Fall officially arrives today, which is good news for the many Americans who count autumn as their favorite season. Football fanatics, of course, are among this group. They revel in a crisp afternoon, or evening spent sitting in the bleachers of their favorite football stadium.
Gardeners also find autumn a wonderful time for their pursuits. Pumpkins and squashes will need to be harvested, and of course this is the time of year for making apple butter and apple cider.
Many residents will spend hours this season raking leaves. Fall is also a good time to plant a tree or two. Trees planted in fall have ample time to establish root systems before summer.
Fall is also a time to take precautions. One of the most important is to make sure all heating sources in your home are operating properly and are free of flammable obstructions. We would also advise that you check all smoke detectors to make sure they are operating correctly before turning on the heat.
Autumn is the time to get a flu shot. Physicians say the protective qualities of the vaccine are active only for 90 days or so, which means the best time for vaccination is a month or two before the influenza season begins in earnest.
Doctors urge most patients — particularly those in high-risk groups — to get a flu shot early. Between 5 percent and 20 percent of the population is stricken with influenza annually. Of that number, about 36,000 people die and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized because of complications from the flu. It’s especially important for children and the elderly to receive a flu shot each year.
Fall is also the time of the year when wild critters are on the move. Bears, in particular, are known to wander into residential areas in search of nuts and berries. Homeowners can do a few simple but effective things to discourage bears from paying them a visit. One of the first things residents should do is to make sure they dispose of their garbage in containers that are sealed tightly.
Meanwhile, motorists should be on the lookout for deer crossing the highway. As we’ve noted in this space before, cars and deer are often a lethal combination. Such encounters are more likely to occur during deer hunting season — between late September and December — when there is a profound increase in the movement of the deer population.