BY KIM MOSEMAN
As the temperature drops and darkness falls upon the campus at an earlier time, we know that fall is already in full swing. But this may not be good news for SU students prone to illness. It is officially cold and flu season, which means you will find more students blowing their noses or coughing up a lung in the middle of your classes—and that is just the students who still attend class.
Many Sea Gulls will be found holed up in their rooms, too sick to move. But what if there was a way to ensure that you were not caught up in this cold and flu season? Most professionals would suggest the flu shot. But there is a lot of stigma against this vaccine.
Many students worry the cost of the flu shot will break the bank. Clayton Levy, a sophomore, feels the benefits of the flu shot do not outweigh the cost. “It isn’t cost efficient enough to warrant spending the money for it every year,” Levy said.
But what most students do not realize about the flu shot is that just about 99 percent of insurances cover the cost of a flu shot, mainly because it is cheaper to pay for a flu shot than for medication and care for if you become ill from the flu. Most medical professionals find the number one reason that students do not get a flu shot is because they fear it will get them sick. But the flu shot is just an inactive protein that actually takes at least two weeks to become effective.
“You need a new one every year because the flu changes strains faster than the vaccines,” Levy said. “If I’m getting a flu shot to not get the flu, but the flu shot gives me the flu for the next few days, doesn’t that defeat the purpose?”
Trish Grady, nurse practitioner at Minute Clinic says she has barely given any flu shots to SU students. “They think they’re going to get sick when that is not true,” Grady said. “They get sick because it’s cold and flu season and they’ve been exposed to a virus around the same time they got the shot.” There is a large number of students who have never gotten a flu shot.
“I don’t have anything against them, I’ve just never gotten one and only gotten the flu Fall means flu shots once,” junior Alex Hawkins said. “It was a strain that the vaccine that year didn’t even prevent.”
But there is definitely a large amount of people who are much better off with a flu shot. “Children, people with a history of asthma, people with diabetes and the elderly are really the people who should be getting flu shots,” Grady said. “But with all the germs and viruses on a college campus, I think all college students should get one too.”
Allison Shaner, a junior, had just gotten her first flu shot this year as it is a requirement for her nursing program. She said she had a wonderful experience getting a quick and painless flu shot at the Minute Clinic at CVS.
She is relieved she will not be getting the flu this year. “It takes you out of class, out of work and you can get others sick,” Shaner said. “The flu is preventable so if a simple shot helps prevent all of that, then it’s worth it.”