Flu shots should accompany winter

HEALTH Getting the shot helps everyone in on campus.

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We can feel it in our bones and smell it in the air — wintertime is just around the corner. And as residents of the Midwest, we know what that means — flu season.

According to mayoclinic.com, Influenza, or the “flu,” is a viral infection that attacks your respiratory system. This means your lungs, nose and throat are all fair game.

Fortunately, medicine has come a long way, and there are ways to help our bodies fight off the flu. Getting an influenza vaccine is a great way to achieve this. Many people will tell you that getting the vaccine does nothing. I beg to differ, and so does Student Health Services.

Spending most of our days on a university campus means we are in relatively close contact with a lot of people, and that’s the best way for germs to spread. Getting flu shots not only benefit yourself personally but can also help protect everyone around you — small sacrifice of being poked with a needle for the greater good.

Whether we live on campus or not, we all spend a majority of our day trudging across campus from class to class. We walk past people in the hallways, share bathrooms, borrow pencils and use the same door handles. It’s unbelievable how susceptible we all are to spreading the flu. But, as university students, there are factors in our lives that increase our chance of getting the flu by an even greater number.

Julie Tennison from Student Health Services said, “Being in close contact with such a large population, and frequently stressed by lack of sleep, academics, work, etc., college students are susceptible to influenza.”

She goes on to say getting an annual flu vaccination is the best and most effective way of preventing the flu and its adverse effects.

There are a lot of complications that occur when a student contracts the flu. According to Student Health Services, a student who gets the flu is asked to refrain from attending class until they have gone twenty-four hours without a fever without the help of any fever-reducing medication. Because of this recommendation, students tend to miss almost an entire week of classes. For most of us, that can really take a toll on grades. The best way to keep yourself from having to deal with this is by receiving an annual flu vaccination.

Even though many folks will tell you getting a flu vaccination is pointless, the facts say differently.

Tennison explained that more people have been getting the vaccine. Most health care fields require their students to receive a vaccination annually. Institutions such as Altru Health System have also made it mandatory for employees to receive a vaccination.

The vaccine has definitely benefited me.

I’ve been getting the flu vaccine for a few years now. My mom is a RN, and she has always encouraged me to get one. My father on the other hand refuses. He says he’s never gotten one and, dammit, he never will. As it turns out, he usually ends up sick at some point during the cold winter months.

To be honest, I look forward to my flu vaccination each year. Not only do I lack a fear of injections, but I also know that it helps my body’s defenses. I can’t stand it when I sit in class and the kid next to me is constantly sniffling or coughing up a lung. I’m also the person who regularly disinfects door handles and light switches with Clorox wipes.

Getting sick is no fun, and it puts a damper on everything you do. I rely on good sleep, exercise and healthy food to prevent getting sick, but primarily I lean on my flu vaccination to do its job. I’m happy to say that so far it has.

There are several shot clinics available for UND students to get the shot. From Oct. 21 until Oct. 31, nine places on campus will offer vaccinations.

Mary Ochs is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at mary.ochs@my.und.edu

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