Should You Get a Flu Shot?

by Ana Felce

As temperatures begin to cool and you spend time around family, roommates, and closest friends, it’s easy for the flu spread. Living in close quarters is conducive to the spread of germs, but thankfully, there are a number of ways you can maintain your well-being and protect yourself and those around you from the flu.

So, what measures should you take to prevent yourself from getting sick? Should you get a flu shot? You may think that you will be fine and that the flu won’t get you this year—but there are many benefits to protecting yourself and getting an influenza vaccination. Here are four reasons to consider getting a flu shot.

1. A Flu Shot Can Protect You from Getting Sick

Contrary to what you might have heard, you cannot get the flu from the flu shot. “Do not believe the myth,” warns Gidget Wood, RN, MSN, nurse practitioner at Azusa Pacific University. If you’re debating whether you should get a flu shot, remember that it significantly reduces the risk of getting the flu, which can help keep you on track with your studies, coursework, and extracurricular activities. Think of the flu shot as a preventive measure to keep you from getting sick in the first place.

2. It Reduces the Severity of Symptoms (If You Do Get the Flu)

Although the flu shot works well to prevent the risk of getting influenza, like any other vaccine, there is still a chance you could come down with the illness. But don’t write off the vaccine just yet! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Flu vaccination has been shown in several studies to reduce severity of illness in people who get vaccinated but still get sick.” Not only is there a benefit to reducing your risk of getting sick in the first place, but in case you do get the flu, you will likely be back on your feet sooner with the vaccine than without.

3. Vaccination Prevents the Spread of the Flu to Others

Even if you are super healthy and never get sick, taking the precaution of getting a flu shot means you will be helping other students stay healthy. Some people aren’t able to have certain vaccines because of allergies or other medical conditions—so when those who are able to get a vaccine do so, it helps prevent the spread of viruses to those who are more vulnerable. When you get a flu shot, you avoid becoming a carrier for the virus and therefore spreading it to others on campus.

4. It’s Easy and Affordable

As a nurse practitioner at APU, Wood reminds students that the Student Health Center offers flu shots. For those on or near campus, you can make an appointment with the Student Health Center to get the flu shot. The cost is $20 but almost all insurance companies will reimburse the full cost, making it affordable for everyone to stay healthy this flu season.

In addition to getting a flu shot, students can take other precautions to avoid the flu. Prevention is the key to staying healthy, and the most effective strategies include washing hands frequently, getting plenty of rest, and eating well, making sure to consume foods that are loaded with nutrients.

So, should you get a flu shot this year? In a word, yes! To stay healthy and avoid missing classes, an influenza vaccination is an excellent option (on top of practicing healthy habits daily).