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Do you really need your flu shot?

By Rebecca Bartlett [4]

BELLEVILLE – It’s that time of year again. Flu [5] season.

Every year as winter arrives, so do germs causing the flu. There is always debate between people who are for the flu shot and people who are against it.

Students can get their shot right on campus at the Loyalist Student Health Centre [6].

“The flu shot is made of the previous year’s most popular flus,” says Lauren Deans, the nurse at the health centre. “It’s kind of looking at trying to shoot a ball into the future. I give you the flu shot and your body says, ‘I’ve had this invader come in,’ so it sends your cells to the flu shot area and they build antibodies that are going to fight off the flu. And then they go, ‘Oh, you tricked me,’ but I still have these wonderful antibodies.”

If you do get exposed to the virus, you have antibodies built up so that if you catch it, it won’t be as severe as it might be in someone who didn’t get their shot, Deans explained.

Lauren Martin, who is in the four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing [6] program at Loyalist, has to get a flu shot to be able to do clinical placements in hospitals. Even before she was in nursing, she would always get her flu shot, she says.

“I choose to get my flu shot every year because of all the research behind its benefits. It helps to protect people from the flu virus, which is a respiratory infection that could lead to many other complications,” says Martin.

She has gotten the flu even after she got her shot, she said, but even though the virus may catch up with her, the effects don’t hit her as hard. The shot helps her fight off the flu faster than if she had chosen not to get it.

Another Loyalist student says she disagrees with programs and professions making it mandatory for people to get their flu shots.

First-year Business Administration [7] student Darcy Eligh says: “I think it should still be your choice, because it’s your body. I don’t think it’s right that some people can’t continue their jobs if they don’t get the flu shot.”

Eligh has never gotten the shot.

She choose not to because, she said, “I feel like you’re literally putting the virus into your body so that your body can build an immunity to it. And I see more people getting sick when they get it. So I just prefer to let my body do the natural thing.”

Despite there being strong opinions on both sides of the argument, Deans advises everyone to get the flu shot.