Editorial | Take advantage of flu shots this week
Published: Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 08:10
With leaves changing color and the weather getting chillier, many students eagerly anticipate the arrival of fall. But for Tufts Health Service, these indicate a different type of change: the flu season is upon us.
Although college-aged students are outside of the “at risk” categories — elderly people, pregnant women and young children are at the highest risk for contracting the flu — college campuses are known for cultivating the influenza virus due to the high density of students in close quarters. In light of this, university administrators and health professionals actively encourage the student body to utilize flu vaccination services. Tufts annually offers free flu vaccines to all Medford/Somerville students who have paid the health fee, urging everyone to take preventative steps to avoid a campus-wide outbreak.
This year, there are three clinics to ensure that all members of the Tufts community are able to make the trip to Health Service for a vaccination: Tuesday, Oct. 1 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 2 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Thursday, Oct. 3 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
The flu vaccination is not a guaranteed protection against influenza, however, so students should stay vigilant even after getting the shot. Washing and sanitizing hands after touching public surfaces will help decrease the likelihood of falling ill. In addition, it is important to be mindful of other students who may be sick — and not to share items like cups or makeup with them.
If you do become sick, prioritize getting enough sleep and eating well, and do your best to avoid spreading germs to those in the immediate vicinity. Cough into your elbows and try to carry hand sanitizer with you, or take advantage of the dispensers in campus buildings before touching door handles and shared spaces.
All students should take the initiative to get vaccinated this week. While it is great that the university provides these shots free of charge, though, students’ health ultimately rests in their (clean) hands. There are multiple strains of the flu, making it possible to contract the flu again after a first time, so it’s important to continue healthy practices.
Missed classes and assignments due to illness can make for a very difficult academic semester. Take the first step toward preventing sickness by getting a flu shot this week.