By Arleeny Escarcega, Nancy Vargas and Josh Fuentes
With upcoming midterms and finals, many students are not taking the necessary steps to prevent coming down with the flu.
An informal poll of Santa Ana College students showed that 50 percent believe the flu shot is beneficial. Still, more than half said they would not get the vaccine.
“If you take care of yourself, I think your immune system is strong enough to help you out,” SAC student William Rubacalva said.
In his psychology 101 class, professor Ricardo Castillo informed students of the high correlation between stress and low immune system levels, especially during midterms and finals.
Venecia Lopez, an 18-year-old student, said people who think they have strong immune systems will just wait.
But waiting and risking absences during finals is not a smart option.
The flu can lead to bronchitis if ignored. Students often don’t treat it because they think it will go away on its own, but they could end up with pneumonia, Billie Ganong, a registered nurse at Santa Ana College, said.
According to researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu vaccine generally protects against three or four of the most common types of flu that go around each season.
The Health and Wellness Center accepts walk-ins for flu shots, which are available for students who have paid the health fee. The shots only cost $15.
An informal poll of SAC students showed that 83 percent had already paid their health fee but haven’t taken advantage of its benefits.
With the health fee, students can see registered nurses, physicians and mental health care providers.
Sometimes it isn’t clear if you have the flu, and some people do not know the difference between the common cold and influenza.
With a cold, people rarely experience a fever or headache, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
A common misconception many have is that flu shots cause influenza.
In reality, the shot is an inactive virus inside a synthetic egg-white solution that helps build antibodies.
If students have egg allergies, it is important that they let a nurse or doctor know.
In some cases, those who were vaccinated and still became sick had already been exposed to the virus.
A flu shot takes about two weeks to build antibodies.
Since influenza is a cold-weather illness, October is a good time to get vaccinated.
“Not everybody gets it, but everybody needs the flu shot,” Ganong said.