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College students should get a flu shot

Updated: Jan 30, 2014 09:13 AM
© Jim Gathany / CDC © Jim Gathany / CDC

THURSDAY, Jan. 30, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- It's the peak of flu season, and not being vaccinated can be risky for college students, a doctor warns.

"Although college students generally are very healthy, living in close proximity to one another and attending large classes gives them more exposure to contagious viruses such as the flu," Dr. Susan Even, executive director of the student health center at the University of Missouri, said in a university news release.

Fewer than half of Americans have received a flu shot, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Even outlined other ways -- in addition to getting a flu shot -- that college students can protect themselves and others from the flu:

Follow good hygiene habits and avoid people with flu-like symptoms.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with your hands, which may be contaminated with flu germs.
Cough or sneeze into your sleeves or tissues, instead of your hands.
Don't go to school or work if you think you're sick, and limit your contact with others.

Even said school officials can help prevent the spread of the flu in several ways. They include:

educating students and staff about how to avoid catching the virus and giving it to others;
placing pumps of alcohol-based hand sanitizer in convenient locations around campus;
and hosting clinics that provide free or reduced-cost vaccinations.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about flu prevention.

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