Winter is quickly approaching and that means we will soon find ourselves in another series of battles against the illnesses that come with it.
While the cold weather creates a threat of sickness for everyone, college students, especially those living in residence halls, are particularly vulnerable to it.
That is why it is very important for students to take the necessary precautions to stay healthy. It is important not only for the student personally, but for the students around him or her as well.
Sickness spreads quickly around a college and can be detrimental to a student’s academic performance if it becomes severe enough.
One key way to protect oneself against a serious illness is to get an influenza vaccine.
This is an important shot for all students to get, but is overlooked by most.
Many students group the flu in with the common cold and don’t think much of it. But influenza is a much more serious illness that not only leaves a person feeling sick longer, but can lead to more serious problems like pneumonia.
Fighting off a cold is hard, but fighting off the flu is even harder.
Now, many people are cautious of flu shots, fearing some sort of nasty side affect. But the threat from the flu is far more dangerous than the threats of any side affects.
There is little evidence to support that flu shots truly warrant any cause for concern other than that a person’s arm might be a little sore after the injection or that a person might feel a little drained.
But that certainly beats running at a higher risk of becoming sick with the flu that will keep you sick for several days, and that will likely spread to make those around you sick.
A final misconception people have about flu shots is how often they should get one.
Just because you got a flu shot last winter does not mean you should skip out on this season’s shot.
Every year the vaccines are designed to fight different influenza viruses.
So the shot you got last year isn’t going to protect you against the viruses scientists believe will be causing havoc this winter.
While we feel people should certainly be skeptical of what they put into their bodies, there isn’t much behind the fears of a flu shot. The benefits for both yourself and the campus community are certainly worth any risks associated with the vaccine.
It doesn’t take long to stop and get a shot, and it is not expensive either. The half hour it takes to get one will likely save you a week of sore throat, fever, coughing, runny nose, and fatigue. And it can help those around you avoid that as well.
So head down to the health center or a local pharmacy and get a flu shot. It will not only keep you protected this winter but will also help keep SRU a healthier place to live and study.