20 Things You Should Pack to Help Ensure You Stay Safe and Healthy on Campus


Low angle view of two beautiful Taiwanese women packing luggage and looking at clothes inside of bag

Packing for college can be an overwhelming process, and although you can purchase a majority of your dorm essentials during that first week, there are some items — yes, including medicines and first-aid supplies — that should be picked up and stowed away prior to drop-off day.

If your parent or guardian is anything like mine, they probably have several college packing lists going already. For me, first-aid supplies were never much of a priority. I was more concerned about my bedding and hanging twinkling lights than stocking up on Band-Aids or checking to see if the bottle of hydrogen peroxide had expired. But the first time I woke up with a hangover, I was grateful that my mom had made sure I packed ibuprofen. Likewise with the allergy pills she snuck into my first-aid kit, because she knew my sinuses would go crazy when the seasons changed. She may have been thousands of miles away, but she knew exactly what I needed.

Even though I definitely didn’t need the five bags of cotton balls that were stashed in my luggage, I was prepared for any sickness or minor injury that came my way. Yes, picking out your dorm decor is fun and exciting, but preparing a first-aid kit is a crucial task you should check off your list before stepping on campus. Here’s a comprehensive list of medicines and supplies to help get you started:

  • Reusable cloth face masks
  • Disposable face masks
  • Thermometer
  • Allergy medicine
  • Cold and flu medicine
  • Cough drops
  • Acetaminophen
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen
  • Band-Aids in several sizes
  • Sterile gauze pads in several sizes
  • Cottons balls
  • Disposable sterile gloves
  • Hydrogen peroxide (for cleaning scrapes and cuts)
  • Alcohol-free cleansing wipes
  • Itch-relieving cream
  • Antibiotic ointment, such as Neosporin
  • Disposable instant hot and cold packs
  • Tweezers
  • Nail clippers
  • Scissors

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