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The Essential Off-to-College Wellness Packing Guide


By Julie Andrews

It’s the moment you never thought would come: Your baby’s off to college this fall. Gather everything they need now to help them cope when they’re not feeling well – for whatever reason. Whether you send them off with these items or mail it to them as a care package, this list of must-haves will give them a soothing touch of home when you can’t be there.

college wellness packing list

Vitamins: With Mom not there reminding him to eat his leafy greens, their newfound freedom may lead to a diet of tacos, pizza and cheesesteaks. Help them keep their nutrition on track by packing an ample supply of daily vitamins.

Digital Thermometer: It can be tough for not-so-little ones to know if they’re just a little under the weather, or if they actually have a fever. Having a thermometer on hand will make it easy for them to assess themselves. They’ll thank you later. Maybe.

Heating Pad: Whether it’s menstrual cramps or chills from a bad case of the flu, heating pads can help provide comfort and warmth when they’re stuck in bed and miserable.

Cough & Cold Meds: Don’t leave it to your college kid to have the wherewithal to actually go to the drugstore to pick up cough meds at first sign they’re coming down with something. Send them off with tools to help bring them relief. Remind them to always read and follow the label before taking.

TYLENOL® Cold + Flu Severe caplets relieve painful cold and flu symptoms like coughing, congestion and sore throat.

Cough Drops: No one wants to be that kid that can’t stop coughing in class. Spare your child the annoying glares by stocking them up on embarrassment savers, aka cough drops.

Chicken Noodle Soup: From frozen homemade soup from your favorite local deli to a stash of cans from the grocer, this soothing elixir is an instant reminder of home sweet home. Added bonus: soup couldn’t be easier to “cook”: place in bowl; place in microwave; press “Start.”

Eye Mask: For so many reasons, sometimes it will be best for them to pretend they don’t have a roommate – having an eye mask makes that easier than it sounds.

Allergy Meds: Pollen, dust mites, mold — whatever triggers your child’s allergies, help them be ready to combat the red, itchy eyes and incessant sneezing by stocking them with allergy meds.

ZYRTEC® Tablets temporarily relieve these symptoms due to hay fever or other upper respiratory allergies: runny nose, sneezing, itchy/water eyes and itching of the nose or throat.

Ear Plugs: Save them the frustration of not being able to sleep the night before a midterm because of the bass thumping upstairs.

Mouth Wash: Everyone loves a minty-fresh mouth, and you want everyone to love your baby. All they need to do is swish, swish, gargle, spit.

Tooth Brush + Floss: Stock your student up with a supply of teeth cleaners. That way they can grab and go on their way out the door.

Deodorant: Spare them the financial torture of choosing between melty cheese pizza and new deodorant by sending them off with a supply of the latter. Because we know what they’d probably choose if they can only pick one.

Headache Meds: Whatever their cause (and you may not want to know), reliable pain relievers to help them get over headaches are a must. Again, remind them to read and follow the product labels for these medicines.

Relieve tough pain and reduce fevers with MOTRIN® IB, which has ibuprofen to help provide powerful pain relief.

Bandages: Cuts and scrapes happen. Send them off with bandages of all sizes and styles, from cloth wrap-around patches to stick-on bandages. And because you’re not concerned about being cool, stick a box of cartoon-character stick-on bandages in their package for good measure. If nothing else, it’ll make them smile.

Wound Ointment: It’s hard to keep cuts and scrapes clean, so help your college kid avoid infections by giving them an antibiotic ointment to apply to cuts and scrapes.

In collaboration with National 4-H Council. Visit for more tips, ideas and activities for the entire family.

©Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. 2019