By Jessica Christensen, Staff Writer
Fever. Headache. Chills. Fatigue.
These are all symptoms caused by the contagious disease influenza, better known as “the flu.” Flu season is just around the corner, and the best way to protect against this disease is to get vaccinated.
Paul Mayer, director of health services, said getting vaccinated is simply the “right thing to do.”
Mayer said just because some students might not mind having the flu, others cannot afford to catch it.
“If you get the flu, you are going to be out of class for at least two weeks,” Mayer said.
The more class that is missed, the more work there is to make up. This can cause stress and potentially harm grades.
Because the flu is highly contagious, an annual flu shot should be considered to prevent the spread of influenza among the student body.
Mayer said the vaccine guarantees about 80 percent protection from contracting the virus, and even if it is contracted, symptoms will be far less severe.
Doctor of pharmacy candidates Brooke McMaster and Jessica Powers said they hear many excuses from students about why they do not get vaccinated. Some people believe they would rather suffer through the flu than actually endure the pain of a shot.
“Getting the flu is a lot worse than getting the flu shot,” said Cindy Fisher, assistant professor of pharmacy practice.
“I was one of those stubborn people that would not get a shot,” said Steve Beverly, associate professor of communication arts.
After 34 years of not getting a flu shot, Beverly contracted the flu last February and was out of work for nine days.
“I felt miserable,” Beverly said. “There is never a good time in a semester to get the flu.”
Others say they are afraid of actually contracting the flu from the vaccine.
The shot offered at Union’s Health Clinic is not a live virus; it is killed. Therefore, it is impossible to contract the flu by receiving it. According to information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the shot takes about two weeks for protection to develop, but it can last up to one year.
Flu shots are only $15 at the Health Clinic and can be put on students’ accounts.
Many are busy this time of year, but it is still important to take the time to get vaccinated.
“Students might think it takes a lot of time, but it really does not at all,” Fisher said.
If one is already experiencing any of the symptoms previously mentioned, take an online self-assessment available in the Quick Links sidebar located on the Health Services page on Union’s website. You can also visit the Health Clinic, open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.