Vicodin, not what you want your child taking for a sore throat, but that's what the health office at my daughter's college gave her. Luckily, she called home and managed what turned out to be mono with rest, fluids and the Ibuprofen ( Advil ) we had packed in her Olden's Care Kit.
A trip to the health office is never a bad idea. But for the common cold, stomach flu, mild pain, scrapes, rashes and even hangovers a few over the counter items can let your student stay in bed and rest ( which is usually the best medicine ). So grab a medium sized plastic tote, a black marker pen, and head to Olden's for the Back to School basics
Multivitamins: Any store brand is fine. Suggest they put the bottle right next to their toothbrush, so they will remember to take one tablet every day. Use your black marker to write DAILY on the bottle.
Pain Relievers: Must haves. Acetaminophen (Tylenol ) and Ibuprofen ( Advil ) are both necessary. Why both? acetaminophen relieves pain and fevers, but if the fever or pain is persistent you can reach the maximum daily dose of 3000mg quickly. Ibuprofen relieves pain, fever AND inflammation, but needs to be taken with food which is sometimes difficult. The best remedy is to alternate the two pain relievers. Start with 650mg of acetaminophen for mild pain, fever over 101 degrees (seek medical help @103 degrees ). If no relief, take 400mg of Ibuprofen 4-6 hours after the first acetaminophen dose and continue to alternate doses. Mark bottles Pain 1 and Pain 2 and add "with Food" to the Ibuprofen.
Decongestant: Daytime use only. Psuedoephedrine ( Sudafed ) behind the RX counter works better the PSE versions. Decongestents act on the nasal passages to narrow blood vessels that are causing nasal congestion. Avoid the long-acting formulas because decongestents are also stimulents, can cause agitation, sleeplessness and dryness of the mouth and nasal passages. Avoid taking after dinner and increase fluid intake to combat dryness and keep mucus thin. Mark box. Stuffy nose, colds, Daytime ONLY- drink extra fluids
Antihistamines: Use for allergy season or at the first signs of a cold (sneezing, runny eyes and nose) Loratadine (Claritin) or Cetrizine (Zyrtec) . Avoid Benadryl (diphenhydramine), it works great, but knocks you out. Mark boxes Allergy- Runny-nose, Sneezing.
Anti-diarrheals. The best medicine for an upset stomach is BRAT, banannas, rice, applesauce, toast along with fluids. If that doesn't work and they have to get to class, Imodium works well. Mark the box. For Diarrhea, eat lightly, drink plenty of fluids.
First aid: Two topical meds need to be included. Antiobiotic Ointment and Hydrocortisone Cream. Use the antibiotic any time the skin is broken, cuts, scrapes, infected pimples etc. Use the Hydrocortisone whenever the skin itches, rashes, bites, dermatitis. Mark this box, For Itchy Skin, Rashes, Bites. Mark the Antibiotic ointment Cuts, Scrapes, Sore Skin( bumps or pimples). Add instant ice packs, a thermometer, band-aids and your done.
By marking the boxes, you minimiize the "what do I take" confusion. How much to take and any cautions are cleary described on each product. By following the package instructions and your handwritten notes your freshman can treat some of life's most common ailments sucessfully.
Don't hesitate to put Olden's phone number 781-337-0187 on the outside of the tote, if they need additional advise we are happliy here for them. Paul, Bill and I have successfully sent sent 7 freshman off to college, and we sort of miss the phone calls!