As you stare down your freshman year of college and contemplate living away from home, you’re probably facing a few “firsts”: First roommate who isn’t a sibling; first time fending for yourself to make sure you’re eating properly; and if you have nasal allergies, food allergies or asthma, this could be the first time you’re in charge of keeping your symptoms under control.
Your health, particularly regarding allergic diseases, shouldn’t be among the last things you prepare for as you make plans to leave home for college. There are many details to handle before you depart, so start planning now for your allergy and asthma care.
Some of the things you’ll need to consider as you plan for your first year away include:
What will healthcare visits look like?
If you have an allergist you’ve been seeing for years, you’ll have to consider whom you’ll consult while away. Ask your allergist for a recommendation or contact the health care service at your school to find out if they have an allergist you can work with.
The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology has an allergist locator that can help you in your search to find an allergist in your new town.
What other health factors will change?
Will your prescriptions need to be transferred to a new pharmacy? Are your prescriptions up to date? Will you be in a different climate that could possibly affect your symptoms? Do some research to find out which local grasses and pollens you might encounter.
If you suffer from severe allergies that can cause anaphylaxis, find out where the nearest hospital is and make sure you’ll be able to get there in case of emergency.
Make sure you have your own insurance card, and know how you’ll be paying for visits surrounding your allergies or asthma. You’ll also want to make sure that you have at least one EpiPen in case of emergency.
While dorm food has improved, food choices must be safe
If you have food allergies, no matter how good (or bad) the food at school may be, you can’t consume it if it