There’s a crispness in the autumn air, or maybe that’s just the influx of germs.
It’s that time of year again where classmates drop like flies in the face of colds, strep or influenza. Although most of us have encountered some form of illness these past weeks, it’s never too late to take precautions that limit spreading further disease.
One of the best options for protecting ourselves is visiting a doctors office and getting our yearly flu shot. For some people, getting this vaccine is an autumn tradition. Others, however, avoid it like the plague, no pun intended. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, flu viruses circulate at higher levels between October and May. An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to reduce the chances that you will get seasonal flu and spread it to others.
Not only does the flu vaccine protect individuals by creating antibodies against the predicted strain of influenza, but when more people get vaccinated against the flu, less flu can spread through that community. We have a responsiblity to set the example for others to prioritize our health. We don’t plan or hope to get sick, but we might as well prepare, just in case.
Inevitably, mistakes happen. People react differently to each year’s unique vaccine. Sometimes the predicted strains of influenza aren’t pertinent, and another virus spreads. These mishaps shouldn’t deter people from trusting the benefits of medical advancements. Vaccines.gov says vaccine-preventable diseases can result in losing valuable time and money, along with putting everybody else at risk. Also, if we continue vaccinating now, and vaccinating completely, parents in the future may be able to trust that some diseases of today will no longer harm their children in the future.
Those in the anti-vaccine camp, listen up: choosing to receive vaccinations affects everyone. The only reason whooping cough and other diseases still pop up is because people don’t partake in vaccinations. While that’s on a severe end of the spectrum, flu shots are just another choice to make.
For those interested in receiving a flu shot and haven’t already, Sanford Student Health services and Hy-Vee both administer the vaccines.
Whether a flu shot is involved or not, living in closed quarters at college inevitably leads to quick circulation of illness. Maybe these suggestions sound like they come from a concerned parent, they’re important reminders for us all.
US News’ Health section offers strategies like not washing dishes where others brush their teeth, not sharing towels, giving friends space when they’re under the weather and not sharing water bottles or utensils with others. Another important suggestion is relieving stress, getting enough sleep and eating well to keep the immune system in check. And, of course, hand sanitizer and hand washing are helpful.
In the busy college lifestyle, it’s too easy for us to put our health on the back burner. With remembering simple techniques for disease prevention and annual flu shots, we can make positive contributions to campus health. One poor decision can lead to a school-wide epidemic. It’s a rather rash way to put it, but as responsible young adults, we don’t have authority figures directly telling us how to take care of ourselves. It’s up to us. Let’s draw attention to health and encourage each other to live well intentions in mind.