No reason not to get H1N1 vaccine

By By Elizabeth Craig

By Elizabeth Craig

As a health educator at the U, it is my job to make sure that students are in a state of wellness so they can attend class, stay healthy and graduate on time. With this in mind, I have recently been asked many questions concerning the H1N1 vaccination.

According to a recent online survey by The Daily Utah Chronicle, only 27 percent of U students are planning on getting the vaccine this flu season. Although everyone should make the choice that is best for him or her, the Student Health Center strongly recommends you consider getting the vaccine if you’re eligible.

First of all, there’s no charge! With everything students have to pay for, isn’t it nice to get something for free? Second, most college students fall into the high-risk category. That means you have a greater chance of getting H1N1 and having to stay home from class and work while you recover. Although professors want you to get well and not infect the rest of your class, it can be a pain to make up what you missed while not in the classroom.

What does it mean to be high-risk? In this case, it means that you are between the ages of 2 and 24. If you are high-risk, why would you not do everything you can to protect yourself? For a complete list of qualifying factors, please visit the Student Health website at www.studenthealth.utah.edu.

“Students should get H1N1 vaccine because many are in a high-risk category, which puts them at risk for not only infection, but complications,” said Susan Kirby, a nurse practitioner from the Student Health Center. “Another reason is influenza of any kind is an illness that may make them ill enough that they are unable to attend classes for one to two weeks. That can affect grades, financial aid, etc. Lastly, the vaccine is free8212;health care is not!”

If you decide to get the H1N1 vaccine and you qualify, you can go to the Flu Clinic at the Heritage Center today from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Please remember to bring your UCard with you. Qualifying spouses and dependents of U students are also allowed to get the vaccine as long as they are accompanied by the U student (with their I.D.). To see if you qualify for the H1N1 flu mist, please visit the Student Health website. Vaccines will be given on a first-come, first-serve basis while supplies last. We will also be giving out free seasonal flu shots to the first 100 U students. These flu shots are available thanks to funding from the Associated Students of the University of Utah.

If you find my arguments unconvincing and decide not to get the vaccine, at least remember that prevention is key! It is recommended that you wash your hands and use hand sanitizer on a regular basis, especially after coughing and sneezing. It is also suggested that you wipe off your computer keyboard and screen before using them. If you do get sick, stay home so you don’t infect others. Center for Disease Control guidelines recommend that you stay home for 24 hours after your fever breaks (without taking any fever reducers). For all other flu FAQs, please visit8212;you guessed it8212;the Student Health Center website. You can also be extra hip and follow us on Twitter or become a fan of us on Facebook. We know students already spend 14 hours a day on Facebook8212;why not get key health updates?

For any questions that I didn’t answer concerning H1N1, please contact the Student Health Center. You can reach the front desk at 801-581-6431. I hope to see you at our Wednesday clinic.

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