How to Maintain Good Health During Your College Years
With all that college has to offer — education, parties, sports, dorm life, and new friendships and relationships — there is much to be excited about. Still, college students and those preparing to leave for college should have a good understanding of what health risks they may face in this new stage of life and, more importantly, how to protect themselves and those around them from these risks. At Health Services of North Texas (HSNT), our caring teams in Denton, Wylie, and Plano, TX provide a complete suite of health and wellness services that can give you and your college-aged student the peace of mind and empowerment to take charge of their health while enjoying all the excitement of university life.
What health risks should I know about before going to college?
College health concerns can vary significantly based on the living situation, the student’s extracurricular activities and lifestyle in general, and various aspects of the college itself — like where it is located and what its on-campus health and wellness policies are. Generally speaking, many college students face an increased risk of the following as they head off to school:
- Sexually transmitted infections or diseases (STIs and STDs)
- Unplanned pregnancy
- Substance abuse
- Weight gain/obesity or eating disorder
- Depression or anxiety
Tips for protecting your health while at college
Try not to let the added health risks overshadow all the benefits of going to college, but do be aware of the risks and how you can minimize them. Some essential things you can do to safeguard yourself from common college health risks include:
- Sexual health maintenance and preventatives: This may include strategies like wearing condoms, limiting your number of sexual partners, and getting the HPV vaccination to reduce the risk of STI, STD, HIV, and other conditions,
- Contraceptives: Condoms, oral birth control, and other contraception options are available to help reduce the risk of unplanned pregnancy in patients who are not ready or interested in having children.
- Immunizations: There are several immunizations that can help to protect from various illnesses and infections, including the meningococcal vaccination for meningitis and the HPV vaccine.
- PrEP: For students engaging in high-risk sexual activity (men sleeping with men, high number of sexual partners, commercial sex work, etc.) or for students who have shared drug-injecting materials, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a daily oral medication that can help to prevent infection with HIV.
- COVID awareness: Living in close quarters and interacting with many different students can elevate your risk of close-contact illnesses like COVID, but practicing proper hygiene and safety habits can help.
If you are already at university, preparing for college, or are the parent of a college-aged student who has concerns or questions about staying healthy on campus, we are here to help.
Balance fun with knowledge as you head off to college
With the fall semester right around the corner, you may be starting to think about all the fun and excitement that your next college year will bring — but don’t forget to continue your healthy habits, attend regular doctor visits, and take advantage of specific wellness treatments and services that can protect you during these all-important years. For more information on college immunizations, sexual health treatments for young adults, and our other services that can keep you or your college student safer, contact Health Services of North Texas in Denton, Plano, or Wylie, TX today. To schedule an appointment with Health Services of North Texas, click here.