H1N1 vaccine helps students, others’ health

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What are you doing Thursday morning between 8:30 and 11:30? Hopefully you will be joining me in the K-State Student Union’s Forum Hall to get the H1N1 flu vaccination from Lafene Health Center.

Recently, Lafene received a shipment of the H1N1 influenza vaccine, which it will administer to students during scheduled vaccination clinic hours.

Lafene’s H1N1 vaccinations have eligibility requirements, but fortunately most college students are eligible. According to Lafene’s Web site, all K-State students between the ages of 16 and 24 years can get the vaccination, and so can K-State students between the ages of 25 and 64 years, who have underlying health conditions like asthma, kidney and liver disorders, epilepsy, cerebral palsy and immunosuppression.

Lafene’s Web site goes on to clarify the vaccine is not available through Lafene to the following persons: pregnant women, faculty/staff, student spouses and children of students.

Many college students, including myself, often think they are invincible and that they will not come down with H1N1. Contrary to popular belief, Jill McGuire, R.N., public health nurse for the city of Wauwatosa, Wis., indicated college students and persons between the age of 6 months and 24 years of age are more susceptible to H1N1 virus because they were not exposed to the 1960s virus that had similar characteristics to H1N1.

Many college students live in situations where if they were to get the H1N1 virus, it could very easily spread throughout their living environments. Students living in residence halls, greek houses, scholarship houses or simply in a home with many roommates are more likely to share more than good times together; they are more likely to share germs as well. Whether it is sharing the same bathroom, living room or bedroom, it is inevitable you will share germs throughout the time you live together.

Even if you do not live with many people, or none of your roommates have H1N1, you are still more prone to get H1N1 because college students don’t take good care of themselves. Say you just finished all of your midterms, and now you have many projects and papers due. Often, this means pulling all-nighters; lack of sleep causes obvious problems for the immune system.

Another cause of a weaker immune system is our lack of a healthy diet. While we might all wish to eat healthy, it seems like the fresh fruits and vegetables are too expensive for us to be able to afford on a regular basis. This lack of healthy food compounded with no vitamin supplements makes students more likely to catch the H1N1 virus.

If you do happen to come down with H1N1, it is not only extremely uncomfortable with high fevers, a harsh cough and nausea, but it can become terribly inconvenient.

A good friend of mine had H1N1 influenza for almost one week and missed three exams because of the illness. Having to make up exams can be an inconvenience, especially if you have a busy schedule. While having a week off of classes might seem like a good way for one to get caught up, it is extremely difficult to get anything done when one is quarantined to the bedroom.

For more information about upcoming H1N1 vaccination clinics, or simply more information about H1N1, visit Lafene’s Web site at ksu.edu/lafene. Hope to see you Thursday.

Molly McGuire is a sophomore in political science and speech. Please send comments to opinion@spub.ksu.edu.

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