‘Tis the Season to Be Healthy

Asia Key, The Black Bear – Frightful weather is around the corner. With the changing of the leaves, gusts of wind and flurries of snow, so comes the dreaded influenza virus.

Poster at the Springfield-Branson National Airport

Poster at the Springfield-Branson National Airport Photo Credit: Asia Key, The Black Bear

The Taylor Health and Wellness Center, Missouri State’s clinic, offers free flu shots for students, faculty, staff and their families.

Flu shots are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. It is not necessary to schedule an appointment.

Junior, Colby Jones, who transferred from Kirksville, Missouri, was administered his flu shot Sept. 18. He explains that receiving a flu vaccination is relatively simple.

“I came in and requested a flu shot at the front desk, and they directed me to the treatment room,” Jones said. “I had to wait a moment while they helped other students. They called me in, filled the needle with the vaccine, then wiped the needle with alcohol and wiped the spot on my arm with an alcohol pad. After they gave me the shot, I was told to wait in the waiting room for a few minutes, just to make sure there were no allergic reactions.”

Jones was told the vaccine should take effect within the next two weeks.

RN and Treatment Clinic Nurse, Traci Brown, disclosed that the Wellness Center bought 5,000 shots this year, yet only 2,900 shots have been administered.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined that the vaccine can reduce the risk of flu illness by about fifty to sixty percent of the overall population.

Brown shared the importance of receiving the flu vaccination.

“Recommendations come from the CDC, and the Health Department has proven that receiving a vaccination significantly decreases the occurrence of the flu,” Brown said. “If you do get it, it is much less severe.”

Experts say it is also vital to protecting the health of everyone connected to the campus.

“We want students and anyone in their circle, anyone in their household to receive a flu shot,” Brown said. “For students, if they’re on a sports team or participating in a play, we don’t want their becoming ill to affect the whole team or production.”

According to research, small communities constitute a larger potential for the spread of respiratory sickness.

Heightened stress levels characteristic to this time of year, as well as other bad habits, contribute to adverse effects on the immune system.

“[Students] get run down because they don’t get enough sleep and don’t eat the most nutritious meals,” Brown said. “Stress and lack of sleep can make your immune system more susceptible to viruses. Finals are coming up soon, and having the flu during finals can be quite miserable.”

Students can take other preventative measures to guard themselves from illness this season.

“Get proper sleep, stay hydrated, and have good cough hygiene: cover your mouth by coughing into your sleeve and be careful with Kleenexes,” Brown said.

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