UNF's #1 Student-Run News Source

UNF Spinnaker

UNF's #1 Student-Run News Source

UNF Spinnaker

UNF's #1 Student-Run News Source

UNF Spinnaker

Students are playing Russian roulette with their health

With the stress of the daily grind and just a few more weeks before final exams, students might find themselves becoming more susceptible to influenza, commonly known as the flu.

Every year, 5 percent to 20 percent of people will catch the flu. At least 200,000 people are hospitalized due to flu complications, and nearly 36,000 people die every year from those complications.

Flu vaccines are often common treatments given in order to prevent the spread of this virus, according to WebMD.com

Director of Student Health, Doreen Perez, stressed the importance of getting a shot despite a recent statistic that nearly 60 percent of health care workers fail to get the flu shot.

“The thing with the flu season is it’s unpredictable,” Perez said.

Unlike other colleagues in her profession, she agrees with researchers that it is important to get a vaccination every year.

“I feel as if the health care people have to stay healthy,” Perez said. “We are the ones who provide the care, and I believe in getting the vaccine whole-heartedly.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the flu vaccine as the single best way to prevent the flu.  Mild symptoms such as swelling of the injection site, soreness and aches might occur after the vaccination.

But one of the main reasons some people do not get a flu shot is because of potentially lethal allergic reactions.

“Most people know before they receive the shot if they are allergic to it or not,” said Frances Priolo, who worked as a charge nurse for Staten Island Clove Lake Nursing Home.

“Any good healthcare worker will ask the patient screening questions before [giving the shot] in order to prevent these types of reactions from happening,” she said.

These reactions are more likely to occur among people who have severe allergy to eggs, according to the CDC.

The viruses used in the influenza vaccine are incubated in the white protein of chicken eggs.

People who have had a severe reaction to eggs or flu shots in the past should not get a flu shot before seeing a physician.

For those who are allergic, there is no other medical alternative for prevention of the flu.

Each year, researchers produce a new vaccine based on virus strands they think will arise during that particular flu season. Everyone’s immune system fights the virus differently.

“I was in so much pain [when I had the flu],” said sophomore chemistry major Dalaiah Simeon.   “I didn’t eat anything for two or three days and I didn’t feel like moving. I took Theraflu to get over it and after taking it, it took me three or four days to really get better.”

Catching the flu doesn’t just affect students physically; it can also affect them academically as well.

Being ill can mean missing a few days of class.  Upon their return, students can find catching up to be a hard task.

“I was out for three days and missed finite math,” said freshman advertising major Emily Beggs.  “I got the notes from friends, but it was hard to make up because we turn in homework every day and I had missed a lot.”

Priolo warned of the risks for students living in close proximity to each other and how it is a risk of catching the flu.

“Living in college with such close proximity to others, it can sometimes be hard to avoid those who have the flu,” she said.

But Perez said college students who live on campus are no more likely to catch the flu compared to those off campus.

“You can catch the flu anywhere,” Perez said. “It can be spread through simple things such as the exchange of money; sneezing on something and having someone else use it behind you.”

With that in mind, Priolo still has some concerns about  college students trying to avoid the flu.

“The best thing anyone can do to protect themselves is to wash their hands,” Perez said. “Wipe things down, and it would be best if the sick person could go home if possible.”

By receiving a flu vaccination, students can create herd immunity which is part of the public health theory, Perez said.

The more people who receive the shot the better because when one person protects themselves they are less likely to spread the illness to others.

Because flu season is too unpredictable, not getting the flu shot could be like playing Russian roulette, Perez said.

E-mail Alexandra McClain at [email protected].

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

Spinnaker intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, slurs, defamation, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and will be removed if they do not adhere to these standards. Spinnaker does not allow anonymous comments, and Spinnaker requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All UNF Spinnaker Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *