The 411 on H1N1 shot

Vanessa Gomez

The fall months will bring on another flu season, where both students and administrators might find themselves suffering from flu symptoms and asking, “could I have the swine flu?”

In a recent edition of the New York Times, an editorial cartoon commented on the current swine flu, or H1N1 strain, by illustrating two different sized-pigs. The smaller pig was to represent the swine flu itself, while the other much larger pig represented the actual size of the hysteria caused by the pandemic.

The debate has been resurrected closer to our City College as we learn that Health Services will be offering the H1N1 vaccine for students starting in Oct.

Although some of us try not to fall for the hype, how seriously will City students be affected, and how afraid should we really be?

With CNN and MSNBC bombarding us with numerous reports of H1N1 deaths, many Americans were canceling vacations to Mexico this past April.

The pork industry reported a sharp decline in sales due to fear of dying from your breakfast bacon. We started to see the masked pedestrians and Purell stations popping up on campus. How can we as students protect ourselves?

And what about this shot? Who is eligible for it? There’s also talk of quantity and how many vaccines will be available, especially after the Health Services’ supply of flu shots ran out in two days. And how safe is the shot? How effective can the shot really be?

All these concerns could leave students wondering if the vaccine is right for them. Educating yourselves about the vaccine is the only way to make the best decision.

Remember that health fee you paid during registration? Why not cash in and pay City College Health Services a visit? According to Health Services, the most important step towards fighting H1N1 is to be informed about the disease.

Health Services aim to communicate with City professors to try and encourage a compromise between students and teachers if students miss class due to illness.

While it should always be the student’s responsibility to keep their professors informed on absences, maybe providing a doctor’s note will keep them from getting dropped and prevent infection among students.

Common sense with basic hygiene is a must, like washing hands frequently and being respectful of others by covering your mouth and using tissues.

Your personal physician or health care providers are great sources of information. Clinics around San Diego County, offering low-cost health care for students without insurance, are posted on www.sdcounty.ca.gov.

The CDC has set up a dedicated page about swine flu on its site. Going directly to the source of information, at www.cdc.gov, can help you avoid the fear-inducing broadcasts on TV.