It's not too late to get your flu shot this season

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If you haven't gotten your flu shot yet, it's not too late.

Oregon Health Authority begins tracking influenza cases the first week of October each year. They say the number of cases is now on the rise.

"Getting a flu shot now—before influenza season really takes off—is the best way to stay well this winter," said Dr. Jennifer Vines, Deputy Health Officer for Multnomah County.

OHS wants to remind people that influenza kills thousands of people in the U.S. each year. People at higher risk of severe illness or death are young children, adults older than 65, pregnant women and those with chronic medical conditions or weak immune systems.

The influenza vaccine is the best protection against influenza. Because the virus that causes influenza can change from year to year, it is important to get your shot every year.

They say it can take up to two weeks to become effective, so it is best to get your shot as soon as possible. Vaccinations are recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older.

Other ways people can help prevent influenza:

• Stay home and away from others if you are sick—that means staying home from work or school until you feel better.

• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue out and wash your hands when you are done.

• Wash hands with soap and water. Use an alcohol-based hand rub if soap and water are not available.

Influenza vaccine is available from health care providers, some local health departments and many pharmacies.

To find an influenza vaccine clinic, visit the Oregon Health Authority influenza prevention website and use OHA's influenza vaccine locator tool.

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