Note to students: Go get your flu shots

Kristen Vasas and Kristen Vasas

Bitter winds howl across campus.

Coats are buttoned up and hoodies are layered with countless amounts of long sleeve shirts and sweatshirts.

Gloves, hats and scarves are pulled from the highest shelf of our closets.

In a nutshell, winter is upon us. And with the frozen winds of winter come numerous amounts of viruses.

Influenza, strep throat, laryngitis, bronchitis and pneumonia are just a few of those well known bugs that float around campus.

Students and teachers go down like soldiers in a war, taking their fellow comrades with them.

But not to fret citizens of Bowling Green. There are preventions for these silent illnesses, as I’ve mentioned in earlier columns.

By now, everyone knows that the number one way to prevent disease is through simple hand washing.

It’s one of the best ways to protect yourself, not to mention cost free.

However, living in a college dormitory or apartment means that you share space with roommates who may not be the most hygienic people in the world, and simple hand washing may not be enough to protect you from spreading illnesses.

So what else is there, you might ask?

I now introduce to you the flu shot, also known as the influenza vaccination and the number one prevention technique for the flu.

The vaccine is inactive, which means that it contains killed influenza cells.

The stimulated virus is injected into the body’s muscles and stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies to the influenza virus, according to

Not only is the virus effective, it’s considerably inexpensive.

The health center on campus offers the vaccination for only twenty-two dollars, which can be bursared or paid for in cash or credit.

Now comes the dilemma:with the information that this vaccination is not only cheap but continually effective, why are people still not getting protected?

According to the 2005-2006 Flu Vaccine Availability Web site, only 50 percent of people in Ohio are actually receiving the vaccine before the flu season when it’s most effective.

There is absolutely no logical reasoning for this, unless there are people out there who enjoy the achy, nauseating symptoms of the flu.

To begin with, there are people with certain conditions to whom it’s deemed absolutely necessary to receive the flu shot.

Influenza can lead to pneumonia and can be dangerous to people with heart or breathing conditions.

Some might claim that the shot is not advertised enough, and that’s why they never search it out.

However, clinics all across America begin advertising the shot in the middle of October through fliers and mailed letters, along with other community outreach programs.

Even without these programs and fliers delivered to the public, the flu vaccine has been around long enough that there are few people who have not heard of it.

Still, there are others that have received the shot and claim that receiving it again is worthless.

Why get the same vaccine twice, or even three different times?

Little do people know, each year the influenza virus changes and different strains become dominant.

Due to the high mutability of the virus, a particular influenza vaccine usually only works for about a year.

In an effort to control the changing virus, the World Health Organization coordinates the contents of the vaccine each year to contain the most likely strains of the virus to attack next year.

In other words, get a new shot every year.

Lastly, there are those who simply are just too apathetic to worry about something as trivial as the flu.

The flu hardly seems like something to worry about when we have diseases like the West Nile virus floating around.

However, influenza kills about 36,000 people each year in the United States which is reason enough to receive the vaccination in itself.

So instead of worrying about costs, instead of arguing that you’ve received the shot once before, instead of being just too darn lazy to get off the couch, go get your flu shot.

After all, it’s not just your health; it’s your life.

Send comments to Kristen at [email protected]