Sitting in the waiting room, the minutes feel like hours and I am, frankly, very nervous. Let’s just say that vaccines are not my cup of tea. While nothing scares me more than pain, I believe for so many reasons that every person who is able to, should get the flu shot this year.
Before I list the many reasons why college students especially should get vaccinated, let me just say that some people are advised by the CDC to not receive this vaccine. According to the Vaccine Information Statement provided by the CDC, these people include those who have had any severe, life threatening allergies to a flu shot previously, if you have ever had a severe reaction to any part of this vaccine, or if you have an allergy to egg protein.
Further, if you have or have ever had Guillain-Barrè Syndrome, or if you are not feeling well, you should not receive this vaccine. As always, you should check with your doctor or a certified medical professional about your history with vaccinations and if you have any concerns about the effects of this vaccine.
According to the CNN article aptly titled, “It’s time to get your flu shot,” last flu season, 146 children lost their lives to the illness. On average, 20,000 children annually are hospitalized with the flu. Adult deaths are not tracked, but studies estimate there are anywhere between 3,000 to 49,000 people who die from the flu in any given season.” These are deaths or hospitalizations that could have been so easily prevented.
That’s one very obvious reason why you should get your flu shot–having the flu is no fun. Being in college, you are surrounded by people constantly, and if you live on campus and have a roommate, you are living in close quarters with someone. The flu is a nasty disease that is highly contagious and easily spread.
In fact, according to a CNN article named, “7 myths about the flu vaccine and why you should get it anyway,” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that vaccinations prevented 79,000 flu hospitalizations and 6.6 million flu-associated illnesses during the 2012-13 influenza season. The flu shot works.
You should not only receive this shot for yourself, you should do it for other people around you. As mentioned, some people cannot receive this vaccination, and if you are not vaccinated, you are putting other people at risk.
There are many myths around the flu shot that are just untrue. For example, no matter what you may have heard, you cannot get the flu from the flu shot. It is possible to have an adverse reaction to this vaccine, as there is with all vaccines, but this risk is very low.
Don’t be that person who puts yourself and everyone at risk because you did not receive your flu shot.
Experts recommend receiving this shot sometime in October, as flu season typically lasts from October to May.
Ready to receive your flu shot? If you are a student here at BSU, you are eligible to receive your shot at Health Services for a small fee of $10 on your Connect Card. Many pharmacies such as CVS or Walgreens often offer these shots for free or for a small fee as well.
As someone who is seriously afraid of needles, receiving my flu shot this year may have been a little bit nerve-racking at first, but the nurse at Health Services that gave me my shot was absolutely lovely and put me at ease. Oftentimes, communicating your anxiety to a medical professional can be a great step to helping you feel more relaxed if you are needle-phobic.
So, if you haven’t already, please do yourself and everyone around you a favor and get your flu shot. It’s a quick, simple thing that you can do to prevent yourself from getting you and others around you from getting sick.
Ceilidh Adams is the Opinion Editor for The Comment. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.