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College-bound: Preparing to Take your Diabetes Away From Home

Preparing to go away to college can be hard enough, but moving away to college with diabetes can be an extra burden.  It’s important to realize that although you’ll be on your own, you still need safety nets in place.  “Diabetes is not a ‘do it yourself’ disease at any age,” says Lori Laffel, M.D., Joslin’s Chief of the Pediatric, Adolescent and Young Adult Section.

Plan Diabetes Care Ahead

It’s important to begin preparations for your diabetes care ahead of time in order to make the transition into college as smooth as possible.  College in itself is a big change, so it’s a good idea to keep the same health care team, Dr. Laffel says. You should also establish relationships with student health services and even a local provider, if you feel it necessary.

Diabetes Supplies

Make sure you have enough diabetes supplies ordered in advance to last you for one to three months.  You may also want to consider having a local back-up pharmacy, in case you inadvertently begin running out.  In addition, it’s important to have an extra blood glucose meter and set of batteries, and glucagon kit.

People to Inform About Your Diabetes

There are a number of people who should know about your diabetes, such as:

  • Your roommate(s)
  • Resident Assistant
  • Student health services

Give them a brief overview of what diabetes is and let them know the types of supplies you will be storing in your room.  Informing them about the symptoms of low blood glucose and how to use a glucagon kit are also extremely important, so they can help if you’re experiencing a severe hypoglycemic reaction.

Making the right preparations for diabetes management in college will not only ensure a smooth transition, but will also make it easier to live life like any other college student.

Page last updated: April 18, 2014