Get Your Flu Shot, Don’t Worry About Ebola

by / 0 Comments / 112 View / November 14, 2014

With all the hype surrounding the highly covered super-virus Ebola, many people are forgetting there is a medical concern that actually affects thousands of Americans directly and more fatally: the flu. Despite the obvious shock factor of a virus such as Ebola slowly creeping into American hospitals and creating bouts of mass hysteria, citizens are letting the media persuade them into giving the unlikely hazards of Ebola precedence over the dangers of the common flu. In an unprecedented media move, Fox News anchor Shepherd Smith became a voice of reason when he declared that Americans should be more proactive about preventing spread of the flu than Ebola. His news spiel went viral and strikes a chord combating media hysteria regarding the irrational fear of contracting Ebola. Smith, of course, is correct. The chance of a person in the United States—even with the recent minor outbreak of cases—contracting the virus is 1 in 13.3 million according to NPR. At the end of Smith’s informative, calming newscast, he simply reminds his viewers to be responsible—and reasonable—and get the flu shot for themselves and their families. As a college student, it is extremely important to get vaccinated. With close living quarters, casual sharing of food and drinks, and high volume contact with multiple students, a college student is at extremely high risk of contracting influenza. And while your college might be running fundraisers to “fight Ebola”, you might want to pay closer attention to which campus organizations are offering free flu shots or information on where and how to get vaccinated. The reasons many students choose not to get vaccinated are because of lack of knowledge. According to a study conducted by Professor of Economics Ellen Magenheim, Assistant Professor of Economics Erin Todd Bronchetti, and former colleague David Huffman at Swathmore College, many students just do not have the information they need to go get the flu shot despite knowing how detrimental having the flu can be on their academic and social lives. Getting a flu shot is imperative as the median age of influenza hospitalization is twenty-eight and the H1N1 virus (also known as the Swine Flu), which hit hard in 2009, is reportedly back on the rise as commonly seen flu cases in hospitals. The flu is high risk despite common misconceptions. Only thirteen percent of a surveyed three hundred and sixty college students got a flu shot when the H1N1 pandemic was at its height. Yet 294,000 people were killed worldwide during this virus outbreak. One person has died of Ebola in the United States thus far, but there is more activism on campuses regarding Ebola than there is for advocating anti-flu outbreaks. It appears college students tend to ignore what hits closest to home in efforts to appear globally conscious. This is not an excuse to infect your fellow classmates when you could have prevented infection yourself. So college students are busy. So college students have a lot to accomplish during the day and most do not want to add a quick trip to campus health to their daily workload. But college students do have the potential of getting very sick and preventing them from accomplishing their normal activities. Despite the effort, being healthy and flu-free is something that every college student should highly prioritize. Ebola is inarguably an important topic of discourse on the global scale, of course, but what college students really should be discussing is coordinating trips to the campus clinic for a quick shot, not a long-term treatment. Take Mr. Smith’s advice: go get your flu shot. Image Credit: CBS Dallas