Backpack, check. New bedsheets, check. Favorite hoody, check.

With college right around the corner, students have spent plenty of time gathering their accessories, wardrobes and dorm décor. But they should be thinking about packing today’s must-have wellness items.

That’s right—safety’s not just a parent’s concern anymore. Growing up means taking responsibility for your health, from buying essential items to personally dealing with issues when they pop up. When the time comes, you’ll need to have the right items available to both protect yourself and heal up quickly. Don’t miss these top five must-pack items for surviving and thriving at college. Teladoc is here to help.

1. Essentials medication kit

The first thing you should pack is an essentials medication kit so you’re ready for any illness or ailment that comes your way. To relieve pain and reduce a fever, include acetaminophen (like Tylenol) and ibuprofen (like Advil or Motrin). For allergies, pack an antihistamine (like Benadryl), as well as any personal prescription medications. It’s best to get those squared away before you leave for college; Teladoc can help with that. Have cough and cold medication on hand for symptom relief. The spread of viruses will ramp up in the fall and wintertime!

Due to the shift in diet that’s inevitable, pack antacids, anti-diarrhea and laxative medications, taking a daily multivitamin in case your diet lacks anything. Don’t forget that your skin sometimes requires medication, too. Have aloe vera, hydrocortisone cream, antibiotic ointment, calamine lotion and petroleum jelly in your kit, as well as eyedrops. Pack sunscreen and other sun-protection items if you’ll be outdoors. Know where the closest pharmacy is located and how you’d get there if you—or a friend—needs anything else.

2. First aid and emergency supplies

Beyond medications, you also want to have health and wellness items available for illnesses or injuries. Be sure to buy a digital thermometer so you can take your temperature when sick. Pack various sizes of bandages for cuts, scrapes and blisters, or gauze and medical tape for more serious wounds. Since ice is not always readily available, buy a cold pack to reduce swelling after an injury. Also keep tweezers and an eyeglass repair kit on hand.

In case of an emergency, pack a flashlight with plenty of extra batteries as well as an extra blanket. Make copies of your medical forms, insurance card and driver’s license in case any of them are lost, stolen or separated from you. Remember what Benjamin Franklin said: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

3. Disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer

To control the spread of COVID-19 and the flu as you head off to college, don’t forget to pack the cleaning supplies (along with some diligence). Good practices like wearing masks and staying home when sick helps control person-to-person spread of illness, but hygiene also plays a huge role. Wash and sanitize hands frequently, especially before eating and after touching surfaces in any high-traffic areas.

Those surfaces are targets for virus-laden droplets after people cough, sneeze or even talk. If the invisible live virus is sitting on an object you come in contact with, you can pick up the illness after simply touching your eyes, nose or mouth. We’re looking at you, desks, doorknobs, phones, keyboards, faucet handles, countertops and light switches! Use those disinfectant wipes—and bring some along to academic buildings—to wipe surfaces clean, especially in your dorm room and shared bathrooms. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to stave off viruses and stay healthy this back-to-school season.

4. Shower shoes

In the comfort of your own bathroom at home, it’s hard to imagine showering in shoes! But athlete’s foot, the most common fungal infection, is common on college campuses where barefoot students mingle in bathrooms and locker rooms. The fungus thrives in wet areas and can even spread to towels, clothing and other body parts, leading to a scaly, red, itchy rash.

Teladoc dermatologists recommend wearing flip-flops or sandals in communal areas—especially moist ones. Pick up a pair of shower shoes that are made of a quick-dry material, and clean the shoes regularly to stay fungal infection-free.

5. The Teladoc app

Finally, the easiest thing on your packing list: The Teladoc app. Simply download it today and get connected virtually to our U.S. board-certified physicians and specialists who can treat you effectively no matter where you are. With the app, you have instant access to top-notch doctor care 24/7. For non-emergency illnesses and ailments, we can resolve your issues quickly and affordably—at school, on break, while traveling.

It’s time to get packing for your college adventure! A safe, healthy, happy semester awaits, and we’ll be right by your side when you need us.

This portion of the Teladoc website occasionally offers health, fitness and nutritional information and is provided for educational purposes only. You cannot rely on any information provided here as a substitute for or replacement of professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Teladoc cannot assure that the information contained on this site always includes the most recent findings or developments with respect to the particular subject matter covered.

If you ever have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional. Do not disregard, avoid or delay obtaining medical or health-related advice from your healthcare professional because of something you may have read on this site. The use of any information provided on this site is solely at your own risk.

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