health conditions. The Covid vaccine is also available for older teenagers, and I highly recommend it. Finally, the HPV series is critical for both males and females to stop the spread of the virus that can cause cervical and other cancers. It’s an amazing medical breakthrough. Some parents are scared as it is considered a sexually transmitted disease. If you think this won’t apply to your child, you need to reconsider back to your late teens and twenties and reconsider!

Another consideration is the transfer of healthcare. Kids with chronic illnesses and/or on chronic medications need to figure out a plan for their care at the new destination. Student health can often manage most conditions, but sometimes a specialist is needed. Talk with student health first for advice.

Finally, as we prepare to send our children off to college, let’s start thinking about the things they still need and gradually empower them to manage them. From washing clothes to self-hygiene, these are great first steps. But it’s equally important to let our children navigate the immunization and paperwork process and even call the college themselves to help manage their care. This small step can empower our kids to take control of their healthcare, a skill that will carry over into all aspects of their lives in the next chapter of their young lives!


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