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Episode 4 - Chronic Illness and the 3 things you have to do

Feb 10, 2020



If you have a student with a chronic illness these are the three things you have to do before dropping them off freshman year.

Three things to do before dropping off your student with a chronic illness.


1. Find a local healthcare provider

  • Start with a referral from your current doctor. It’s always best to get a recommendation from them to help streamline care with the doctor on or near campus.
  • Connect with parents of older students, a Parent Group from the university or local parent group unaffiliated with the university for recommendations.

2. Contact the disability center on campus

  • Determine steps necessary to receive accommodations
  • Work with doctor to determine what accommodations are appropriate
  • Educate your student how to advocate for themselves
  • to ensure accommodations are met
  • To learn how to comfortably discuss their illness with faculty and advisors

3. Plan ahead

  • Notify housing for illness that require consideration
  • asthma/allergies
  • Food sensitivities
  • Illness that may come with intimate treatment in dorm that some roommates may find uncomfortable
    • Crohns
    • Diabetes
    • Breathing treatments/noisy nebulizers/air cleaners
  • Share illness with advisor, roommate, RA, and faculty
  • Carry insurance card
  • Carry emergency contact information on person in or phone
  • Know how and where to go for treatment
  • Review your health insurance
    • Know who your providers are near campus
    • Know what urgent care, emergency room and hospital are covered
  • Consult with Financial Aid
    • Is your aid in jeopardy if you miss xxx number of classes?
    • Does an incomplete to finish work after the term affect your aid?

Diabetes tips

  • Taking a break during a long lecture to test blood sugar levels
  • Bring a box of juice or a small snack in class to treat low blood sugar
  • The ability to reschedule an exam if experiencing low or high blood sugar levels
  • The option to schedule classes in such a way that a regular meal schedule is maintained
  • Being allowed to make up work after an absence for a diabetes-related issue
  • Being allowed to use an insulin pump, even in a classroom setting where “no technology” is allowed (such as during a test)
  • Taking a break during a class in order to inject with insulin or take other medications as needed
  • Understand how drugs and alcohol affect diabetes


  • Routine
  • Eating well, sleeping well, exercise
  • Therapy
  • Avoid or limit alcohol and drug use
  • Practice mindfulness
  • Have a support system


  • Know your triggers
  • Stress
  • Change in sleep or irregular sleep schedule
  • Hormones (menstrual cycle)
  • Caffeine and alcohol
  • Weather (excessive heat, storms, changes in barometric pressure)
  • Some foods (chocolate, cheese and other dairy, artificial sweeteners, cured meats)
  • Dehydration
  • Lights
  • Some scents (perfumes, candles strong smelling foods, fumes from chemicals)
  • Medications
  • Smoke
  • Screen time (consider special glasses)

Keep a migraine diary to learn the triggers.

Create a plan to take action once a migraine happens. Because you can’t plan for when a migraine will happen, it’s critical to stay on top of all readings, homework and assignments.

Auto-Immune disease

As a chronic illness that is not clearly visible, you must learn how to advocate for yourself.

Learn how to share appropriately with faculty. The earlier they know, the better prepared you can collectively handle changes to meet course objectives.

Ensure the college choice offers alternatives and choices in the dining courts to meet the auto-immune disease.


  • Know medication
  • Know where and how to refill
  • Know who and how to schedule a visit with dr

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