By Dr. Deanna Lites

SOUTHFIELD (WWJ) – The flu kills about 36,000 Americans every year, according to officials a the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Infectious disease expert Susan Rehm says that while flu season usually starts to peak in December, outbreaks can happen now — so it’s not too early to get a flu shot.

It’s a good idea to get vaccinated early because it takes at least two weeks for antibodies to form so that you’ll be protected from the flu virus.

Rehm told WWJ’s Dr. Deanna Lites vaccination can also protect those around you.

“We know based on recent research from Cleveland Clinic and the CDC, that the more of us who get vaccinated overall, the better it is for people who are more vulnerable like older individuals,” Rehm said.

The CDC says this seasons vaccine has been updated to better match the viruses that are circulating. It’s recommended that everyone age six months and older get a flu shot. Certain people are more vulnerable to complications from the flu such as the very young and very old and people with chronic medical conditions.

Oakland County Health Department is offering flu shots for $25 throughout the month at a number of locations in the county. The high-dose flu shot recommended for those 65 years and older is $37 and is covered by Medicare.

Flu shots will be available at Health Division offices in Pontiac and Southfield from Noon – 8 p.m. Mondays and 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays beginning on Tuesday, Oct. 6. Walk-in clients are welcome. Patients may also pay online and register for a flu shot at www.oakgov.com/health.

The Health Division will also hold six walk-in community outreach clinics. For a complete schedule, visit this link.

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