By Teresa Ugarte
Nobody likes needles, and nobody likes going to the doctor. But what’s worse than those two things put together is getting the flu. Flu season is coming, and it’s time to get vaccinated. Here are 10 reasons why you should make the effort to get the shot this season.
- The flu can be deadly.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 80,000 people died from the flu last flu season. It was the deadliest flu season in 40 years. There’s no way to predict how bad this season will be, so it’s time to suck it up and make that appointment with the health center.
- You can get your vaccination right here on campus.
Speaking of the health center, it takes five minutes to sign up for an appointment on their website, and the actual appointments take less than 20 minutes. There’s no excuse that you don’t have the time: the entire affair takes less than half an hour.
- Experts agree that it’s the best protection.
According to both the CDC and the Mayo Clinic, the best way to protect yourself from the flu is to get the vaccine. It’s much harder to treat the flu than to prevent it. Even if you do end up with the flu after getting the vaccine, your symptoms will be less severe than if you hadn’t gotten the shot.
- It’s way better than going to the ER.
An estimated 200,000 people are hospitalized for the flu each year, and you don’t want to be one of them. The mean cost of being hospitalized for the flu in 2000 was $3251.04. Yikes.
- The vaccine does its job.
Don’t believe the myths that the vaccine will give you the flu, or that it’s ineffective. Since the flu shot uses a dead version of the virus it’s impossible to get the flu from the vaccine, and the CDC reports that the flu vaccine is between 40% and 60% effective on any given year. That may seem low, but it’s still better odds than doing nothing at all.
- It’s not just about you.
By getting your vaccine, you’re contributing to herd immunity, which helps vulnerable populations by preventing the spread of germs among the non-vulnerable population. Not everyone is able to get the vaccine, and they depend on the rest of us to get vaccinated so they don’t get sick.
- You don’t even need to get the shot.
Needle-haters, rejoice! The FluMist is back on the market this year. Although you should opt for the shot if you have asthma, are under 2 or over 49 years old, or are pregnant, it’s up for grabs for everyone else who’s eligible for the regular vaccine.
- You can get it for little to no cost.
Even if you don’t have health insurance, a lot of places will give you a flu vaccine with no charge. Even if you end up having to pay out of pocket, it’s still cheaper than that $3,000+ hospitalization.
- We live in dorms and apartments.
University of Maryland dorm residents were the subjects of a study last year researching how the flu spreads. Cramped quarters and shared ventilation systems make residence halls the perfect place for the flu to breed and spread, which is why the students were selected for the study.
- It’s so easy.
Making an appointment with the health center online takes five minutes, and places like CVS and Target will take walk-ins. It’s the right thing to do to protect yourself and your community, and thankfully it doesn’t require much effort on your part.
A new study found that less than half of all college students get vaccinated, despite over 70% of them believing that the vaccine is important. It’s time for college students to step up and stop being part of a disappointing statistic. Get vaccinated, make your friends get vaccinated, and make their friends get vaccinated. The best way to prevent the spread of the flu on campus is to get as many people as possible vaccinated before the flu hits, so don’t wait. Make your appointment right now.
Teresa Ugarte is a freshman journalism and English major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.