College Tips and Resources
Gearing up for the new journey that college offers can be difficult enough, but for students with a chronic illness, the journey can be more challenging. Some students with eosinophil-associated diseases choose a school nearby so that they may continue to live at home while in college. Some choose online college courses, and yet others choose locations that require them to move and live on their own. The choice is personal, and may be driven by factors such as the severity of symptoms and dietary restrictions, or proximity to a health care provider in which they will have easy access.
Here are some tips for managing eosinophil-associated diseases in college, whether you live on-campus or not:
Selecting a School
- When choosing a college to attend, contact the school and/or visit to gather information about policies for students with disabilities and accommodations that you might need.
- If you have an EGID that is treated with dietary restrictions, find out what accommodations are available in dining services. Arrange a tour of thedining facilities and speak with the food service director. Ask how you will be able to determine the ingredients of food choices and how you may request substitutions. Be aware that some schools may have quick-service restaurants on campus, and those policies may differ from the school’s dining facility.
- Determine housing options. Will you live on campus? Offsite? If on campus, ask staff about options for preparing safe meals in your room (for example, areyou able to keep a mini fridge and microwave in your room?). Choose roommates wisely and set downg round rules early regarding food storage, prep, andclean up.
Considerations for Living on Your Own
- Consider medical care. Will you establish a new relationship with a doctor local to you, or will you continue to see your regular doctor when you return home to visit? Are there insurance considerations? For example, are only medical emergencies covered if you are out of state?
- How will prescriptions be handled? Will you need to have them transferred to a different pharmacy than what you use at home?
- If you are living on campus and having formula/supplies delivered, gather the information you may need to know about accepting deliveries in a timely manner.
- Keep lines of communication open with the campus medical center and keep your information up to date.
If you have a feeding tube:
- Take feedings into consideration with your class schedule and determine when you will be able to eat. Make sure to plan how much formula you will need for the amount of time you will be on campus, or away from your room.
- Consider what you will need to carry throughout the day: books, laptop, and medical supplies can quickly become cumbersome. An inexpensive luggage cart or extra roomy backpacks and messenger bags may help make transporting supplies easier.
- If your pump is loud and there are concerns about the noise level in testing environments, discuss options with the campus disability resource center.
- Know whom to call if there is a problem with your pump, or if it becomes dislodged.
- Research the local hospitals in the area in the event you have an emergency. Determine which facility would best be able to assist you with your issues by contacting them ahead of time.
- Before moving out on your own, sit down with your parents / caregivers and put together a comprehensive medical history, that lists your diagnosis, medications, pervious surgeries, allergies, and medical providers. This will assist you in the event you need emergency services and reduce any delays by waiting to get in touch with parents to obtain the correct info.
Additional APFED Resources
Answers from Experts Video Series with college student Dakota Brown
View the playlist to access these segments:
o University health services for EoE
o Dakota’s Diagnosis
o From high school and home to college and campus
o Friends, dating, and EoE
o EoE at College
Answers from Experts with William McDonald, Dean of Students, University of Georgia
View the playlist to access these segments:
o Resources for adjusting to college life with a chronic disease
o Special needs to consider and where to find resources for students on campus
o Getting involved with student organizations on campus
o Finding resources off campus and creating an emergency health plan
o Connecting with faculty mentors and student advocacy groups
o Resources for adjust to college life with a chronic disease
We Connect Now: This website was created to serve college students with disabilities by providing a virtual community.
Food Allergy Training Guide for College and University Food Services: This program provides tools and information to train food service staff to safely prepare and serve food to students with food allergies.