By Laurel Sebastian:
The flu is on the rise this year, as weekly reports flood in from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding flu outbreaks on college campuses across the nation. According to the CDC, only 26 percent of college students have received their seasonal influenza vaccination, falling staggeringly low from the 70 percent target rate set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources.
“I feel students might hesitate getting the flu shot if they don’t have the time or money. Especially if they have kids whose needs are put before their own,” Josh Jayroe, a general studies major, said.
Unlike some colleges, Amarillo College does not offer low-cost, on-campus flu shots for students. Making vaccines cheaper and more accessible could help students who are on a budget or have tight schedules, Jayroe said. He added that more people might get flu shots if they could get what they need on campus rather than going out of their way.
College students face an even higher risk of catching the flu due to their constant contact with so many other students who may be sick and spreading germs.
“I believe that our immune system starts to break down because of the lack of sleep, not getting the proper nutrition in our diet and being exposed to other students and outside elements all play a role in the risk,” Ashley Brashears, an art major, said.
The flu, is a viral infection that is easily contagious and can be spread through coughing or sneezing, touching a contaminated item or person and swapping saliva through sharing drinks, food or even kissing. “The best ways to prevent the spread of the flu is good hand-washing, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, staying home when you’re sick and staying hydrated,” Monica Herd, a registered nurse and former AC nursing student, said.
Though the flu shot may not completely eliminate the chances of catching the virus, it does greatly reduce the odds and provides extra support to people’s immune systems. Health officials urge students to remember to drink plenty of fluids, get proper amounts of rest and wash hands as often as possible to protect themselves and others.