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Being sick in college...

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Does anybody else's kid who is now in college and living in a dorm get sick frequently?

Ds is a freshman and every few weeks he is sick. Now his poor roommate has the flu, and ds is sick again and hoping it won't turn into this flu.

I know kids in dorms tend to get sick more often because there are so many people living in close quarters, but I didn't think it would be so frequent.

He even went from NY to VA, where it is warmer and there is much more sunshine!

Does it get better as time goes on, or are college kids sick all the time all four years?




Sabrina in NY

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When I started grad school (first time away from home since I did my undergrad at a commuter school!) I was sick for about the whole first year. They said it was very common when moving to a new crop of germs to be hit with every. single. one. of. them. That was 1994-95, and I've been fine ever since, even the years I worked in doctors offices and hospitals! :)


So here's hoping he's approaching the end of the run of new germs and will do fine from here on out!!

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Oh my - I was so sick my freshman year. I caught every single thing going around. The school I was attending was largely funded by the Robbins family (the makers of Robitussin). No matter what you had, the nurse's office would give you a big bag of Robitussin samples. At the time, I had no clue Robitussin had alcohol in it. During my freshman finals, I had to go to my religion professor and explain that I'd slurped down five mini bottles of the Robitussin in the past 2 hours and was in no shape to take a final (not that he couldn't figure that out for himself, I'm sure). He was very nice about it, lol. He even found someone to help me back to my dorm.


But, after that first year, I rarely caught anything beyond a cold. Tell your ds to beware of cough medicine and I hope this first year is the worst and last of it.

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Not to state the obvious, but have you and he had some candid conversations about how his eating and sleeping habits will impact his immune system's ability to fight off all this nastiness? Yes, the close quarters and kids coming together from many different places (bringing all sorts of viruses together) are a big deal, but freshman in college are also often poor eaters and even poorer sleepers.


While most school cafeterias these days do a pretty good job of making sure that fresh fruits and veggies are available to their students, it's up to the kids to select those (over more immediately appealing or quicker options). It might help to talk to him about the selections he's making (they're probably poorer than he imagines they are, even if he's "trying" -- see if you can convince him to eat a salad, 2+ green vegetables, 2+ fresh fruits each day), and how those really can impact his body's ability to keep him well.


And sleep too. Students stay up to all hours -- and not just because they're partying or anything like that -- they stay up talking, they stay up studying, they stay up just because... A regular bedtime and wake time will give him a stronger immune system.


And, of course, a good multivitamin is probably a good idea. Some people recommend taking echinacea and astralagus (a couple of weeks on one, a couple of weeks on another) as immune boosters.


I sure hope he doesn't get as sick as his roommate. I'm still fighting the worst cold (I'm assuming it's not flu because there hasn't been a day when I absolutely *couldn't* stand up...) I've had in years, sigh... Obviously it's not possible to avoid illness all together -- but perhaps he can take some steps to help keep himself as well as possible...

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That's just it, though. Although ds definitely goes to bed later than he did at home, he and his roommates are the only ones in their hall who go to bed before midnight!

He also takes a good multi and Vit. C every day. He usually has a salad every day, but I don't know if he eats other veggies and fruit. Probably not enough.

He really does not eat much junk. He doesn't like junk food much.


Well, hopefully, like the others said, next year will be better!


Thank you so much for your thoughtful post!



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