COVID looms as Rattlers get ready for flu season

Photo courtesy: Rush University Medical Center

As the weather changes in Tallahassee, flu season becomes more prevalent. Flu season usually starts in October and continues throughout winter.

However, this year is unique because COVID is still very much present.

Respiratory illnesses such as COVID and the flu usually spread more rapidly in the colder fall and winter months.

Considering homecoming events and large gatherings during October, flu infections have the serious potential of being a threat in Tallahassee.

The CDC is warning citizens of a possible severe flu season ahead. Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky – who recently tested positive for COVID – is recommending that Americans receive a flu shot and possibly a COVID booster.

Walensky also has general advice during this time of year.

“Stay home if you are sick, avoid people who are sick, practice good hygiene, wash your hands often, and cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze,” Walensky said. If you do get the flu, antiviral drugs can shorten its duration and lessen its severity.

When students at Florida A&M University were asked about this flu season, they had interesting answers.

Thomas Dow II, a senior accounting student from Atlanta, says that he will be taking necessary precautions this year. He will watch his Vitamin C intake to boost his immune system.

“I plan to prepare for this upcoming flu season by having warm clothes, ginger tea and watching my Vitamin C intake to boost my immune system. I also plan to be cognizant of the change and fluctuations in the weather,” he said. “Other than that, I can only play it by ear and hope for the best.”

Jayda Miller, a fourth-year elementary education student from Tampa, is taking different measures this year than in previous years. She plans to follow COVID protocols and receive a flu shot vaccine.

“What I am doing to best prepare myself for this flu season is to follow COVID protocols. Since we have been living with COVID for some time now, I have plenty of hand sanitizer and I will be masking up when I can,” she said. “I will be getting my free vaccine from FAMU health services. Last flu season I did not get the vaccine and I actually got the flu. So I will make sure to wash my hands, get the vaccine to follow COVID protocols, and not to share drinks.”

Miller also works at a WT Moore Elementary School on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. She is taking this flu season so seriously because she wants to protect herself but also protect the children who she works with.

Local CVS stores and other pharmacies are giving out free flu shots and COVID boosters. Additionally, FAMU’s Student Health Services is providing FAMU students with free flu shots.