What you need to know this flu season

MISSOULA - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is predicting that flu season will start again in the late fall and peak earlier than last year's flu season.

Every year as many as 200,000 Americans are hospitalized because of the flu and as many as 36,000 die of the disease or complications associated with it.

Health officials are recommending that people get the flu shot by the end of October to help prevent the disease this season.

Colleen Morris is the Missoula City County Health Department immunization services manager. She says that even if you get the flu shot and still get the flu, it doesn't mean the shot isn't working.

"Instead of being sick for seven to ten days where you just can't function, can't go to work, can't go to school, maybe for three or four days you don't feel great and you stay home from work," Morris says. "But you're going to be a lot less sick for a shorter amount of time if you get the shot, according to data."

However, officials say it is never too late to get the flu shot, and if you don't meet the October 31 deadline, it is still recommended that people get the flu shot.

Children under age one, adults 65 or older, and people suffering from certain medical conditions are at a higher risk of serious complications from the flu.

Flu shots are available at the Missoula City County Health Department and if you are 18 or older, you can go to a variety of pharmacies including Walgreens, Albertsons, CVS, Safeway, Costco, or Target. You can also go to your local doctor's office.

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