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Don’t Believe in Vaccines? Think Twice This Flu Season.

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCD chapter.

No one likes getting a flu shot. But, getting immunized against the influenza virus is the best thing you can do to protect yourself and everyone around you this flu season. Here’s the reality of getting a flu shot. 

1. Perhaps the most common reason for not getting the flu shot is that people believe the flu shot can cause autism. 

Certain groups of people argue that Thimerosal, a preservative that prevents bacteria from growing in flu shots, can cause developmental disabilities, specifically autism, in children. However, the Center for Disease Control has conducted over nine different studies, most recently in 2013, that have discovered absolutely no link between Thimerosal and autism. Furthermore, Thimerosal has been removed from all flu vaccines given to children. While it has been removed from almost all flu vaccines, you can specifically request a shot without this ingredient. 

2. Is getting the flu really that bad? 

Many adults, especially college students, fall prey to the assumption that the flu is just a slightly more intense version of the common cold. But, even a healthy diet and good hygiene will not protect you from getting the flu. Exposing yourself to the influenza virus is risky and can be deadly. Even people with strong immune systems can end up hospitalized, or even die from contracting the influenza virus. 

3. Not getting immunized puts others at risk. 

First, exposing yourself to the virus does not strengthen your immune system, it actually significantly weakens your immune system, which puts anyone around you at risk. Even if you don’t show any symptoms of the flu, you can still infect other people with the virus. More importantly, not getting the flu shot is incredibly harmful to certain segments of the population that are particularly vulnerable to getting the flu, even if they’ve been vaccinated. People with compromised immune systems, such as people above 50, children younger than 5, pregnant women, people with HIV, asthma, heart disease, diabetes, and especially those with chronic health conditions can still get the flu from those who haven’t been vaccinated. If you choose not to receive your flu shot, you are endangering everyone else’s health. Not only can you spread the virus to people you barely know, but it can be easily transmitted to people you’re in more contact with, such as your grandparents and younger siblings. Are you comfortable with compromising everyone else’s health?

4. The flu shot actually has other health benefits, besides protecting you from the influenza virus.

Fun fact: there have been no confirmed deaths from the shot. The flu shot actually reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke, and pneumonia. Also, the vaccination reduces the risk of miscarriage for pregnant women, while protecting the mother, unborn baby, and the child for several months after it has been born.

5. What are my flu shot options?

For those with an egg allergy, they now make an egg-free shot. They also make virus-free (meaning the influenza virus is inactive), preservative-free, low-dose, and high-dose variety shots. While they do offer a no-needle choice, it is not recommended for the 2016 season, as it has proven ineffective for this year’s strain. 

6. Where can I get my flu shot?

If you have SHIP health insurance, the shot is free at the Student Health and Wellness Center. If not, they will still vaccinate you for 35 dollars. You can also get your flu shot at Rite Aid, Safeway, CVS, and Kaiser, which are all conveniently found in Davis!

Doctors recommend getting the flu shot by the end of October, to make sure it’s effective for the entirety of the flu season. However, you can get vaccinated at any point during the flu season. So Aggies, go out and get vaccinated to protect yourself, other fellow Aggies, your loved ones, and everyone else you come into contact with this flu season. 

Sources: CDC (1) (2), NPR, BabyCenter

Images are not the property of the author. Thumbnail courtesy of Pexels.

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