Get your flu shot early

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Flu season will be here before you know it, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges Hoosiers to get their flu shots early.

Local health officials will soon be offering flu shot clinics. Also, AFC Doctors Express will offer flu shots as well as local pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens.

Here are some tips to beat the bug:

• Bring your own pen - to the bank, grocery store, even to touch the ATM. Anything a sick person touches can harbor germs, including money, mail, ATM keypads, elevator buttons, etc.

• Use paper - replace hand towels in bathrooms with paper towels. They're not as pretty, but paper towels can help get rid of a ton of germs that live in damp towels.

• Wash hands frequently - use soap, warm water and rinse long enough to say the alphabet or sing "Happy Birthday." Recent studies show plain soap and water work just fine.

• Use a proper hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) anytime you touch anything. Make sure you use sanitizer, even under fingernails, where germs hide.

• Clean with disinfectant - viruses and bacteria can live up to two hours or longer on doorknobs, mobile phones, toys, TV remote controls, keyboards, mouse pads, refrigerator handles, counter tops, railings, faucets, bathroom floors and more.

About the vaccine:

Vaccinations have been proven to decrease the incidence of influenza and its potentially deadly complications, particularly for those most affected by flu - children and seniors.


• The U.S. flu season can run from October through May.

• The CDC reports last year's 2012-2013 flu season resulted in more hospitalizations of people over 65 than any flu season on record. Flu-related illnesses cause some 200,000 hospitalizations each year.

• People most at risk of the flu and further complications are young children, folks over age 65 and pregnant women. However, the pandemic H1N1 that surfaced in 2009 was most common in teenagers and young adults.

• 90% of flu related deaths are people age 65 or older.

• The past few years, on average, 42% of Americans were vaccinated against the flu, meaning more than half of all Americans don't typically get a flu shot.