By Kjersti Andreassen, News Writer
Germs and viruses can spread quickly when people live close together, especially on college campuses. For this reason, Pacific Lutheran University offers all students an annual flu vaccine free of charge.
“The pain of getting a flu vaccine is minimal, compared to the pain of catching the flu later on in the school year,” Ross McLeod, health educator at the PLU Health Center, said.
McLeod said he urged students to go get a flu vaccine. He said that especially those with pre-existing conditions affecting their immune system should take the flu vaccine.
According to the PLU Health Center website, PLU uses a dead flu vaccine. Since it contains no active virus, you can’t catch the flu from the vaccine and the shot itself can’t make you sick.
The website states that with every vaccine there is always a small risk of side effects, but that these are extraordinarily rare.
Fortunately, for those who dislike needles too much to consider getting a shot, there are other ways of staying healthy. Washing your hands often and getting enough rest are paramount, McLeod said.
“Get lots and lots of sleep. Sleep is an important one,” McLeod said. “Normally, what happens is that when students don’t get enough sleep, they’re more susceptible to the flu.”
McLeod also said that students should get to know what things stress them out, and how to handle them. “Know and control your stress levels, especially around finals,” he said.
To get the vaccine, students can make an appointments online. The Health Center is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, except for noon-1 p.m. when it is closed for the staff lunch break. ◼︎