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Flu shots important for student health

During the influenza [flu] season, University students are faced with the decision of whether or not to get flu vaccinations.

Betty DeSilvio, nurse specialist at the Falcon Health Center, said getting a flu vaccine is extremely important.

“To keep yourself well, getting an annual flu shot should be right there with getting enough sleep, exercising and eating the right foods,” DeSilvio said. “It should just become part of your wellness routine

every fall.”

Director of Wellness Faith Yingling said the flu is “a serious disease” and college students may face a high risk of coming into contact with it.

“If people are living in residence halls and living in close proximity to one another, there’s a higher chance that infections … and other kinds of colds and viruses can be spread more easily,” Yingling said.

Fifth-year senior Brad Spettel said he was planning on getting a

flu vaccine.

“I’ve taken them in the past and I haven’t had the flu in a few years,” he said.

Junior Olivia Schmidt said she isn’t getting vaccinated because she is scared of needles.

Some people may also be wary of getting the flu vaccine because there are some risks associated

with it.

“The only risks would be those people who have an allergy to egg, gelatin and an antibiotic called neomycin,”

DeSilvio said.

The Influenza Vaccine Information Statement published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] advises those with an illness to wait until they feel better before receiving a flu vaccine.

DeSilvio said nurses are required by law to give the CDC information statement to everyone before they receive the vaccination.

Another common argument against the flu vaccine is that it may not stop someone from getting the flu.

According to the CDC, the flu vaccine is made to protect against the viruses most likely to cause illness that year.

Some years, such as in 2013, the strains in the vaccines have not been the kind causing the illnesses.

Spettel said this won’t stop him from getting a flu vaccine.

“I know it’s very hard to predict what strain of influenza is the one that goes around,” he said. “It hasn’t negatively affected me, so I just keep doing it.”

DeSilvio said that students are often misinformed about the flu virus and its symptoms.

She has seen many students come in thinking they have the flu because they are experiencing nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

DeSilvio said that’s more indicative of an

intestinal problem.

According to the CDC, flu symptoms include “fever/chills, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, cough, headache and runny or stuffy nose.”

Yingling said the Wellness Connection at the University tries to educate students on the flu and the benefits of the vaccine.

“Putting that information in things like Stall Talk is something that we try to do every year to educate people,” she said.

DeSilvio said that, with about 18,000 students on campus, about 1,000 flu vaccines have been administered so far this fall.

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