Put hundreds of vibrant young things into one place for their first living away from home experience and we all know what to expect – because we went through it too! There are numerous hangovers to deal with, fresher’s flu, cold sores spread like wildfire, and there are the sprains, aches and pains (from sport for some and falling over on the way back from the bar for others). There are also numerous viruses that love to get a hold of those healthy young people- Epstein Barr the mononucleosis virus is a favorite. Then of course there are sexual health problems and exam nerves.
PatientQI talked to a group of therapists who are all parents of students living away from home and they gave us their expert opinions about what to put in the vital box.
Basic Health Treatments
Young adults generally have pretty good immune systems but burning the candle at both ends and exam stress takes its toll. Make sure they have some of the standard treatments and choose the ones that you use most at home. Do make up as comprehensive a kit as you can because they are highly unlikely to go and spend their limited student finances on the things themselves.
Re-hydration remedies such as dioralyte.
Standard painkillers plus herbals such as tiger balm.
Leave a note reminding them about bananas, honey and a big full high carb meal as well as getting out and doing some exercise in the fresh air!
Wasabi bath salts for a hot soak in a detox bath.
For Sprains, Aches and Pains
Arnica gel and other pain killing/deep heat gels are a must. PatientQI’s favorite is the Elemis instant refreshing gel which combines arnica with menthol, birch, witch hazel and camphor. Micro immunotherapy is also an excellent aid to reduce acute inflammation. Don’t forget to leave a note in there reminding them about ice and heat – Andy Murray wouldn’t be without his ice bath.
Occasional homesickness is natural and feeling a bit down every now and then for no apparent reason is normal, but depression in young adults is on the increase and a recent study suggested that 14% of college students experience depression. Our therapists’ advice was to include treatments in the kit but make sure you and they know how to read the signs that feeling a bit down might be changing into something more serious. St John’s Wort and Ginkgo Biloba are classic herbal treatments and it’s important that they are getting enough of the B vitamins. A few of the aromatherapy oils (geranium, lavender, angelica, chamomile, juniper, mint, rosemary) are worth including too if they are prone to the blues. Even better infuse the oils into massage oils.
Most of the parent therapists that we spoke to said that waking up their teenagers had been more of a problem than sleep but here are their suggestions. There are many over the counter treatments such as Kalms, and tea infusions that combine orange blossom, chamomile, melissa, and fennel. Also, relaxation tapes especially the ones that they would have heard at home can be beneficial. One therapist said she made a personalized hypnosis session and loaded it on to her daughter’s ipod!
Exam stress and panic
Some of the basics of mind body therapies are a must here. It’s worth telling them about these therapies even if you can’t teach them in time. Many of our therapists sent their young adults out into the world with the basics of Reiki, aromatherapy, and meditation techniques. Suggest they check out if there are Yoga classes on campus. The following links show how to self massage – well worth watching before they head off.
They should already have had these conversations way before they go off but there is no harm in filling all of the leftover available space in the box with condoms. At least it will amuse them.
Coughs, Colds, Sore Throats
Fresher’s flu is a reality. As many as 90% of students go down with sore throats, bad colds and flu like symptoms during the first few weeks of Uni. If you use it, include the oscillococcinum. Echinacea, propolis mouth sprays, micro immunotherapy are all good for immune boosting protection. Don’t forget to include the Vick’s vapor rub or equivalent and the Vitamin C cold treatments.
They should already have diarolyte for the hangovers! Leave a note in the box reminding them about BRAT (Bananas, Rice, Apple Sauce, Toast) or whatever your family equivalent is. Make sure they have a good broad spectrum probiotic supplement (with as long a sell by date as possible) to reestablish healthy gut flora.
Cuts, bites, stings, grazes, burns
Put in a good antiseptic/local anaesthetic cream. PatientQI’s favourite turned out to be germolene. The smell of it on its own was enough to make everyone feel looked after.
Some good multivitamin and minerals.
Bach flower Rescue Remedy!
If you use homeopathy make sure you include their constitutional remedy plus all of the usual first aid ones, many of the good homeopathy manufacturers do a first aid homeopathy kit which usually includes 200c potencies of Aconite, Arnica, Apis, Arsenicum, Belladonna, Bellis perennis, Bryonia, Calendula, Cantharis, Carbo veg, China, Gelsemium, Hypericum, Ignatia, Ipecac, Phosphorus,Pulsatilla, Silica.
If you use mainly herbal remedies, likewise, many suppliers will make up a treatment kit for you.
Microimmunotherapy is excellent both as a treatment and a preventative measure for winter viral infections. There are standard general immune boosters, and then there are specifics for Herpes and glandular fever viruses. If they are prone to cold sores make sure they have their preferred remedy in the kit.
A final word
The best remedies are those that you would give them if they were at home. Aside from the fact that they know how to use them and don’t have to start reading instructions (which they probably won’t do anyway) those remedies carry all the comfort of the family and home with the added bonus of believing in them!