Campus Life Editor
‘Tis the season for snow again and with cold weather comes close quarters and an invisible fiend that everyone does their best to avoid: Influenza.
Chills, fever and aches are only a few of the woes experienced once infected, but it’s only the beginning. What was once a master escape plan for the bug, turns into what seems like a battle to survive and to remember what being healthy is again.
This leads many of its victims to question whether they should vaccinate themselves, especially with controversial myths that complicate the issue. In fact, people should vaccinate themselves because it acts as a protective mechanism and it minimizes the effects even if caught. Vaccination is a beneficial tool for everyone involved because it aims to protect people who are likely to have severe complications from the sickness, such as pregnant women, young children and the elderly.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), vaccination for pregnant women protects the baby during gestation and even for months after birth. This is significant because it was estimated in 2018 that the rate of hospitalization was reduced by up to 40 percent during a six-year study, beginning in 2010 and concluding in 2016.
It’s also imperative that it protects infants for after they’re born because children have to be at least six months old before they can receive the flu vaccine. This can leave them vulnerable if they are exposed to the virus at day care or in their own homes. By vaccinating herself, the mother will produce the antibodies necessary to fight the virus if it enters the body. The mother will then pass these on to the child via the placenta during the pregnancy and will continue to do so after birth if she chooses to breast-feed.
Furthermore, the vaccine is also effective in regards to protecting young children since it prevents the sickness from becoming severe and causing complications that could lead to intensive care hospitalization.
As much as we all would prefer the vaccine to be completely effective prevention for sicknesses, nothing is guaranteed in medicine yet. What we can do is take every precaution possible to protect ourselves and the people around us by receiving the vaccination, washing our hands and being mindful of potential exposure.
After all, one of medicine’s greatest values is to protect vulnerable populations and take preventative measures whenever harm is a possibility.