Flu season is on its way, and with it comes coughing, runny noses and sore throats. Clay County Public Health Nurse Kim Hyatt encouraged community members to get a flu shot.
This year, the three strains used in the flu vaccine are the same as last year's, including the H1N1 strain.
Hyatt, who gets the flu shot every year, encouraged community members to get the vaccine early.
"It takes up to two weeks to get protection after getting the shot," she said. "Then it lasts about a year."
To stay healthy through the flu season and keep others from getting sick, community members can do more than get the vaccine.
Hyatt mentioned people should wash their hands, stay rested, eat well, cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing and stay home when they are sick.
"It's all about preventing the spread of germs," she said.
The Clay County Health Department, located in the basement of Brazil Family Medicine, E. National Avenue Suite 100, provides flu shots for children 18-under for free. The office is open Monday-Friday, from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. For more information, call 448-9019.
Adults can receive the flu shot at their doctor's office or pharmacy. Most doctor's offices aren't carrying the vaccine until the flu season gets closer. For instance, Brazil Family Medicine will have the vaccine available after Oct. 1, and Internal Family Medicine Practice will have the shots available for their patients at the end of September.
CVS Pharmacy, 307 E. National Ave., has the flu shot available with no appointment necessary. The pharmacy is open Monday- Friday, from 8 a.m.-10 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
CVS will also hold clinics for businesses or churches. For more information, call the pharmacy at 466-2301.
Walgreens, 501 E. National Ave., takes walk-ins and appointments for flu shots. The pharmacy is open Monday- Friday, from 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Kroger pharmacy takes walk-ins for the vaccine, Monday-Friday, from 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Walmart pharmacy also has flu vaccines available with no appointment required. The hours are Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-7 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.