By Clarence Boyd and Maggie Little–

Once again we have just about reached that time of year. Temperature is ever dropping, leaves are completely falling off of trees, and there’s more night than daylight outside. When it comes to winter, a colossal of people have their pros and cons about this particular season. There are those who love winter. For others, winter is tolerable at most.

But the number one thing each and every one of us has to be concerned about is the dreaded flu shot.

The winter season is the home of every nose, throat, ear, eyes or head problem — probably stemming from viruses like strep throat or influenza. Yeah, influenza, full name, because once upon an era it was no joke. There was a time when people would sneeze and have to second guess if it was the beginning of the end for them. Do you know how many times I sneeze this time of year? Can you imagine a thought after a sneeze and thinking, “Might be the pepper I cracked on this meal, might be death! Ah, but ain’t this jazz somethin? Whoever says that they were “born in the wrong generation” can gladly go experience the age of influenza where every one was clutching their noses for dear life.

We accept the fact that winter is the “primetime” for sickliness. I’ve never really questioned why, until I did a little research. I found out that the different seasons affect our gene activity, and our genes fluctuate according to the time of year, with some more active in winter and others more active in other seasons. This change also affects our immune cells, thus leading to our immune system function.

We’re all human. Nobody is superman, and nobody on earth has an immune system that can fight off 100 percent of illnesses.

If you’re scared or have some other reason to not get a flu shot, here are some tips and suggestions on how to prepare yourself for the winter.

Certified weight trainer Alex Wilkerson says the best way to survive winter is vitamin C.

“That one vital ingredient is the answer to achieve and maintain a strong, healthy immune system. You get more vitamin C from the sun during summer. You don’t get it as much in the winter, so it’s important to get as much vitamin C as you can, whether it be from the sun, foods, liquids and anything else containing it.”

U of L student Cory Brown said, “Drink lots of fluid, water and juice, wash hands often, limit direct contact as much as you can from people, be sure to stay warm and dry off really well from showers and when you leave the gym from working out.”

Brown had us at “wash hands often.” It’s one of those things you just can’t erase from your memory after someone leaves the bathroom, hands unwashed, your mind and world shattered that there are grown people that still do this.

Senior JaCory Mullins said, “Wear layers of clothing, start and continue to eat plenty of fruit and limit vacations because the weather changes can mess with you.”

One tip that appears is, no matter how warm it gets or feels outside, continue to dress appropriately for the particular season—especially here in Kentucky, where the weather has a difficult time of making its mind up. Winter is lurking, so be a warrior, and don’t let it catch you off guard.