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Officials: Flu season is here

With the season changes and the weather turning a little bit cooler, most people suddenly realize the danger of influenza is just around the corner.

Usually the push to get the public vaccinated comes the last of October, but recommendations this year have come out even earlier.

Jason Daniel, marketing director for D.W. McMillan Memorial Hospital said the hospital has not seen many cases locally and that activity has been low.

“It is expected to pick up in the coming weeks, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC),” he said. “It takes about two weeks to develop immunity from the vaccination, so the CDC recommends to get vaccinated by the end of October. Ideally one should get the shot before the flu begins to spread in your area.”

According to the CDC, the flu vaccine for 2018-19 has been updated to better match circulating viruses.

“There is no way to know just how many shots have been given this year,” Daniel said. “The staff at D.W. McMillan is required to take the vaccination or wear a mask when in contact with patients. Last year, 2017-18 we had a 97 percent vaccination rate.”

The CDC urges everyone to get vaccination. In addition, other precautions to take are washing your hands to prevent the spread of germs, avoiding contact with people who are sick and staying home from work, school or other activities while you are sick.

For more information about the flu and flu prevention, contact the CDC or Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) websites.