How to Help Your Sick College Student

sick college student

It’s getting a little chillier outside. All of those happy, excited college freshmen who moved into their new residence halls a month ago are now getting the scope of what college is really like. They’re tired, their immunities haven’t been around all these new people before, and they’re getting run down. You’re about to have a sick college student!

A parent getting that phone call or text from their student, far from home, will immediately get worried. How can you help them get better remotely? They’re your baby!

We’re here to let you know, they’re going to be ok.

Start With Student Health

Remember that list of fees and charges at the beginning of the semester? On there was one for student health. Use it! If your student is feeling run down, tell them to head to student health, either online or in person. The health professionals in that office are well aware of what is going on on campus viral-wise. Some student health clinics offer a walk-in-and-grab-and-go situation where students can get some quick advice and some over-the-counter medication.

If they think something more going on, they can make appointments to be seen by the health service. Most campuses have an online scheduler, and usually, students can be seen the same day. Again, these pros know what illnesses are going around and they want to get you in, and out, ASAP!

Also… remind them to get their flu shot scheduled too!

Care Packages

Sometimes, a care package makes both of you feel better. If you’re crunched for time, Amazon and care package companies can help you out.*

Besides the fun stuff, Amazon or online pharmacies like CVS or Rite-Aid will also ship products directly to your student. Don’t forget the antibacterial wipes for their dorm sinks and extra packs of Kleenex for their backpacks!


Really can’t get out of bed? An online telemedicine service could be good for the sick college student. These affordable, super accessible services may be a good resource when they’re just dreading leaving the dorm room, and their bed. You can talk to a doctor immediately, even while laying down. Two well-known online services areLiveHealth Online and Teladoc. We also recommend contacting your insurance provider to find out about covered telehealth services.

Where Does FERPA Come In?

Your sick college student may or may not have signed the FERPA giving you access to their college records. FERPA also covers their privacy concerns surrounding health issues. That means you can’t schedule their appointments for them and you also can’t call the Health Services to find out what they’ve been diagnosed with (or not). If your student did sign the FERPA, please, still, don’t do these things for your student. Even with the sniffles or a fever, they’ll figure out how to navigate these tricky waters.


In the end, they will survive. Colds and other viruses can be brutal, and they’re probably finding some fun new strains at college. Remind them to wash their hands often, get plenty of sleep, and find a friend or two in class if they do end up missing a day. And you will survive too, parents!

*Smart College Visit is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

CampusChat keeps parents, students, educators and counselors informed of college news, tips, and resources -- all delivered directly to your inbox.

Your contact info will not be shared without your permission. We don't like spam and assume you don't either.

You have Successfully Subscribed!