Flu season will be here soon, and doctors, pharmacies and health departments are ready.
The flu is expected to arrive in central Indiana next month, stick around until May and make people miserable in January and February.
Central Indiana has received its share of the nearly 73 million doses of flu vaccine manufacturers have distributed so far.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone over the age of 6 months get a flu shot.
For people who refuse to roll up their sleeves because they're afraid of needles, there are a couple of ways around that.
Heather Hughet, with Visiting Nurse Service at St. Francis, said the nasal spray option goes over well with children.
A new option this year is the shorter needle vaccine that uses a needle that is 90 percent smaller than a typical needle.
It's said to be less painful because it's injected just under the skin instead of into the muscle.
People with concerns about thimerosol -- the preservative used in many vaccines -- can choose between a thimerisol-free shot or the nasal spray.
"We're trying to make it an easy option for anyone," Hughet said. "Please get your flu shot. Even if you think, 'Oh, I'm healthy. I never get sick.' Maybe that's true, this is your lucky year and you won't get it. But, you can still be a carrier."
This year's vaccine protects against three viruses, different from the batch made last year.
Simply put, last year's shot isn't enough to protect against this season's flu bug. Skipping a year isn't recommended.
"Influenza virus is a very challenging virus," said Indiana Health Commissioner Gregory Larkin. "The vaccine, particularly once given on a regular basis, provides a good high level of protection."
After receiving a flu shot, it takes a couple weeks to develop an immunity to the virus, so people should be vaccinated sooner rather than later.
Community flu clinic locations include:
- Oct. 1, 9-11 a.m. Old Bethel United Methodist Church, 7995 E. 21st St.
- Oct. 2, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Southport Presbyterian Church, 7515 McFarland Blvd.
- Oct. 4, 2-4 p.m. South District Health Office, 505 E. National
- Oct. 5, 9-11 a.m. Northwest District Health Office, 6940 N. Michigan Road
- Oct. 10, 3-6 p.m. Jewish Community Center, 6701 Hoover Road
- Oct. 16, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Southport United Methodist Church, 1947 E. Southport Road
- Oct. 16, 9-11 a.m. Northeast District Health Office 6042 E. 21st St.
- Oct. 25, 9-11 a.m. Cathedral Kitchen, 1350 N. Pennsylvania St.
- Nov. 1, 9-11 a.m. Georgetown Office, 3972 Georgetown Road
- Nov. 8, 9-11 a.m. Chin Community Center, 2532 E. Stop 11 Road
- Nov. 13, 9-11 a.m. Northeast District Health Office, 6042 E. 21st St.
For more information, call the Flu Clinic Hotline at 317-221-2121.