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  • Writer's pictureDr. Sherry Barnett

Medicine Care Package for College Kids

As teens head off to college and start gathering items for their dorm rooms, there are medicines to consider sending them off with. For most teens this is likely the first time they will get colds and flu illnesses without you there to take care of them. So, while you’re getting them outfitted for their move, let me suggest some basic OTC medications and supplies to have on hand. For the cough and cold medications, it may help to put a sticky note on the package to help them know what symptom to take each medication for, like Sudafed for congestion, Ibuprofen for sore throat, headache, fever. I suggest you keep a list of what you have sent and that way if they call you to ask what to do, you can tell them exactly what medication to take.


Triple antibiotic ointment

1% Hydrocortisone cream

Digital Thermometer – a fever with a sore throat would be a reason to go to Student Health

Ibuprofen 200 mg (for pain, headache, fever, sore throat, ear pain)

Benadryl 25mg (for hives or seasonal allergies to take at bedtime)

Sudafed 30mg (4 hour) or 120mg (12 hour) tablets- be sure to get Pseudoephedrine behind the counter and not the Sudafed PE (Phenylephrine) on the shelf (for congestion)

Dayquil/Nyquil tablets (for common cold symptoms, contains multiple ingredients)

Robitussin DM or Delsym (for cough)

Afrin- be sure to tell your teen or write a note across the box not to take this for more than 3 days or your nose gets addicted to it. It works great for nighttime congestion during a cold.

Allergy meds:

OTC non-sedating antihistamine like Claritin, Zyrtec, Allegra or Xyzal (generic is fine)

Flonase, Nasacort, Flonase Sensimist or generic equivalent- these need to be taken daily to help with allergies but can be started at the first sign of a cold if your teen is prone to sinusitis. They help with congestion, runny nose and post nasal drip whereas antihistamines only help with itchy/sneezy symptoms.

Allergy eye drops like Zaditor or Alaway if your teen has issues in the spring/fall seasons

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