Imagine this: You have three assignments, an essay due and midterms aren’t far off.

Then you get the flu.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that flu has resulted in between 9.3 million and 49 million illnesses each year in the United States since 2010.

If you’re a student and happen to be one of those millions of people, you could quickly fall behind, and your GPA could suffer.

UTA Health Services is now offering flu vaccinations in its immunization center at no cost to students for the first time, according to a previous Shorthorn article. Students can walk into the Health Center where they will check in, fill out the necessary forms and head to the second floor. There they will receive a quick vaccination.

College students typically sit in close proximity to a number of different people throughout the day, making it even more likely for them to contract the virus.

The CDC recommends Americans six months or older get vaccinated by the end of October before the height of the 2019-2020 flu season.

The shot only takes a few seconds, and from there you’re done. That simple act of rolling up your sleeve for a prick on the arm may just be what prevents your absence from school, work and daily life activities. The CDC states that the flu vaccine can reduce the risk of contracting the virus by 40% to 60% when the vaccine matches circulating strains.

Despite the numbers, many misconceptions still persist about the flu shot. But experts say: you cannot get the flu from the vaccine, those who get the shot and still get sick have a less violent illness, and getting vaccinated can protect the most vulnerable people around you.

From 2018 to early 2019, an estimated 36,400 to 61,200 flu-related deaths were confirmed.By protecting yourself, you’re protecting others as well.

The Health Center is doing its part in offering the vaccination for students in an easily accessible way. It could be lifesaving.

Flu vaccinations can cost up to $50, but in the Health Center — funded by student fees — it costs students nothing.

So in between classes or before you go home for the day, take advantage of the free shot this year.

We would be better off because of it.

The Shorthorn Editorial Board is made up of opinion editor Jacob Reyes; Editor-in-Chief Reese Oxner; associate news editor Rocio Hernandez; engagement editor Edward Medeles; Amanda Padilla, life and entertainment editor; news reporter David Silva Ramirez and copy editor Andrew Walter.

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