MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WHNT) — Alabama health officials are boosting their efforts to encourage every Alabamian to get a flu shot ahead of what could be a particularly “viral” season.

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), health officials kicked off the “No Time for Flu” campaign in the hopes of helping to “stop the spread of the flu” through information and resources.

The campaign is a joint effort between ADPH, the Alabama Hospital Association, the Medical Association of the State of Alabama, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama.

Flu season typically runs from October to February.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend flu shots for everyone six and older, preferably near the beginning of the season in September or October. However, health officials say vaccination anytime during the flu season can reduce the risk of contracting the flu, being hospitalized for it, or even dying as a result of the virus.

What’s the best way to avoid catching the flu? Health officials offered a few tips:

  • Washing your hands
  • Covering your mouth or nose when coughing and sneezing
  • Staying home when you feel sick

The CDC says the flu can spread up to six feet away, especially when someone coughs, sneezes, or speaks. As many as 17 million workdays or $7 billion in sick days are missed every year due to flu-related illness, according to national health officials.

To learn more about the “No Time for Flu” campaign or find a place to receive a flu shot, visit alabamapublichealth.gov.