You wake up one morning, immediately notice an onset of a runny nose, cough, body aches and maybe even feel a little nauseous. Your temperature is a flaming 101 degrees, and you proclaim to your roommates that you’re sick and will definitely not be getting out of bed.
Your roommates shrug you off as being dramatic or lazy, as you begin to kick yourself for not having any spare medicine. But, you had these symptoms last year. This means one thing: the 2013 flu has hit.
According to Flu.gov, seasonal flu viruses peak in the fall and run their course as late as February and are highly contagious respiratory infections that 5-20 percent of United States residents contract each year.
The U.S. has seen an increase in the rates of flu contractions in the last few years, which has caused a higher demand for the vaccine. Huffington Post states that more than 200,000 residents are hospitalized for flu-related symptoms per year. Similarly, USA Today claims between the years of 2004 and 2012, more than 830 non-vaccinated children died from flu complications. Although the vaccine is becoming more readily available to Americans, the importance is continuously stressed.
Flu symptoms can easily be brushed out of a college student’s mind, but as many students recall, infections seem to spread rapidly throughout Albion’s campus.
Cheryl Krause, Health Services nurse, relays the consequences of the flu spreading on campus.
“College students who allow themselves to get behind in their rest, do not eat properly and practice unhealthy lifestyles can become susceptible to complications such as pneumonia,” Krause said. “Being ill with the flu causes many college students to miss classes and get behind in their studies. After the acute stage, students are often left feeling exhausted for an additional period of time.”
Health Services offers the flu vaccination for students and highly recommends receiving the shot to ward off symptoms, especially since the vaccine will last until next flu season.
“The flu vaccine contains protection against three strains of flu, two A strains and a B strain,” Krause said. “Once you have received your flu shot, immunity takes about two weeks to develop.”
Flu.gov states the flu vaccine is the best protection from the flu. Once the vaccine interacts with the body, it is 60 percent less likely to need any other treatment regarding the flu.
The flu virus and it’s strains change every year, leaving many health-care providers on their toes each time a new season arises. It also allows professionals to create new varieties of vaccinations. Just this year, Americans have access to over 12 ways to receive the vaccination which range from the typical shot to nasal sprays and vaccines, which protect against four strains of influenza. Researchers have even processed a way to create egg-free vaccines, which have slowed down productions in the past.
Avoiding the flu shot is one of the easiest things to do, whether it is low on the to-do-list or because the sight of a needle causes fear.
However, from a student’s point of view, it is highly pertinent to receive a yearly vaccination. Not only is the flu a complete annoyance to contract, but it can also leave a person feeling sick for 10-14 days, and it can take even longer until that person is back up to full speed. There is not a single student on campus who can afford to miss 10 days of classes, let alone make up all the work that follows.
Moral of the story: get your flu vaccine, people.
Photo by Jillian Putnam