Every year in the U.S., an average 5 to 20 percent of the population contracts the flu, according to FluMist.com.
Starting Sept. 25, University of South Dakota Student Health Services, located in the Sanford Vermillion Medical Center, will begin its distribution of discounted flu shots.
In recent years there has been belief that flu shots do nothing, something Jean Yockey, a faculty member of the nursing department, hopes to prove otherwise.
“It is just a myth that the shot gives you the flu; that’s not true,” Yockey said. “The flu vaccine works by exposing your body to the virus so that the body can build an immunity and respond much faster if exposed to the flu in comparison to never having received the shot.”
Getting a flu shot is worth it, Yockey said.
“If someone gets the flu, they will be flat in bed,” she said. “Being stuck in bed is a high cost to pay compared to the slight discomfort of actually getting the shot.”
Yockey said flu shots are so important that there are not any disadvantages to getting one.
“The only sort of disadvantage would be the slight discomfort you may feel after the shot,” she said. “The main advantage of the flu shot is not getting the flu. If someone does contract the flu, it will be a much milder version. A flu shot not only protects you against the flu – it protects everyone you could potentially give it to, such as friends and family.”
Getting a flu shot once won’t protect the recipient for more than a year, as there are different strains of the flu each year, Yockey said.
“Everyone should get a yearly flu shot,” Yockey said. “The only time people should debate on whether or not to receive the flu shot is if they are undergoing chemotherapy or something similar to when the immune system is weakened,” she said.
First-year student Lauren Fanta said she intends to receive a flu shot this year.
“As a CNA at the Avera Sacred Heart Care Center in Yankton, SD, I have to receive a flu shot as a job requirement,” Fanta said. “Also, as an honor student, I cannot afford to get sick and miss class. I want to be healthy.”
Fanta said she believes other students should get a flu shot, too.
“It’s a group effort. Everyone must participate in order for students to not get sick and to remain healthy,” she said.
First-year Anthony Gosch also has to receive a flu shot this year.
“I got one for the army,” he said. “If it was not for the army, I probably would not have gotten a flu shot. Personally, I never get one. I think sickly kids with poor immune systems should definitely get them, but if a student has a good immune system, they do not need to worry about a flu shot.”
Sophomore Whitney Redler plans to get the shot if she has the time. She doesn’t have the time to be sick, she said.
“I am way too busy to get sick and stay in bed,”