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It’s time for a flu shot!

PRINCETON — The flu bug hasn’t yet taken a bite out of Bureau County, but health officials are beginning to gear up for the upcoming season.

Various flu vaccination clinics are starting to pop-up in numerous locations throughout the county, which residents are encouraged to take advantage of to ward off the nasty bug that ultimately finds its way into the area.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the seasonal flu vaccine protects against the flu viruses research indicates will be most common. This year, flu vaccines are made to protect against four viruses — influenza A (H1N1), influenza A (H3N2) and two different types of influenza B.

Sue Gorman, infection control nurse at Perry Memorial Hospital, confirmed on Friday zero cases has been treated this year, however hospital and EMS employees are preparing by getting their own vaccination.

It is unpredictable whether it will be a good or bad year for flu, however, Gorman confirmed cases usually don’t begin popping up until early November or December. She confirmed Bureau County began seeing cases of flu in early November last year, which was labeled an early season.

Gorman encourages residents to get a vaccination. She said Perry Memorial Hospital was fortunate this year as they have already received the seasonal vaccination, while other health facilities are still waiting on their supply.

She said one shot per year is enough. She confirmed the vaccine does not wear off throughout the season. If a person comes down with the flu after they have been vaccinated, it’s a sign the ever-changing flu organism has mutated and has infected the body.

Gorman also said the vaccination takes about two weeks to go into affect, so people shouldn’t wait until the last minute to get it.

To help prevent the spreading of germs, Gorman said keep hands washed and cover the mouth when sneezing or coughing. Also, take advantage of sanitizing stations at local stores or near hospital entrances.

Sue Cater, who is the school nurse for Princeton and Ohio schools, also confirmed she hasn’t yet seen any flu cases. While she is unsure whether it will be a good or bad year for the flu bug, she stays “pretty optimistic that it won’t be a bad year.”

Cater confirmed the schools will be holding vaccination clinics for local teachers and staff, as well.

“What we are stressing is good hand washing, that makes a big difference,” she said. “Also parents should really try to keep students home when they are sick.”

Cater said as the season slowly rolls in, people should stay informed and have increased awareness of what’s going regarding the flu season.

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