College-Bound? It’s Time to Get Your Shots and Have ‘The Talk’

Immunization record? Check. Meningitis and flu shots? Check. But did you have that talk about sex, drugs and alcohol?

Going to college is a big step into the adult world — but it’s also the first exposure to the germs that come with living in close quarters, as well as the social temptations that come with it.

Keeping healthy during the college years can be a challenge.

“The great thing about college is that it happens during adolescence,” said Dr. Lonna Gordon, a specialist at Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center in New York City. “It’s a time for exploration and learning about new things…but that can pose some health risks and harm, if you are not careful.”

‘What if I am sick, who will take care of me?’

Ingrid Rizo, a single mom from Roxborough, Colorado, says she thinks she has “things covered” as she prepares to send her daughter Lina off to the University of Missouri to study journalism in the fall.

This week they have been “scurrying around” making sure all her immunizations are current.

Rizo has also had conversations with Lina about substance abuse, pregnancy risk and STDs. “Before she leaves, I’ll probably buy a box of condoms and make sure to replace them when she is back for Christmas,” she said. “But I don’t want to know if they’ve been used!”

Rizo still worries.

“I’m torn between my pride in her and my desperate sadness about moving her to 10 hours away,” Rizo, 48, told NBC News.

“I was always a little bit uncomfortable about her going so far away,” she said. “One day she said to me, ‘what if I am sick, who will take care of me?’”

Ingrid Rizo and her college-bound daughter Lina Krueck at high school graduation in Colorado.