The cold and flu season is upon us and now it’s time to think about getting the flu shot. Too often when it comes to flu shots, thinking is as far as we get every year. If you are once again on the fence about whether or not you should get the flu shot, look no further.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), influenza, or the flu is “a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses.” This illness is characterized in adults by a combination of these symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat, a runny or stuffed up nose, body aches, and tiredness. If you get the flu, this illness could affect you for several days to two weeks. That much time spent being sick can take individuals away from work or school, taking extra time after recovery to catch up on missed work. There is very little about getting the flu that is enjoyable.
But all of this can be avoided by simply getting the flu shot. According to Sarah Hoyt, RN and Health Promotion Coordinator with the Health and Wellness Clinic, it is recommended for almost everyone to receive a flu shot every year.
“It is especially important for those working in healthcare settings, with medically compromised individuals, or those that work with children or the elderly,” said Hoyt. “It is important for college students to get the flu vaccine because you are in such close contact with others through your living situations of dorm life or sharing apartments and houses, in your classes, as well as athletics and other activities.”
There are a number of reasons individuals choose not to receive the flu shot. These can be religious reasons, personal values, or thoughts that would lead to making the flu shot seem more harmful than harmless. One popular belief is that the flu vaccine causes you to get flu.
“The flu shot will not give you the flu,” said Hoyt.
The reason why you want to receive a vaccine for any disease is to aid in the development of antibodies to help fight sickness.
“According to the CDC, there are two ways in which the vaccine is made. With inactivated viruses, that are not infectious, or as a recombinant vaccine, which does not have a virus at all,” said Hoyt.
The only risk you run by receiving the flu shot is minor discomfort in your upper arm, where flu shots are administered. But you will not become sick with the flu because you received a flu shot.
If you are still in need of a flu shot, you can receive it at any clinic off campus and also at most pharmacies. If you’re looking for a more convenient place to receive your flu shot, for those of you who live on campus or find yourselves on campus often for classes and club meetings, you can also receive your flu shot at the Health and Wellness Center! The clinic is open Monday through Friday from 8:30-4:30. Your vaccine is covered by insurance providers. To schedule an appointment at the Health and Wellness Center, you can call 651-690-6714.