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Flu Season Arrives Early This Year

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CLARKSBURG -

The flu season has arrived early this winter, and now is the time to get a flu shot.

Jim Harris, who is the executive director of Health Access in Clarksburg, said its never too late to get one.

"No time is too late to get a flu vaccine, and certainly we would recommend getting it as quickly as possible. The problem with winter weather is that we're confined in spaces so that it's easier to contract the flu," said Harris.

Health Access is a free clinic. It gets its flu vaccines from donors.

"We have the vaccines that have been donated to us to give to our patients. Our vaccine this year came from the Harrison-Clarksburg health department and also from another national organization called Americare," Harris said.

Harris wants everyone to remember that it's smart to get everyone in your household vaccinated.

"It's really a good idea to have all persons over the age of six months vaccinated in a home. Especially if you have someone who is elderly in the home or who is immuno-compromised or has a serious illness because anyone can carry the flu in. So it's better to get everybody vaccinated," Harris said.

The staff at Health Access see first hand the importance of getting the flu shot.

"I get the flu vaccine every year. My arm may feel a little sore for the first day or two but it's not bad at all, much less worse than having the flu" said Rose Clark, a family nurse practitioner.

Clark said the clinic has given 150 doses of the flu vaccine to patients already, but it is expecting more throughout January.

"We'll continue to give it until January, because the flu season is supposed to peak in January or February. So we'll continue through January and try to hit not only the high-risk patients, but anyone who comes in now can get the flu vaccine here" Clark said.

Clark offered some advice for how to get over the symptoms if you do get the flu.

"If you get the anti-virals like TamiFlu within the first 24-48 hours it may help shorten the duration of the flu. And usually rest and drinking a lot of fluids, taking Tylenol if you can, it can help that," said Clark.

Flu vaccinations aren't just given at doctors' offices. You can receive them at drugstores like Walgreens too.