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You don't want to wait until the middle of the flu season because you don't know when the peak season will be.

A Centers for Disease Control doctor cautioned that the last flu season proved to be one of the deadliest.

"There is no live virus in the flu vaccines we provide", Schippert said.

The department will bill a patient's health insurance for the vaccine, but the patient will not have to pay out of pocket.

Berg said the nasal spray, called FluMist, was previously approved, but the recommendation was removed two years ago when the CDC's vaccines advisory committee received some data that questioned the nasal spray's effectiveness against the H1N1 strand.

"We hope people will get the vaccine, not just for themselves, but to protect people in their household and people they care for", Dillaha said. "This is given to people between the age of two years and 49 years and is not given to pregnant women, children under two years or the elderly over 65 years".

"Surprising to many, it can actually take up to two weeks for the flu vaccine to build immunity", explained Angela Patterson, Chief Nurse Practitioner Officer at MinuteClinic.

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Schippert said there is still a small percentage of the population that believes you can get the flu from the flu shot. Good hand washing habits are important in preventing the flu; however, the best way to prevent the flu is to get the vaccine.

This year's trivalent vaccines will protect against the A/Michigan strain, a H1N1-like virus; A/Singapore, a H3N2-like virus; and B/Colorado (Victoria lineage), while the quadrivalent vaccine will also protect against the B/Phuket strain (Yamagata lineage).

It is recommended that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October. The health department can now bill Aetna, BlueCross/Blue Shield of Illinois PPO, Health Alliance, HealthLink PPO, HealthLink HMO, Cigna and United Healthcare.

Sunday: Duplicate bridge, 2 p.m.

➜ 9 to 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9, at Iroquois Farmers State Bank in Iroquois.

September 26: Line dancing, 8:30 a.m.; Completely Unraveled, 9:30 a.m.; Commodities, 10 a.m.; Pinochle, 12:30 p.m.; Enhance Fitness, 1 p.m.; Dance featuring Craig Stevens, 7:30 p.m. Check the Department Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/RichlandCountyHealthDepartment for changes to regular clinic hours.