Letter to the Editor: Why You Need a Flu Shot

It’s that time of year again: everyone on campus seems to be sick.  Take the initiative to keep yourself healthy this year by getting your flu shot.  As a typical college student you may think that you are at less of a risk because you’re young and have an ‘invincible’ immune system.  What you might not realize, however, is that you are in one of the most susceptible groups for contracting the influenza virus.  Even healthy individuals can get very sick from the flu and pass it on to others.  The population density of college campuses create a perfect breeding ground for viruses and bacteria.   Besides regular hand-washing you have very little protection. During this time, classes are in session and you spend a majority of your time crammed into stuffy classrooms with 60+ others.  Your stress level is at an all-time high, and, thus, your immune system is suppressed.  You are surrounded by sick, coughing, and sneezing classmates wiping their noses on their sleeves.  Protect them and yourself by getting your flu shot and remaining healthy.

The flu season runs from October through May with a peak in February.  The cold temperatures allow cold viruses to linger on desks, hand rails, and door knobs longer than they normally would.

There are many places in Bozeman to get a flu shot including: the Student Health Center, Wal-Mart, Albertsons, and CVS Pharmacy.   The flu shot is at no cost for most insurance carriers by falling under preventive care.  Even out of pocket flu shots are relatively inexpensive; the Student Health Center has the cheapest flu shots at $12.00, but most places only cost about $20.  To get more information of the flu vaccine you can visit cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.html.

 

Loren Kasten

MSU Student Health Advisory Committee