Mon. Oct 14th, 2019

Washing your hands won’t cut it: Free flu shots for Belknap students

By Catherine Brown —

The University of Louisville started providing free flu shots to students, faculty and staff on Belknap campus Sept. 23. This is a necessity for any individual who will be on any U of L campus this flu season.

According to the Center for Disease Control, vaccines produce T-lymphocytes and antibodies. The immune system often develops sickness-like symptoms such as a fever after receiving a vaccine, but these symptoms are normal and help the body to develop immunity. After these symptoms disappear, the body will remember how to fight that disease in the future should a patient get infected. The CDC also states that those infected shortly before or after the time of the vaccination might still develop the disease as the body has not had enough time to create these memory cells.

The University provided flu shots to students attending classes at the HSC campus last week. U of L even provides free flu and cold self-care kits to students. These kits can be found at Campus Health Medical Services, the Health Promotion office and at designated Flu-shot stations.

Biology professors have been teaching about viruses, bacteria and prevention, and have been telling their students common sense ways to prevent illnesses. One such way is simply by washing your hands.

One of the worst habits that leads to large-spread illness is not washing hands after coughing, sneezing, touching doorknobs, electronics, eating, etc. Not washing hands after these daily routines allows the virus to linger and be picked up by somebody else. This is especially dangerous for immuno-compromised individuals such as those with AIDS, cancer, diabetes and genetic disorders according to cancer.org.

Even U of L students agree that you need to get your flu shot.

“Flu shots are necessary to get because its best to be protected against the disease so you won’t have a chance of getting the virus,” said Destiny Smith, a pre-nursing student.

The debate regarding vaccine hesitancy is ongoing, but the suggested link between vaccines and neurological or physical disorders has since been disproven. Instead, more people tend to not get vaccinations once a disease becomes less prevalent.

Doctors aren’t just suggesting flu shots for fun. People often think they won’t catch a disease because of their good hygienic habits or a strong immune system, but these things aren’t always enough to protect you. Bacteria and viral infections are everywhere, and we carry more of these in our body than we assume.

The World Health Organization claims that about 284,500 people died as a result of the 2009 flu pandemic. Part of this was because people underestimated the seriousness of the H1N1 virus and didn’t receive the flu shot.

Nobody wants to catch your virus. Nobody wants to shake hands with you when you’re carrying harmful bacteria. Simple hand washing isn’t going to make the flu virus go away. 

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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