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How to kill the 100-day cough

Book an appointment at Health Services for routine shots
January 23, 2017
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By Aviva Engel

The chilly season is here, which means there are plenty of germs flying around and many reasons to ensure your vaccines are up to date.

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Concordia’s Health Services is raising awareness about its Routine Adult Vaccine Program — an important opportunity to give your body a vital boost against everything from measles to shingles, often at little or no cost and in complete confidentiality.

Concordia Health Services has reason to be proud of its vaccine program.

 “Health Services is pushing the envelope on how large-scale vaccinations are being carried out on campus,” says Gaya Arasaratnam, director of Campus Wellness and Support Services.

On a recent site visit, Montreal's director of publich health commended Concordia's Health Services for its proactive model for student health.

Not sure whether or not to get vaccinated? Here are four points to consider.

 

1. You may have missed childhood vaccinations

Perhaps your parents chose not to have you vaccinated, or childhood vaccines weren’t always available. And, depending on your birthplace, you may not have been exposed to illnesses like chickenpox.

“Chickenpox in an adult is more severe than it is for children and can result in hospitalization,” says Gabriella Szabo, health promotion specialist. “We can start you on your vaccines from the very beginning, or simply update any that need a booster.”

Students are often due for a tetanus and pertussis booster when they start university. These can be administered in one shot.


2. Viruses like measles, mumps and rubella are still around

While there’s a tendency to think that no one gets illnesses like measles or mumps anymore, those viruses — as well as pertussis (whooping cough) and polio — have not yet been eradicated. In the developed world, these infections are rare precisely because of the vaccines’ effectiveness.

Nonetheless, as Szabo notes, there have been a number of mumps outbreaks at universities, including at Harvard University in Massachusetts and at several midwest colleges.

“When you’re sick with measles or the mumps, you are ill and bedridden for many days, which can really affect your work and your ability to fulfill your responsibilities,” says Szabo.

“Pertussis is called the ‘100-day cough.’ Imagine trying to get through term with a body-wracking cough.”


3. The benefits of vaccination far outweigh any potential risks

Vaccines greatly reduce your chance of getting and spreading illness, but never forget the basics: you still have to wash your handscover your cough, eat well and otherwise keep yourself healthy.

While some people do suffer from side effects, these are usually mild, and far less serious than the infection that the vaccine is preventing.


4. Getting yourself vaccinated gives a boost to the entire community

Whether at work, in class, on the bus or in line at the coffee shop, you regularly come into contact with vulnerable individuals.

“We have a responsibility to people around us who may be immunocompromised,” says Szabo. “People living with HIV or cancer are at greater risk of complications from these illnesses. Further, some vulnerable people, including babies and people with certain medical conditions, cannot safely receive vaccines, so they are counting on community immunity to avoid catching these infections. Updating your vaccines can help you to protect the people you are learning about and working to serve.”


Health Services has clinics on both campuses.
For more information about vaccines, visit the web page about the vaccine program and book an appointment with a nurse or health-promotion specialist by calling Health Services at 514-848-2424, ext. 3565.

 



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