Pandemic POWERED: 5 Reasons The Class of 2021 Will Thrive in College

For better or for worse, the 2020/2021 school year is wrapping up. Would you believe our local high school graduation last week featured a failing sound system followed by total power loss, plunging the entire celebration into darkness? Seriously! BUT- everyone whipped out their cell phones and lit up the place like a concert, and the ceremony went on. Experiences like this beautifully reinforce what we believe to be a major silver lining to the pandemic: these graduating seniors may be the best prepared college freshmen yet! From the perspective of a college health expert and a high school teacher/coach, … Read more

Putting Together a Finals Care Package? Don’t Forget These 7 Items!

Pandemic or not, it’s FINALS time for high school and college students. I’ve seen many Pinterest-worthy care package suggestions, but from the perspective of a physician who treats college students, here* is just what the doctor ordered: (*Please note that I have NO financial ties with these products, but I’m including those I use and recommend professionally for your convenience.)

  • Eye Relief: Even without remote learning, this time of year brings sore, tired eyes from unending hours of computer use, with occasional corneal abrasions from falling asleep in contacts. Did you know we blink up to 66% less often when
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It’s 420…Blaze It or Not? One Doctor’s Biased Opinion

Yes, it’s April 20th, but “420” also means Pot, MaryJane, MJ, Weed, cannabis…whatever you choose to call marijuana. Legend has it that the nickname “420” originated in my birthplace, San Rafael, CA, from way back in the early 1970s, when a group of high school students used to meet at 4:20pm after classes to either smoke weed or search for it. Regardless, today is often celebrated in the cannabis-partaking world as Weed Day, so let’s talk about pot.

As a family physician who has also worked in urgent care on a large college campus, I recognize my bias … Read more

What’s Up with the J&J Vaccine? A Doctor’s Q&A

The J&J COVID vaccine’s possible link to blood clots is dominating the news, creating disproportionate fear and confusion. Let’s tackle the most pressing questions:

Q1. As a pro-vaccine advocate, are you mad at the CDC/FPA for pausing the J&J vaccination?

Absolutely not! The very fact that we are hitting “pause” on distributing this vaccine based on 6 cases (less than 1 in a million vaccine recipients) of a very rare problem should honestly be extremely reassuring to everyone concerned about vaccine safety. The very reason we HAVE vaccine adverse events reporting systems in place is to pick up ANY and … Read more

Top 10 Things You Might Not Know about the Moderna COVID Vaccine

This week, I had the privilege of “jabbing” several hundred grateful Austinites’ arms with the second dose of Moderna’s COVID vaccine at one of Austin Public Health’s vaccination PODs, which gave me the unique opportunity to get extensive direct feedback about people’s experience with their first shot. Note that the folks I immunized had to fall into categories 1A or 1B to qualify for their first vaccine a month ago, which means that they were either older than 65 (many in their 70s and 80s), any age front-line healthcare workers, or people ages 16-65 who also have at least one … Read more

College Parent Q&A about Pandemic Problems & COVID Vaccines

As our college students head back to campus (or simply back to their rooms for online classes), it’s time for another question and answer session, with pressing parent questions brought to me by my amazing friend, Suzy Mighell, creator and founder of the popular blog and lifestyle brand Empty Nest Blessed (check it out if you haven’t already!) Let’s jump right in!

Q1. My college student is so sad about missing all the classic college experiences, like football games, parties, studying abroad, etc. Is there anything we can say or do to help?

No question we are ALL feeling this, … Read more

Top Ten 2020 Holiday Gifts for College Students

Dr. Grimes Top 10 College Gifts 2020

What can you purchase for the college student who has “everything” this year? As both a doctor who works with college students and a parent of two collegiate students (one undergrad, one grad school), here’s what made my TOP TEN HOLIDAY GIFTS for COLLEGE STUDENTS in 2020:

1. Restaurant Gift Cards– What?? During a pandemic? YES- for TAKE OUT. Let’s especially support our local businesses! #KeepAustinWeird Taco Shack Gift Cards

2. Weighted Blanket– These can be pricey, but for anyone dealing with anxiety and/or insomnia, they are worth their WEIGHT in gold. What weight? 15-20 lbs. (Bigger adult, … Read more

College Kids and COVID: 10 Tips for Healthy Holidays

Okay, parents, it’s T-minus 14 days till Thanksgiving week, when most of our college students will be heading home for an extended winter break. Will this be the perfect storm as nearly 20 million college students in the US pack up and head home, potentially spreading COVID19 to their families and communities? Beyond masking, physical distancing and handwashing- which of course, are ALL IMPORTANT- here’s what you need to know:

  1. What can we all do right NOW?
    • Get a flu shot this week
    • Optimize your respiratory tract (because an irritated nose/mouth make it easier to pick up ANY respiratory virus,
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Overwhelmed with Stress & Anxiety in College? Try These Tips!

On and off campus, it’s official: the Mid-September College Student PANIC and ANXIETY have set in, completely freaking out already exhausted, pandemic-weary students and parents. Please know that EVERY fall, students-especially freshmen and transfer students- question if they chose the wrong school or even the wrong path all together. Should they change majors, drop out, take a belated gap year, transfer schools, or pursue a trade job? Trust me, these feelings are NORMAL and very common, especially during this first month. Most students, however, find that as the weeks roll by, they find a rhythm in and out of the … Read more

The COVID Conundrum…Did YOU Have It, or Not?

Covid Conundrum. Did you have COVID or not?

The COVID Conundrum: If you had classic symptoms of COVID- high fever, chills, fatigue, muscle aches, cough, shortness of breath, new loss of smell or taste, GI symptoms- but a negative test, no test, or negative antibodies, did you REALLY have COVID?

And, well,…does it matter?

After dealing with this question both professionally (I focus on college health) and personally (read about our family’s experience with COVID), here are my thoughts:

First: Yes, you can have COVID without testing positive (but also, maybe not).

  1. As with many diagnoses in medicine (like flu and strep), your doctor’s clinical judgement
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