We’ve reached the time of year where coughs constantly echo throughout classrooms, everyone has the incessant sniffles and “bless you” is said more often than any other response.
Flu and cold season has hit and now that more students are being crammed into dorm rooms, lecture halls and buses, the odds of you catching something throughout the day are quite high.
The best thing you can do for yourself right now is to get a flu shot.
You might be thinking to yourself, “Nah, I never get sick. I don’t need a flu shot.”
Truth is, because you’re in such close quarters with everyone around you and everyone they’ve been in contact with all the time, getting sick is hard to avoid. Even if you think you are one of the lucky few who are immune to everything, you’re going to get sick unless you take the proper steps.
According to the Center for Disease Control, everyone 6 months and older should get vaccinated every year.
“Seasonal flu vaccines protect against the three influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season,” the CDC states. “The viruses in the vaccine can change each year based on international surveillance and scientists’ estimations about which types and strains of viruses will circulate in a given year.”
The vaccine actually gives your body a small dose of whatever virus has been deemed the highest risk so that your immune system can learn to fight it.
Many remember, in 2009, when the swine flu epidemic swept the nation. According to the Moscow-Pullman Daily News, more than 2,600 students reported flu symptoms, many of which were expected to be infected with H1N1.
As students, we are more at risk for exposure because of our constant contact with each other.
The time is now to get yourself protected.
Health and Wellness Services are offering flu shots for $25 with an appointment, or if you stop by Monday through Friday before 11:30 a.m.
This week, with help from the College of Pharmacy, Health and Wellness Services will be in the Compton Union Building from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the same price.
Most insurance will cover the price, so it’s at no cost to you. But really, you’ll either end up spending the $25 on the flu shot or you’ll spend at least that much stocking up on Dayquil and orange juice.
To supplement the vaccine, it’s recommended to always wash your hands, carry around some hand sanitizer, and try to avoid touching your face.
If you do get sick, you’ll notice symptoms such as a fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, feeling achy and fatigued. If you’re experiencing any of these, the best option is to stay home. Most professors will understand if you need to miss lecture because of the flu and many will appreciate not being exposed to whatever you have. Your fellow students will thank you as well.
Be excellent to yourself and each other, Cougs.