December is just around the corner, which means Christmas shopping, Boxing Day sales and New Year’s Eve parties, but not until you persist through the dreaded finals.
When you start cramming for exams on espresso and two hours of sleep, your immune system weakens. Worst case scenario? You come down with the two Fs — finals and the flu. You’ve seen the flyers advising you to get the flu shot to avoid a “hug with the bug.” Is the flu really as deadly as it seems?
Dr. Julie Bettinger, a vaccine safety scientist and associate professor at UBC’s School of Population and Public Health, highly recommends everyone — including university students — to get the flu shot.
“Studies have shown that about one per cent of vaccinated individuals get influenza versus about nine per cent of people who have not been vaccinated,” said Bettinger.
That means you are nine times less likely to be infected just by taking 15 minutes of your day to get your free flu shot. The flu shot is safe, effective and prevents the flu.
According to Bettinger, flu season peaks during winter months. Thus, UBC students should get the flu shot to stay healthy for their exams and when they go home for the holidays. For most students, there is no reason why they shouldn’t get the flu shot — except for individual health reasons like those with severe allergies to flu shot ingredients or if they’ve had Guillain-Barré Syndrome. In that case, they should discuss the best course of action with their doctor.
Not only does the flu shot protect you, but it also protects those around you who are at a high risk for influenza. If you will be around family members under the age of five or over 65 — or someone at any age with asthma, diabetes, cancer or any type of cardiac or pulmonary condition — you best be vaccinated to protect them, Bettinger said. For these individuals, the flu can be deadly.
UBC offers free flu shots — you simply need to book off 15 minutes of your day and get vaccinated to avoid a “hug with the bug” and focus on memorizing those nucleophilic substitution mechanisms.