It's official. The flu season is now. But it's not too late to be immunized against the nasty bug.

"We would like to emphasize that while it is always a good idea that you get your flu shot in October or November if you are high-risk, it is not too late to still do it," Clatsop County Public Health Nurse Michelle Standridge said. "It doesn't appear that the flu season has peaked yet."

The flu season usually lasts through March and into April, and there are many weeks of flu season left to go. Being vaccinated provides protection against certain strains of influenza and can reduce symptoms if you do catch the flu.

Clatsop County Health and Human Services will hold a walk-in clinic for influenza immunizations from 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday at its offices at 820 Exchange St.

The FluMist live-virus vaccine nasal spray will be available to healthy individuals ages 5 through 49. Cost is $15 per dose.

A limited supply of inactivated shots, at $23 each, are available for people who meet Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines as highest risk for complications from the flu. They include:

• Anyone 65 or older;

• Healthy children 6 to 23 months

• People of any age (at least 6 months old) with medical conditions that make them at high risk for influenza complications, such as diabetes, kidney dysfunction, immune suppression conditions, regular medical follow-up or hospitalization within the last year and children receiving long-term aspirin therapy;

• Women who will be more than 14 weeks pregnant during flu season (typically ending in late March);

• Close contact with high-risk individuals, including family members and health care workers.

Basic good respiratory hygiene can reduce the spread of many infections, not just flu and colds. Remember these basics: Cover your cough. Stay home if you have a fever and a cough. Wash your hands.

Up-to-date information is available on the Oregon Department of Human Services web site at

(www.dhs.state.or.us) and the Centers for Disease Control at (www.cdc.gov), or call the Clatsop County Public Health Information Line at 338-3600, Ext. 4921.

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