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Our View: Don't be sorry: Get your flu shot now

Last year was bad. Remember? The flu seemed to be everywhere. A Centers for Disease Control doctor even called it one of the deadliest flu seasons ever, according to a report published this week in the News Tribune.

So don't delay. Don't procrastinate. Don't put it off. Not this year. Get your flu shot. Heed the warnings from the experts and get your flu shot early — before you get sick and regret not having taken care of it.

Yes, it can be a chore, but this should help: Both of Duluth's health systems already have announced ample opportunities for influenza vaccinations, as the News Tribune Health page reported Tuesday.

At St. Luke's primary-care clinics, flu shots will be administered during regular business hours through November. Anyone can call for an appointment or can get a shot if they're there already for something else. Details, including clinic locations, are at slhduluth.com/primarycareclinics.

Essentia Health is offering flu shots at its various clinics, too,with no appointments necessary during business hours and on weekdays in October and into November. Call Essentia's Flu Vaccination Hotline at (218) 786-3589 for details, or go to esssentiahealth.org.

"The (flu season last year) was the first season to be classified as a high severity across all age groups," the CDC reported, according to the Miami Herald. The spread of sickness ramped up in November, "reached an extended period of high activity during January and February nationally, and remained elevated through the end of March."

So it was a long season, too, in addition to being severe. Remember? If it hit you, how could you forget?

Yes, the flu vaccine can sometimes be hit and miss. So, no, getting a flu shot won't guarantee not getting sick (though the CDC reports vaccines have been updated to better match currently circulating viruses). Getting a flu shot does improve your odds. And if you do get sick, chances are it won't be as severe if you're vaccinated.

Getting a flu shot is particularly important for children. It cuts their risk of death from the flu in half, the CDC has determined. Last flu season, 180 children died in the U.S. after getting sick, the most since 171 died in 2012-'13 — and 80 percent of them hadn't been vaccinated.

Flu shots also are important for women who are pregnant, protecting them and their babies even after delivery.

"You should get a flu vaccine before flu begins spreading in your community," the CDC suggests, according to the Herald. "It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against flu to develop in the body, so make plans to get vaccinated early in the fall, before flu season begins."

That's now. Or real soon. Don't wait to heed such sound good advice. Don't wind up sorry.

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