4 Vaccines Every Student Should Get, Even the Uninsured and Underinsured

4 Vaccines Every Student Should Get, Even the Uninsured and Underinsured
  • Opening Intro -

    You may think because you're young that you're resistant to certain illnesses and health aliments—but this could be further from the truth.

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The fact that you’re in a college setting actually makes you more at risk of contracting various diseases and viruses—after all, you’re surrounded by thousands of potentially sick students every day, you can make a bad judgment call under the influence of alcohol, and the added stressors of exams and projects can really break down your immunity defenses making you more vulnerable to common illnesses.

That said, you need to make sure that you’re safeguarding your health. Regular exercise and a good nutritious diet with foods high in vitamin c and antioxidants can help, but to make sure that you get added protection from illnesses that are typically specific to your age range, continue reading below.

Human Papillomavirus (Gardasil) Vaccine

Even if you aren’t sexually active yet, getting the full three dosages of the HPV vaccine can potentially save your life if you’re exposed to the STD virus later on in the future.  While more than 80 percent of sexually active Americans will contract the virus sometime in their life and will heal naturally within two years of exposure, a small percentage of HPV strains can cause permanent genital warts or worse—cervical cancer in women and penile cancer and throat cancer in men. Even if using protection, one can still potentially contract HPV since it’s a skin-to-skin contact virus, not bodily fluid. If you’re concerned you can’t afford the vaccine because you’re uninsured, go talk to a representative at your campus health clinic. The clinic should be able to provide a student discount for you or give you some payment plan options.

Hepatitis B Vaccine

Hepatitis B, on the other hand, is spread through bodily fluids— also through needles.  Essentially Hepatitis B causes inflammation of the liver. If caught early, medications can help regulate and perhaps even reduce the damage. However, depending on the severity, Hepatitis B can cause cirrhosis of the liver or even liver cancer. It can be a pretty scary and life-threatening ordeal.  So just to be on the safe side, it’s recommended to get your HepB shot.

Meningitis Vaccine

Most colleges require their incoming freshmen to get the Meningitis vaccine before they are allowed to enroll in classes, so you may already be vaccinated if you’re in school now. But if the vaccine was only optional then it’s highly recommended to get your meningitis vaccine. The vaccine helps prevent the exposure to an array of meningococcal diseases, particular meningitis which causes the membranes covering the spinal cord and brain to swell and become infected. This spreads like wildfire, thus if you live in a college dorm for example you’re at higher risk. Meningitis can be fatal. Like with most vaccines, this one can be pretty pricey too but do your research—often times, health clinics will offer discounted vaccines (around $20) near the end of each semester to help the uninsured and underinsured.

Flu

Lastly, it’s highly recommended to get the flu shot during flu season. The flu virus can be easily spread, simply on the bus or walking to class if you breathe in contaminated air or touch infected surfaces like keyboards and door handles. What a shame to get severely ill towards the end of the semester— near or during finals week. To help protect your body from this very common virus so that you can stay healthy and end the semester with a bang, get your flu shot. 

Susan Wells is a health writer for www.insurancequotes.org, a service that offers medical, auto, and business insurance advice. She welcomes your comments or questions.

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Categories: Student Health