With the flu season still looming, students might want to take measures to prevent catching a disease and stay healthy. A recent study conducted by the University of Minnesota and St. Olaf College in Minnesota suggests that a flu shot could stave off the seasonal sniffles for some college students, so regular inoculations may be just what the doctor ordered.
Researchers surveyed 12,795 students for over four years found that those who got flu shots had a 30 percent lower rate of flu-like sickness than those who didn’t receive them. The research was carried out online where the participants submitted their information, such as influenza-like illnesses (ILI). As a result, the vaccinated students missed class and work less often, used fewer antibiotics, saw the doctor less frequently and were able to keep up with their daily routine.’
Some students, however, didn’t feel the need to get the vaccinations, despite the benefits.
‘My cousins never got [vaccines] before and they never had the flu or chicken pox,’ said CSUN junior, Shanice Howard, using her family as an example to explain why she doesn’t see the need for the flu vaccinations.
Howard has never gotten the flu before but has had colds several times, suggesting the change in the weather is to blame.
Silvia Olmos, a CSUN graduate, sees importance in the flu vaccinations but has never gotten one while she was a college student. She has been to the health center a few times but not for illnesses like the flu.
‘Some students have better immune systems than others,’ Olmos said. ‘But those that have [weaker] immune systems should get the flu shots.’
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of 5 to 20 percent of the population gets the flu and the best way to prevent getting the illness is through annual vaccinations.
Health Educator Sharon Aronoff of the Klotz Student Health Center suggest that ‘a flu shot can be a preventative thing.’
‘We offer the flu shots here to students, faculty and staff for 15 dollars,’ Aronoff said.
‘Anyone who feels that they could benefit from the flu shots could get it.’
The health center will give students flu shots by appointment.
‘I get sick every time the seasons change,’ said freshman Osvin Suazo. Suazo admitted to being sick last semester but insists that it was not flu related. He didn’t consider going to the health center.
‘If I had a cold at home I’d rather not take anything and just ride it out.’
If needle shots aren’t for you health professionals suggest washing your hands regularly to prevent catching and spreading the disease.
According to the CDC, just touching your nose, eyes and mouth with unclean hands could cause illness, but washing them with warm water and soap should stop this. Sleep, exercise and a balanced diet can improve our immune system to fight off sickness.
For more information on influenza or the flu vaccine, visit the CDC website www.cdc.gov/