The good news: Your kid is growing up, going to college, and experiencing all the fun of dorm life – late night pizza, movie nights, new friends. The bad news: She's also experiencing all the germs of dorm life, living (and possibly sharing a bathroom) with dozens of other students. Colds, flu, and other bugs tend to spread quickly in such close quarters.
So, be sure to send your student armed with some weapons to battle the nasty stuff.
A first aid kit. Short of Mom sitting bedside with a soothing washcloth, nothing is as comforting as first aid supplies from home. Essentials include antacids, cough drops, pain and fever reliever, Band-Aids, Neosporin, a digital thermometer, an ice pack, and a heating pad. (Toss in a surprise “Get Well" card with a $20 bill enclosed to give her spirits an additional boost.)
Disinfecting wipes. Your kid will be more likely to clean (and wipe away germs) if it's easy – and Food Lion Fresh Scent wipes are a no-brainer for tidying up a dorm room. Remind her it's especially important to wipe down spots that are handled by multiple people – i.e. doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, mini-fridge and microwave. Bonus: Her room will smell sweet and clean with a minimal amount of effort.
Hand sanitizer. Likewise, pack several pump bottles of hand sanitizer to place in strategic spots around the room – on the bathroom counter, by the door, on the desk, in the kitchen if she has access to one.
Gift cards to grocery stores. No matter how up-to-date and health-conscious the school cafeteria is, students don't always make the best choices there. A trip to a local Food Lion will yield fresh produce your kid can keep in her room for easy snacking. (Many college dorms include a mini-fridge, so your student can keep fruits and veggies fresh.) Food Lion offers both plastic and electronic gift cards.
Vitamins. A daily multivitamin like Healthy Accents 1 Day Plus Minerals can also help fill in nutritional gaps. To boost your kid's immune system, send along Healthy Accents Vitamin C 1000 milligram tablets or Healthy Accents Echinacea 400 milligrams.
Your current health insurance card. In case a trip to the student health center is in order, avoid paperwork hassles by making sure your kid has up-to-date insurance info handy. Encourage her to visit the health center if she's really under the weather or even feeling blue. Colleges and universities offer a myriad of resources for physical and mental well-being.
Teabags, lemon juice, and honey. Whether she's coming down with a bug or just trying to ward one off, honey and lemon tea is a student's best defense; it's a magical combination that soothes throat and soul. Start with Food Lion naturally decaffeinated black tea, then add just the right amount of honey and fresh lemon juice. Bonus: A warm mug of tea on a blustery afternoon brings all the comfort of home, and can ward off that other common freshman ailment – homesickness. And that's a win-win for everyone.