With midterms now behind us and the end of the semester looming in the distance, it’s safe to say that getting a needle stuck in your arm is probably the last thing on your mind right now., but it should be on your to-do list.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Protection (CDC), millions of people come down with the flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized and thousands of people die from flu-related causes.
“I really just don’t have time for it right now.” says a student who wished to remain anonymous. “Plus last year I didn’t get the stupid shot and I never got the flu so I don’t think it makes that big of a difference.”
According to a survey of college students conducted by the National Foundation for Infectious Disease, only between 8-39 percent of college students get the vaccine each year.
So why aren’t college students getting the flu shot? It’s widely available and relatively inexpensive.
Perhaps it stems from the misconception that healthy young people couldn’t possibly get that sick.
According to the CDC, 172 American children and teens died from the flu in the winter of 2017.
Let’s not forget many students live on-campus and are surrounded by hundreds of other students who could potentially get the flu.
The flu virus spreads from person to person through respiratory drops- putting students living in the dorms at extremely high risk.
Although the vaccine is not fully effective in preventing the flu, it does decrease the likelihood by 40-60 percent, the CDC says.
And even if you get the shot and still end up catching the flu, the symptoms are likely to be a lot milder than they would be without it.
Another common misconception is that the flu shot actually causes you to get the flu.
This is incorrect. A sore arm, perhaps a tiny bit of swelling at the injection site, and in rare cases a mild fever is the only side effects listed on the pamphlet distributed to everyone who gets the shot at CVS pharmacy.
Any side effects experienced are not caused by the flu itself but by the body simply reacting to the vaccine.
That being said, there are some people who should not receive a flu vaccine – people who have had an allergic reaction to the vaccine in the past or who are allergic to eggs or any of the vaccine’s other components
The CDC says that serious allergic reactions to the vaccine are rather rare and occur in less than one in every 100,000 doses administered.
For those who can receive the vaccine, The flu vaccine works by causing antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after the vaccination takes place.
Most flu vaccines currently administered in the United States protect against four different flu viruses: Quadrivalent, also known as influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, as well as two influenza B viruses.
With winter just around the corner, it seems now would be a wise time to go and get vaccinated.
While it might seem like an inconvenience, being stuck in bed for a week unable to attend class or getting friends and classmates sick can be much more detrimental to the campus as a whole.
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