College campuses are especially vulnerable to flu outbreaks, so protect yourself and others with a flu shot
Flu vaccines should be a routine part of every autumn, like pumpkin spice lattes and flannel sweaters. But this year, flu shots are even more important than usual, since last year’s flu season was practically nonexistent due to social distancing and other pandemic precautions. Many people’s immune systems are out of practice when it comes to the flu, so all UC Davis students and staff should consider getting the safe and effective flu shot in order to keep our campus healthy.
Even during normal flu seasons, influenza can spread rapidly through college campuses due to high population density in the dormitories, lecture halls, cafeterias and sporting events. This is exacerbated by the fact that less than half of college students in the U.S. get yearly flu shots.
Flu symptoms typically last from five to seven days, which means a week or more of missing classes, tutoring and club meetings. In the quarter system, it would be incredibly difficult for a student to make up for missing that much material. People shouldn’t have gone to school sick before the pandemic, but now sick individuals won’t be able to access campus at all without lying on their Daily Symptom Survey for that day, which they shouldn’t do. Even if it’s not COVID-19, students shouldn’t come to school sick.
Wearing face masks indoors, being honest on Daily Symptom Surveys and washing hands frequently are all helpful in decreasing flu transmission on campus, but the best way to reduce the likelihood of catching and spreading influenza is by getting a flu shot as soon as possible. Nobody wants to miss a week of school or infect their entire friend group, so get a flu shot if you’re able to — I got mine last week.
Written by: Eden Winniford — firstname.lastname@example.org
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