The Importance of Flu Vaccines for College Students
The following blog post is authored by Annaliese Collins; a public health major at Muhlenberg College, class of 2023. They are passionate about peer education, community health and wellness, and disease prevention.
After all your hard work applying, testing, and picking out dorm decor, you’ve finally made it to college! Making new friends, establishing a routine, and adjusting to classes usually dominates the minds of most students during the first few weeks of the fall semester and it may seem impossible to juggle anything else. Your health during college matters more than you may think – and prioritizing your annual influenza vaccination is much more important than meets the eye.
Why it’s important to get vaccinated against the flu in college:
- Setting Yourself up for a Lifetime of Healthy Decision Making
College is full of firsts! For many, it’s their first time away from home and the direction of their parents. No one is reminding college students to brush their teeth, get 8+ hours of sleep, or eat their veggies. It’s up to you to take care of yourself. When you make a conscious decision to go get vaccinated, you establish expectations for yourself and follow through on future healthy decisions. Habits have to start somewhere!
- Influenza and Other Illnesses Spread like Wildfire on Campus
A college dorm is like a petri dish, literally. Bacteria and viruses thrive in densely packed dorm halls and classrooms, and social life can be a huge catalyst for the spread of something nasty. Being a college student means interacting with a new population of people and the germs that come with them. An influenza vaccine prepares your immune system before you are immersed in the college ick.
- Protect Yourself and Others
Although a vaccination seems like a self-serving decision, your actions benefit the entire campus community. When a majority of students get vaccinated, there’s less opportunity for the flu to spread. Your vaccination could prevent the spread of infection to your professors, roommates, classmates, and those that can’t be vaccinated because of their health. When you join a college or university, you commit to becoming a part of a whole.
- Securing a Successful Semester at School
You can’t attend classes if you are sick in bed! The flu can keep you bed-ridden for up to a week with a whole host of side effects, including chills, fatigue, a fever, and congestion. By vaccinating against the annual flu, you are less likely to lose a week of school, clubs, sports, and fun. Be proactive with your health to fully enjoy your college experience.