Falling leaves and cooler mornings signal a change, a change that has people trading in their shorts and T-shirts for sweaters and long pants.
For many, the fall season is a warning sign that the cold and flu season is fast approaching.
“Because of the crazy weather in Tallahassee you get all four seasons in one day,” said Robert Benbow, a 20-year-old senior civil engineering technology student from Tallahassee.
Benbow, who said he gets the flu around this time of the year, is beginning to change his wardrobe due to the shifting weather.
“I’m wearing long johns, more clothes and I’m staying inside more,” he said.
Ernest Hoffman, an OPS physician at the FAMU Health Clinic, said the clinic sees quite a number of students around this time of year.
“Sixty percent of what we see are common cold and allergies,” said Hoffman. “This is not truly flu season yet.”
Hoffman said flu season starts late October and November and lasts through January and February.”The flu (as opposed to a cold) is much more severe and prolonged, with marked weakness and body aches and pains,” Hoffman said. “The cold is basically a chest congestion, nasal stuffiness and low grade temperatures.”
Martha Ross, the FAMU pharmacy manager, said the flu develops into more fatigue making it hard to get out of bed, and it may develop into a deep cough with yellow or brown mucus.
Ross added that trees are pollinating and the weather and temperatures are changing which may cause a person to get the cold or the flu. She recommends several precautions in order to help prevent getting them.
“Cover your mouth when you cough, and wash your hands and keep them clean,” said Ross. “Try to dress appropriately because you have to remember that in the morning the temperature will be cooler.and rest.”
According to the Food and Drug Administration website, the flu, short for influenza, can lead to more serious problems, like pneumonia, if not properly treated.
Hoffman said when students get symptoms of a cold or flu they should drink plenty of fluid, take vitamin E, maintain adequate nutrition and get plenty of rest.
Some students, such as Dondre Thomas, follow this advice when they feel they may be getting sick.
“I take lots of vitamins and I stay inside, depending on the climate,” said Thomas, 24, a freshman architecture student from Ft. Lauderdale. “I dress for the climate and drink a lot of fluids.”
Thomas said he gets the flu once or twice around the time when the summer changes into the winter.
For whatever the illness, whether it’s a cold or the flu, the health center may help.
Ross suggests going to the health center if symptoms last over 48 hours.
“I would suggest that students don’t wait too late to come,” said Ross. “You know in the morning if your sick or not.”