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Officials say now is the time to get your flu shot

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Nurses prepare influenza vaccine injections during a flu shot clinic at Dorchester House, a health care clinic, in Boston, Massachusetts Jan
Nurses prepare influenza vaccine injections during a flu shot clinic at Dorchester House, a health care clinic, in Boston, Massachusetts Jan

MERRILL, Wis. (WSAU) - Health officials say now is the time to get your flu shot.

Lincoln County Public health nurse Mindy Schwarz says the more people who get the vaccine, the more it will help yourself and the community. "You actually help carry that protection for those around you who either can't get vaccinated, but those who did get vaccinated but didn't carry the immunity for it." The flu season in Wisconsin generally runs from autumn to spring with peak activity around late-January or February, and it can take several weeks for the vaccine to get to full effectiveness.

Schwarz says the vaccine is around 60% effective in preventing an infection. "If everyone would get vaccinated, that would help cover the other 40 percent. Making sure, too, that if you're sick, you cover your cough, washing your hands, using a kleenex, throwing it away."

Schwarz says the flu vaccine is different each year and that staying up to date can keep you safe from the rapidly changing virus. "The CDC monitors what's going on around the world, and then they put in the strains they're seeing in the flu vaccine."

Flu shots are covered under most insurance plans, and your local health department will be able to administer shots to children in some cases. Otherwise, the vaccine is widely available at pharmacies and clinics.

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