Book Review – The Ultimate College Student Health Handbook

From time to time, we like to review some of the books available for parents of college students.  There is a wealth of literature available to help parents cope with the transition to college and the changes that occur throughout the college years.  We’ve offered some lists of recommended reading, and there is something for everyone. Visit our Resources page for suggestions of important books for college parents and their students.

The Ultimate College Student Health Handbook is the reference book you want to send with your student to college, and it is one which they will use often. Author Dr. Jill Grimes moves from head (hangovers and headaches) through the brain (anxiety and alcohol poisoning) on to eyes, ears, neck and on to chest, stomach (food poisoning, and constipation) to back, extremities, and skin (burns, bites, stings and tattoos). In other words, this is a head-to-toe compilation of the questions that students will face about their health and potential injuries.

The Ultimate College Student Health Handbook is not only a helpful resource, it is approachable rather than overwhelming, and written in a way that students will read it. Most items begin with a “what if” that describes the problem, followed by “what most likely happened” and then a clear explanation in “what’s going on?” Only then is there a description of potential “treatment” and a suggestion of “when to head to your doctor.” Finally, a “worst case scenario” and tips for preventing the problem.

This book isn’t meant to be read cover-to-cover, but students who look up an issue will likely find themselves looking at several items.  As they do, the “prevention” sections may prove especially helpful.

Parents should definitely consider this book for their students heading off to college – and may want to review a few items before they give it away. It’s a clear, helpful reference for everyone.

About the author

Jill Grimes, MD, FAAFP, is a nationally recognized medical media expert, award-winning author, and mom of two collegiate daughters. After two decades of private practice, Dr. Grimes now works part-time at the University of Texas at Austin. She also enjoys speaking at American Academic of Family Physicians, Pri-Med and Harvard Medical School conferences.

Dr. Grimes enjoys a special bond with her patients because they are the same age as her daughters, who are a thousand miles away in different directions for their own collegiate adventures. Being immersed in the fabulous spirit and traditions of the University of Texas at Austin continues to energize and inspire Dr. Grimes on a daily basis.

As a proud Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians, her practical and evidence-based advice covers all ages, genders and body parts. Dr. Grimes enjoys educating in and out of her exam rooms. She shares her message across all media platforms.

Don’t miss our full podcast interview with Dr. Jill Grimes. 

What the author has to say about the book

“What are students worried about? Everything! New-found anxiety over tests, public speaking, or common bathrooms; heartburn or emotional heartache; sprained ankles or painful knees; road rash or concussions; first-time stomach flu away from home; incapacitating migraines; or even first-semester FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)-induced homesickness. By goal is to offer a quick reference guide beyond “Dr. Google” for both the students themselves and their concerned parents, who might be unsure how to answer that late-night text.

Which topics are included? Medicine is not so simple that I can cover every possible college-aged health issue, so I primarily chose the most common complaints. A few topics are included, however, because students don’t know what they don’t know . . . like that chest pain without an injury could be a partially collapsed lung or a blood clot. Most topics begin with the universal stories that students share about “what probably happened,” but a few subjects jump directly to my standard exam-room conversations.

Parents, what can I say? This is definitely not bubble wrap, but I hope sending this book (along with the suggested DIY first aid kit) off to college with your student gives you some sense of reassurance that your awesome daughter or son has a trustworthy starting point when they are injured, ill, or anxious. We see your kids at their most exhausted, most frustrated, sickest worst, yet I’m here to tell you that they are consistently respectful, polite, and far more “adult” than you would imagine, even when they are scared or hurting. So, congrats to you, too, because you’ve done a great job raising them, and they are ready for this next step!

This book is not meant to be a substitute for medical care, and treatment should not be based solely on these recommendations because each person has a unique medical history, including medication allergies, prior surgeries, and chronic illnesses such as diabetes or asthma, etc. This book was written to help college students understand more about different physical and emotional symptoms (and what ailments those symptoms might suggest) as well as to learn what to expect during an evaluation from a medical professional. The information provided does not constitute a doctor-patient relationship between the author and the reader.”

What others have to say about the book

“Over the years, I have learned that the typical college student with a health concern will generally consult their roommate or Dr. Google in lieu of seeking help from an actual physician. Not only does Dr. Grimes give expert advice of what to do about common college ailments, but even more important, she is clear about when getting medical attention is not optional.  The Ultimate College Student Health Handbook is the next best thing to having your own family doctor as your college student’s roommate. Other than paying tuition, this is the most valuable gift you can give a student.”

Lauren Streicher, MD

Clinical Professor of OB-Gyn, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL

“As a pediatrician and child health expert, parents look to me for trusted advice. I wholeheartedly recommend The Ultimate College Student Health Handbook, an accurate, practical guide that will help your kids deal with unexpected illnesses, injuries, and anxieties (and will give you answers for their late-night texts). Definitely my new go-to high school graduation gift!”

Tanya Remer Altmann, MD

Bestselling author and parenting expert

“This is an essential guide to health and wellness when you head off to college . . . and your mom can’t be there to hold your hand and take care of you.”

Ari Brown, MD, FAAP

Bestselling author of Baby 411 series

“Every college freshman needs a copy of The Ultimate College Student Health Handbook! This book addresses the most common medical issues encountered in the college years and teaches your student how to handle them like a champ . . . without having to call Mom or Dad for advice.”

Gretchen LaSalle, MD

MultiCare Rockwood Clinic Family Medicine


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: