The whistling wind blowing through my hair,
The freezing fall breeze as leaves hit my face unaware.
Children and those childish crunching the crispy chlorophyll-deficient dead leaves
While pumpkins, skeletons, cavity-causing candy, and the thumping on your door everywhere.
Isn’t it nice minus facing your worst Halloween nightmare?


The sweltering sweat-driven heat along with the blazing sun one day
And the next filled with scarves, sweaters, and shivering with the sky all grey.
The bipolar weather, the colds you catch, and all the leaves to rake, isn’t it nice?
The family-orientated full feast with turkey and stuffing as the main entrée
Who can wait for the fall? Boots, leggings, and all the chambray 


As leaves turn from a vibrant green to a dull orange and brown,
And as beaming radiant rays turn to a cool crisp chill, that’s the summer breakdown.
Welcome to autumn, where the changing colors and weather make it all nice. 

Autumn is upon us. The changing leaves, the chilly breeze, and pumpkins fill the air. The onset of autumn brings changing the weather, colorful leaves, and the flu. According to the CDC, it is recommended to get your flu shot before the flu season begins, around late October. Even though the flu season usually falls during the fall and winter seasons, some students have already been diagnosed with the flu at Georgia Tech. One way to prevent getting the flu and other infections and illnesses, such as hepatitis, tetanus, and varicella, is by getting a vaccine. 

Vaccinations are a method of disease prevention. Vaccines contain residual culture material of the disease-causing agent that stimulates the immune system to develop antibodies and provide protection against the disease. Active immunity is a form of immunity where the immune system produces antigen-specific antibodies to establish protection from those diseases for the rest of their lives. Active immunity is obtained either through having lived through the disease or through vaccinations. With the advances of vaccines, the burden of infectious diseases has been reduced, eradication of diseases has been possible, and public health has increased. Contrary to popular belief, vaccines cannot give you the disease; most vaccines are given in the inactivated, or dead, form, and it cannot cause the disease. 

A common vaccine administered is the flu shot. Flu shots are administered annually during every flu season to increase your body’s immune response to the different flu virus strains. Since there are several different strains of the flu viruses, every year the CDC predicts the strains that will be the most prevalent and develops a vaccine to reduce the burden of the flu on the public. The flu, or influenza, is a contagious respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, body aches, chills, cough, and fatigue. In general, the symptoms of a cold do not include fever, headaches, and chills. The best way to recover from the flu is to rest, drink plenty of fluids, and stay at home to prevent spreading it to others. To prevent getting the flu or to reduce flu symptoms, flu shots are administered before the start of the flu season. The flu shot is designed to provide active immunity to the flu. Since the flu shot vaccine is made of either genes or inactive cultures, the flu shot cannot give you the flu. Some of the side effects of the vaccine can be confused for flu-like symptoms, such as soreness, swelling, aches, and fevers. 

The flu is a common illness during the fall and winter seasons. A great way to prevent the flu is to get a flu shot! Flu shots are administered in doctor offices, clinics, and even pharmacies. Georgia Tech’s Stamps Health Services is offering flu shots to the students and employees. For Georgia Tech faculty/staff employees, the Stamps pharmacy can administer flu shots. Georgia Tech faculty and staff can stop by weekdays from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm to get their flu shot! All you need is your insurance card and buzzcard, and for most insurance plans, the flu shot is at no additional cost. For students, there are several flu shot clinics offered in the upcoming months that are free for students who paid the health fee.

References:

Andre, F. E., Booy, R., Bock, H. L., Clemens, J., Datta, S. K., John, T. J., … & Santosham, M. (2008). Vaccination greatly reduces disease, disability, death and inequity worldwide. Bulletin of the World health organization, 86, 140-146.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC. (2013). Prevention and control of seasonal influenza with vaccines. Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices–United States, 2013-2014. MMWR. Recommendations and reports: Morbidity and mortality weekly report. Recommendations and reports, 62(RR-07), 1.

Prevention (US), National Immunization Program (Centers for Disease Control, & Prevention). (2005). Epidemiology and prevention of vaccine-preventable diseases. Department of Health & Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Rondy, M., El Omeiri, N., Thompson, M. G., Levêque, A., Moren, A., & Sullivan, S. G. (2017). Effectiveness of influenza vaccines in preventing severe influenza illness among adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis of test-negative design case-control studies. Journal of Infection, 75(5), 381-394.

Malina is a pre-med/pre-pharm second-year neuroscience student at Georgia Institute of Technology. Her passions include baking, sleeping, and drinking copious amounts of coffee.