Combat flu season, get vaccinated

Editorial Board

At the end of September, three seasons are in full swing — football, fall and flu.

We’re fans of the first two. That last one? Not so much.

This year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone over the age of 6 months gets vaccinated as soon as possible, with the hopes of preventing another H1N1 pandemic. 

You should probably get a flu shot. All of the cool kids are doing it. Peer pressure. 

See, if everyone gets immunized we’re not passing it around all winter and fewer people will get sick. Scientists call it “herd immunity.”

Say it with us: “Moo.” 

Thielen Student Health Center is holding vaccination clinics at the UDCC each Wednesday and Thursday in September from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Additional dates are also in the works.

Doses run $20 for the shot or $25 for the flu mist, and don’t forget your ISUCard — they aren’t accepting cash.

This year’s vaccine contains three sub-types of flu: Influenza B, H3N2 and the infamous H1N1.

Humans aren’t the only animals that get the flu, and that’s why the “H’s” and “N’s” matter. 

If a pig is infected with more than one kind of flu, “H’s” and “N’s get swapped around. If you’re immune to swine flu and human flu, you’ll still get sick from man-bear-pig flu.

When you get sick from the flu, it’s because of your immune response. Fever, sweating and body aches are due to inflammation, which helps your immune cells get around your body, while coughing, sneezing and the nastier stuff are your body’s way of flushing it out of your system.

The scare from swine flu is its close relation to the Spanish Flu of 1918. Healthy individuals — college students — are at risk because their immune systems produce too much inflammation, which causes a fever no cowbell can fix. 

If you think of your body as a fortress and your immune system as armed guards, vaccination is the heads-up for whatever germ/zombie horde you’re trying to keep out.

The flu shot contains inactivated — or dead — virus particles. Your immune system processes these zombie chunks, and the guards are a lot better at killing the horde once they’re inside.

FluMist works better. Because it’s an attenuated strain — alive, but non-infectious — your immune system gets the chance to study the zombies first, which gives you immunity in the tissues and your mucous membranes.

If you’re under 50 and not pregnant, and for only $5 more, you put homing missiles in the towers, sharks with laser vision in the moat and replace your guards with highly trained ninja.

You get the flu from breathing infected air, and we share air with a few thousand people per day. If you do get sick, you need to stay home. You’ll probably want to anyway. Nobody likes a quarantine. 

But you can skip all that if you head over to the UDCC today. We’ll be there. You’ll probably feel a little run-down the day after the vaccination, but it’s better than spending dead week wishing you were actually dead.