Guest Columnist: Get your flu shots

Rebecca Wrobel

You probably know the most common symptoms of the seasonal flu, but do you really know how much it can affect you? Every year, 1 in 4 college students will get the flu. The most common symptoms are cough, fever, chills, fatigue, nausea, diarrhea and body aches. Let’s be honest, college is one of the worst places to be feeling sick. You might be in a dorm, living with a roommate and have entirely too much work to do to be stuck in your room and barely able to get out of bed. And, of course, flu season just happens to coincide with finals week and winter break. So if you could do something to protect yourself from all of the suffering, why wouldn’t you? Well, all it takes is a simple vaccine.

A 2008 study showed that college students receiving the flu vaccine missed fewer days of class, did better in class, missed less work and had fewer doctor’s office visits. With all of these benefits, the choice is a simple one because getting your flu shot protects you and the people around you, especially those who are at high risk for complications. The flu can be fatal, as well as lead to pneumonia or worsened symptoms of asthma and heart conditions. Should you become infected, you could spread the virus to someone with a weaker immune system who can’t fight it off as well. Mainly, those are elderly people, infants and those with existing conditions.

There are some myths out there about the flu and the flu vaccine, so I’d like to clear some of those up. The flu is not like the common cold. No matter your age, it can be fatal and you can suffer serious complications. Also, you cannot get the flu simply from getting the flu shot. The injection that you’re receiving is made of the dead virus, and it cannot infect you. Despite some arguments, there is absolutely no scientific evidence linking the vaccine to autism or other disorders. Lastly, the strain of the flu changes every year, so even if you were vaccinated last year, you need to be vaccinated again to fully protect yourself. If you have other questions or concerns, check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website about the flu at:

Before this year’s flu season, take a few minutes to stop by Kent State University’s annual Flu Clinic on Tuesday, Oct. 28 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the second floor of the library. It only costs $30 to get vaccinated, and you can pay with cash, check or have it billed to either your health insurance or your bursar’s account.

So, get your flu shot and don’t let the flu wreck you this year.

Rebecca Wrobel is a junior public health major. Contact her at [email protected].