Health professionals advise BYU students to get their flu shots

Statistics show surprising flu facts.
Statistics show surprising flu facts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The BYU Student Health Center will be presenting a flu shot clinic on Oct. 15. (BYU Universe)

With fall comes the flu season. The BYU Student Health Center is preparing to give students a way to fight back against the virus.

The Student Health Center and Public Health Department will be presenting a flu shot clinic on Oct. 15, 2015. The event will be held at Brigham square and will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The clinic advised students to bring their health insurance information, but mentioned there will be coupons for free flu shots for students who don’t have health insurance.

Some BYU students, like Clark Pathakis, said they will not be getting their flu shots.

“I don’t get sick a lot, so I don’t see the need to get a flu shot,” Pathakis said. “But if you get sick a lot, then you probably should get one.”

Professionals responded that students should think otherwise. Kim Christensen, a nursing supervisor at the BYU Health Center, suggested all BYU students get the flu shot. He said along with older people and babies, college students are at a high risk for coming down with the flu virus.

“Their eating habits and their sleeping patterns aren’t the best for having a good immune system, so they are at a pretty high risk for getting the flu,” Christensen said.

He added that being around so many people, like in a college environment, is also a factor for catching the flu.

“Being in areas where there are large crowds, your chances of being exposed are much higher.”

Steve Mickleson, director of the Utah County Health Department’s nursing division, agreed on the benefits of getting a flu shot.

“Influenza vaccination is important for everyone that can get vaccinated,” Mickleson said in an email. “Not only will it help keep you healthy and influenza free, it will benefit our community, helping to keep it influenza free.”

Mickleson explained that the flu is prominent even now.

“Influenza is already circulating in the community,” he said. “This is earlier than we have seen it in recent years.”

Mickelson also said that students should consider getting the flu shot as soon as possible.

“Get your flu shot early, before influenza finds you unprepared.”

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