HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT)-- Although the Centers for Disease Control reports there is little seasonal flu activity so far this season, doctors recommend getting vaccinated now before the flu season even begins.
Flu season usually begins in October but can last through May.
"This year's flu season like any flu season is difficult to predict," says Madison County's top health official, Dr. Lawrence Robey. "Last year we had one of the lightest flu seasons in recent memory partly because of the mild winter."
Partly also, Dr. Robey says, because of ample vaccine supply and adequate immunization.
"Last year and based on the early reports this year there should be an ample supply so that anyone who wants a flu vaccine should be able to get a dose."
Vaccine for this year's influenza season has begun shipping from manufacturers. But Dr. Robey says while the supply is ample, there are also plenty of myths and misconceptions about the virus and the vaccine.
"For example," Robey says, "people think influenza can be very mild--no, it can be very dangerous--particularly in young people and people with chronic illnesses. Not every virus is the flu. You hear people say 'I had the stomach flu'. There is no such thing as the stomach flu," Robey added.
While Dr. Robey says a flu shot is one of the quickest and easiest ways to prevent disease, Madison County's health officer says reminds the community to not forget the basics like proper hygiene, including frequent hand washing and a balanced diet.
"Particularly fresh fruits and vegetables," says Robey, "and get plenty of rest and relaxation during the fall and winter months."
The Madison County Health Department has scheduled 5 free flu clinics throughout the county for the week of September 17. Click the link for a complete list of Madison County free flu shot clinics and locations.