Flu shot frenzy in the U.S.

By Allison Dickey | gargoyle@flagler.edu

To get the flu shot, or to not get the flu shot — that is the question most Americans ask this time of year when every cough or sneeze feels infectious. The flu vaccine has become an often-debated method of prevention, as many do not agree with its benefits, or even claim it is more harmful than helpful.

Every year, the specific strand of the flu virus is predicted and then given to the public as a form of prevention from getting the flu. Doctors and officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention assure skeptics that getting the shot is a good idea even though they announce it is only 62 percent effective.

Many of the deaths reported by the CDC are that of the elderly and young children as they are more susceptible to viruses. According to the CDC’s official synopsis of the flu virus during week nine (Feb. 24 to March 2), out of all the reported influenza-related hospitalizations, over 51 percent were among patients 65 years and older. Those infected with the flu virus frequently become ill with bronchitis, pneumonia or other upper respiratory problems, which in fact are the reason for the death, not the virus.

Nurse Practitioners Holly Hagler and Judy Angyalfy always urge students to come to the infirmary at Flagler College and get the shot.

“It’s important to get it … the people who get sick (from it) are minimal. You’ll get a sore arm and maybe a headache, but that’s about it,” said Hagler.

About 75 percent of the allotted doses received by the college were used by students.

“Students can’t afford to get sick and miss class,” said Angyalfy. “I would make all my kids get it. Vaccines decrease the likelihood of disease. Why take a chance?”

Although the vaccine does not guarantee you will not get the flu, if you do get it, your symptoms will be much less severe than those who did not. The CDC also suggests people take preventative action to stop the spread of germs by frequently washing your hands and to avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose as much as possible.

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