Students should get their annual flu shots early

In Opinion
(Hannah Miller / Daily Titan)

Flu season has arrived. Rather than accept the incoming force of fevers, headaches, sneezing and congestion, be smart and get the flu shot early.

It may seem like constant nagging to get the flu shot each year, but there’s a reason why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone who is six months or older get the vaccine annually.

Availability cannot be used as an excuse for not getting vaccinated. The Student Wellness Center on campus provides free flu vaccinations for students, and clinics and pharmacies nearby also provide flu vaccinations, according to Orange County Health Care Agency’s website.

Nobody likes needles, but one little prick can save people from an even worse trip to the doctor later on when they catch the flu. It’s time to be an adult and make the responsible decision.

College students must separate fact from myth when it comes to vaccines.

One misconception is that people get sick because of the flu shot. Flu vaccines contain inactivated viruses or no viruses at all, according to the CDC. If someone gets the vaccination and then still gets the flu, it’s often because those people were in contact with the flu virus before getting the vaccine. As a result, they get sick before the vaccine can do its job. This is just another reason to get the flu vaccine as soon as possible.

Others often mistake having a cold or other respiratory viruses for the flu and subsequently disregard the flu vaccine. The flu often comes with an abrupt fever, aches and chills and chest discomfort, according to the CDC. A cold is more associated with sneezing, stuffy nose and sore throat.

Another misconception is that the vaccine isn’t necessary.

While the virus affects young children and elderly people to a far greater extent, college students should still get vaccinated. The flu can make even the healthiest person crumble.

Those who don’t get the vaccination are not only jeopardizing their own health, but they also risk spreading the virus to those around them. Don’t be that person in class who’s wheezing and coughing up a storm.

Flu vaccination rates among college students range from 8 to 39 percent, according to a 2016 report released from the National Foundation of Infectious Diseases. Too many college students are failing to take advantage of the resources available to them.

It’s easy to make excuses, but it’s important for students to actually take care of themselves.

The first step in doing so is getting vaccinated for the flu. No one likes the physical discomfort that the flu can bring, or any illness for that matter. If there are ways to avoid something so awful, students should do it.

Right now is the time to make an appointment, and get vaccinated for the flu.

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