Kalamazoo, MI
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Student Health

It’s Not About You / Don’t Get the Flu!

Ayla Hull ‘19 receives the flu shot during a free immunization event in the Banquet Hall [Andrew Parsons / The Index]. Ayla Hull ‘19 receives the flu shot during a free immunization event in the Banquet Hall [Andrew Parsons / The Index].

“I don’t like shots,” or “I can’t afford it,” or “I never get the flu,” or “I’ll get sick anyway,” are all common excuses to not take five minutes and attend one of the Health Center’s free influenza immunization opportunities.

The Student Health Center has already held two open immunization sessions, offering free flu shots to anyone who walked in. Apart from these special events, the Health Center holds drop-in hours for students seeking their annual influenza immunization.

After receiving my flu shot, I walked out of the Hicks Banquet Hall with a colorful “I got my FLU SHOT today” sticker proudly stuck to my chest. But I felt quite alone; seemingly every student I encountered had some excuse to not get their shot.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention writes, “influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others.”

It’s clear that getting the flu shot is vital to preventing serious illness. The CDC goes on to estimate that influenza vaccinations prevented 79,000 flu hospitalizations and 6.6 million flu-associated illnesses during the 2012-13 influenza season.

In all honesty, it’s no fun visiting Little Blue with the flu. If you need a more mundane reason to get vaccinated, consider the study time lost to vomiting and fever; one sick week and you’ll be on your rapid way from an academic A to an infected F.

But hey, it’s not just about you, because I can get sick too! The last thing I want is to be a sniffling, fever-faced bed rat with a cramped stomach, unable to study or go out as I wish. Living and interacting with other students in the close quarters of a college campus brings certain social responsibilities, mainly respect for your peers’ well-being. In such constant and close proximity, the last thing I want is to get the flu from you, or the doorknob you touched, or your sneeze-breeze from across the room. Don’t think you’re guilty? Guess again—twenty to thirty percent of people carrying the influenza virus show no symptoms.

You’ve gone 20 years without infection? The influenza doesn’t care if it breaks your sickness-free streak.

And no, you didn’t get sick immediately after getting your last flu shot; your body needs up to two weeks after receiving the vaccination to become fully protected. You were already infected!

Realize your social responsibility by doing yourself and everyone else a favor; protect your well-being and our campus community’s health by getting your flu shot!

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It’s Not About You / Don’t Get the Flu!