NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- If you're a college student heading back to school in the next two or three weeks, don't leave without some good health tips. And if you're a mom or dad sending your child off to school, don't let them go until they've checked off a health care list that minimizes issues that might hit them during the school year. The advice comes from the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital's Teen and Young Adult Clinic, which is out with a list of key health tips for collegians heading back to campus. Sophia Yen, a clinical assistant professor of pediatrics at the Stanford School of Medicine and a member of the Packard teen health services clinic, says there are some health care dangers that await unwary collegians this fall. But a few preventive steps could minimize those dangers, she says.
Here's her checklist of "must have" health services for college students in 2013: Don't be late to vaccinate. Getting vaccinated is a big priority for college students this year, Yen says. "We urge all college students to get vaccinated against these diseases: tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis; meningitis; and human papilloma virus, which is the No. 1 sexually transmitted infection in the United States," she advises. "Even if a college student has only two sexual partners in his or her lifetime, they have a 70% or higher chance of contracting one of the four HPV strains if they haven't received the vaccine." Test for this STD. Another sexual disease to text for is chlamydia, Yen says. "In addition, all sexually experienced individuals under the age of 26 should get tested for chlamydia every year," she says. Yen adds that 80% of men and women who have this sexually transmitted infection didn't know they had the disease and didn't experience any symptoms. Turn off "e-devices." Yen says that college kids need a clean break from electronic devices every night. Their grades may suffer if they don't. "If students want an academic edge, I recommend that they create an 'electronic-free sleep oasis' from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. and turn off all cellphones, tablets and audio and video players," she says. "If a student thinks someone may potentially call them, they will not fall into a deep sleep, which can affect academic performance."
Adopt some party protection. Any experienced college student understands the realities of campus life -- especially the drinking and partying. Yen offers a few tips to mitigate any trouble from a bottle. "One, never accept an open drink; and two, always go to parties with a buddy -- that way, you can always look out for each other in case one of you is slipped a drugged drink or someone drinks too much," she says. Careful on contraception. The "hook-up" is another slice of college life reality, so contraception is key for sexually active students. "Sixty-three percent of high school seniors have had sex," Yen says. "I recommend both young men and women be aware of different types of emergency contraception and how they work," Yen says. "We also provide the latest information about the importance of safe sex and preventing STIs and unplanned pregnancies." Find that info here. College students and their families can't afford to take collegiate health care needs lightly. In this case, an ounce of prevention really does save a pound of cure.