The leaves are turning. Fall is here. The winter season is right around the corner. Which means it’s also flu season. The flu is a contagious disease that spreads around the United States every year usually between October and May. Influenza specifically can be really severe. It’s not your day in the park. I mean you’re going to have high fever. You can get really sick depending on the season. Tens of thousands of people in United States die of the flu. Flu vaccination is the best prevention we have for the flu. Certainly we all want to cover our coughs and wash our hands. Stay home when we’re sick. But in general the vaccine is the best way to prevent the flu. So one of the biggest challenges that we see every year with flu vaccination is getting people immunized. And the reason that’s a challenge is due to misinformation that can be out there either on social media or in mainstream media. So we want to make sure that people are getting factual information and the correct information so they feel comfortable getting vaccinated every year. When you get a flu shot you know the most common side effects or maybe some soreness at the injection site and some redness you might have a low fever but really serious adverse reactions are incredibly low with the flu shot. One of the benefits about vaccines including the flu vaccine is it doesn’t just protect the person who receives the vaccine the more of us that get immunized that are protected against the flu the less likely it is to spread in the population. For most people a flu vaccination can actually be free. Local pharmacies and local primary care providers almost all offer free flu vaccination. that’s covered under your insurance carrier. For children there’s also the childhood vaccine program which provides vaccination including flu vaccines for free to our local providers so children can see their primary care provider and adults can go to their local pharmacy or their primary care provider. We want people to get immunized before the end of October because we don’t know exactly when the flu season is going to start. It takes a couple of weeks to build immunity after you get the shot and it protects you for the entire season. For more information on flu vaccinations visit the Centers for Disease Control’s website or you can visit the Clark County Public Health website where we’ll post weekly updates on local flu activity during the flu season.