It is time for flu shots ahead of the 2012 season

CUDAHY -- Last year, about 128 million people rolled up their sleeves for a shot in the arm to protect themselves against the flu. Last year's flu season was relatively mild, according to officials, but Centers for Disease Control officials are reminding people a flu shot is always a good line of defense -- as the flu season approaches.

"By getting the vaccine, you are reducing your risk of getting multiple strains of influenza that are considered the highest-risk viruses in the course of the year," Dr. Mark Obermyer with Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin said.

Tom Hand got his flu shot Wednesday, October 10th during a clinic at the Kelly Senior Center. Hand says he's received a flu shot every year since his days as a Hospital Corpsman in the Navy.

"It's easy to do and it prevents a lot of misery. You can have peace of mind that you're not going to get the flu," Hand said.

Doctors say it's important for everyone to get a flu shot -- especially children, the elderly, and those with chronic respiratory problems.

"Most influenza vaccines are a killed vaccine which tries to expose your immune system to a small particle of the virus so you can build an immune response to it," Dr. Obermyer said.

Doctors say there still is a chance those who receive the vaccine can get the flu, but it reduces that risk by about 50%.

"The main reason to get (a flu shot) this time of year is primarily because you're trying to get it before the flu season starts. Typical flu season starts about the end of December or early January -- extending all of the way to March and April in most years," Dr. Obermeyer said.

A flu shot clinic will be offered Thursday, October 18th at the Clinton Rose Senior Center from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. and on Wednesday, October 24th at the Wilson Senior Center from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.

CLICK HERE for additional information on the flu and the flu vaccine via the CDC's website.