Thinking of packing your son or daughter a first aid kit for college?  Since this might be the first time that your student has been away from home, a kit full of supplies is a great idea.

What to Pack

For cuts, scrapes or minor burns:

  • Adhesive bandages – All sizes.
  • Non-stick gauze – To cover larger wounds.
  • Adhesive tape – To help secure the gauze.
  • Antibiotic ointment (Neosporin) – To prevent infections in a wound or a minor burn.

For sprains, strains and other similar injuries:

  • Elastic bandage – To wrap and provide compression for sprains and strains.
  • Ice pack – For use when an injury first occurs.
  • Warm pack or heating pad – For increasing blood flow to an older injury.

It’s helpful to have over-the-counter medications for a headache or heartburn on hand to avoid a trip to the drugstore.  The following drugs can be used safely by most people as long as label instructions are closely and accurately followed:

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) – Great for headaches and other aches and pains.  Advise your student not to use acetaminophen if he or she is going to be drinking alcohol.  The combination of the two can cause liver damage.
  • Ibuprofen (Motrin) – Also great for headaches and for pain from inflammation or swelling.  Be aware that ibuprofen can be irritating to the stomach, so it’s still important for your student to avoid alcohol when using this medication.
  • Antacids – For all of the new foods your student will be eating.
  • Decongestant (Sudafed); Cough expectorant (Robitussin); Cough suppressant (Robitussin DM) – For relief of cold & flu symptoms.
  • Antihistamine (Benadryl) – Great for treating seasonal allergies.
  • Cough drops/sore throat lozenges – Soothes irritated, scratchy throats.

Other important tools:

  • Tweezers – From removing ticks to removing splinters, tweezers are essential.
  • Thermometer – Your student might feel hot, but is it a fever? He or she won’t know without a thermometer. Get a regular oral digital thermometer, and make sure your teen knows how to use it.

Other things to remember:

  • Copies of your son/daughter’s insurance card.
  • Personal medical information should be included on a card in your student’s wallet and in the first aid kit:  blood type, allergies to medicine or food, physician’s name and office information, chronic medical conditions, medications taken on a regular basis, and emergency contact information.
  • If your son/daughter has a chronic medical condition (seizures, diabetes, etc), he or she should wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace.

Packing a few first aid essentials is a great idea for your student.  It’s also a reminder to always stay safe and a lesson in how to take care of problems independently while away from home.