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Flu vaccines will soon be available

Although the peak of flu season is still several months away, many doctor’s offices, drugstores and health departments are gearing up for the vaccines.

“We haven’t received our vaccines yet, but we are anticipating getting them by the first of October,” Chilton County Health Department clinic supervisor Ludean Hicks said. “I have seen the signs popping up around town that some of the pharmacies already have them, but we usually get ours around the end of September or first part of October.”

While it is still too early to predict what the 2015-2016 flu season will be like, the Centers for Disease Control recommends that people get vaccinated against the flu as the vaccine becomes available.

“It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu,” according to the CDC website.

Doctors and nurses are encouraged to begin vaccinating patients by the first of October.

Children aged six months through age 8who need two doses of the vaccine should receive the first dose as soon as possible to allow time to get the second dose before the start of flu season, according to the CDC website. The two doses should be given at least four weeks apart.

Flu season typically begins between October and May, but commonly peaks between December and February.

In addition to the flu vaccine for everyone six months of age and older, individuals should take everyday precautions to avoid getting the flu such as washing hands to reduce the spread of germs, staying home from work or school to prevent spreading the flu to others, and coughing or sneezing in the crook of your elbow to prevent germs from spreading.

The CDC also recommends individuals getting vaccinated each year to provide the best protection against the flu.

For more information about flu vaccines, visit www.adph.org or www.cdc.gov or call the Chilton County Department of Public Health at (205) 755-1287.