By Ryan Cahill
The cold grasp of winter is upon us in the Poconos.
Accompanying the season is the typical cold weather and icy bursts of wind.
All around campus the signs of flu season are apparent.
The sounds of coughing and sneezing are noticed across campus.
While it is late in the season, it is not a bad idea to consider getting a flu shot.
The flu season is, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), between October and April, with the virus being most prevalent in February.
The cold weather allows for the virus to traverse the air easily.
In addition to the climate settings, the symptoms of influenza make the virus extremely communicable.
Some of the common symptoms of influenza are coughing, nasal congestion and sweating.
All of these symptoms permeate the air with the virus, making it all the more likely that one will fall ill.
The most effective way to prevent getting influenza is by getting the flu shot.
The CDC suggests that getting the shot bi-yearly will increase the chances of preventing the flu.
The vaccine will take around two weeks before the body will develop antibodies to fight off infection.
While the body will develop stronger defenses against the virus, the individual is still susceptible to the flu.
It is quite common to experience some side effects of influenza after the shot is administered.
Now you may be wondering why you would want to get this shot when there is no guarantee that you will be immune to the virus?
Yet, prevention is invaluable to our society.
Not only to prevent yourself from getting the virus, but also the more vulnerable members of our community.
Infants and the elderly.
Infants and the elderly are the most susceptible to death from the virus.
The CDC estimates that infant deaths ranged from 37 to 529 from 2004 to 2016.
The CDC does not keep records on death of elderly people from influenza, yet numbers are believed to be similar.
By getting a flu shot, we could develop a herd immunity to the flu.
When most of the population is resistant to the flu, then the likelihood of it spreading drastically decreases.
To protect our most vulnerable, everyone should consider getting a flu shot.
If you have health insurance, then you can obtain the flu shot for free in most circumstances.
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