It's that time of year again.
Not just the start of school, or the kickoff to football season but yes-the start of the push to get people vaccinated against the flu.
Pharmacies and health departments around the country are beginning to offer flu shot information and even clinics in some areas before summer is over.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting a flu shot as soon as it's available in each community since the flu season can be unpredictable. In most communities, they become available in September and the immunity will last through the flu season.
To better prepare Washington County citizens for the upcoming flu season, the Washington County Health Department has scheduled office hours and two drive-through-style flu vaccine clinics before fall and the flu season begin.
The department will have flu shots available from 9 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 4 p.m. Mondays, 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays once vaccine arrives at the department at 342 Muskingum Drive.
The flu vaccine is available by shot or spray.
The flu shot is made with killed flu virus, given by needle, approved for use in healthy people older than 6 months, people with chronic health conditions
The nasal spray is made with a weakened live flu virus, given with a mist sprayed in the nose and approved for health people 2 to 49, except for pregnant women.
Flu shot clinics
Washington County Health Department, 342 Muskingum Drive - 9 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 4 p.m. Mondays, 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays once the vaccine arrives. Payment options are cash, check, Medicare, Medicaid and debit or credit cards.
The drive-through clinics will be from 9 a.m. to noon Sept. 9 on Buell Island in Lowell and Oct. 14 in the parking lot of the former Kardex facility in Reno for residents 18 and older. Payment options are limited to Medicare, Medicaid, cash or check.
The Marietta Health Department will give flu shots, once they arrive, on Tuesdays. Each shot is $25.
To help residents in Washington County, the drive-through clinics will be from 9 a.m. to noon Sept. 9 on Buell Island in Lowell and Oct. 14 in the parking lot of the former Kardex facility in Reno.
"We'll serve whoever is there," said Court Witschey, Healthy Communities coordinator and health educator. "We've gotten very good reviews and feedback (for the drive-through clinics)."
Witschey said if someone has a neighbor or family member who needs a ride to get a flu shot, that person can sit in the car and get the vaccination, Witschey said.
"Once the vaccine is released during flu season, we try to get them early during flu season at the beginning to help provide protection," Witschey said.
In 2012, the Washington County Health Department served 1,900 patients during the 2012-13 drive-through program.
For residents in western Washington County, White Oak Pharmacy in Barlow will have flu shots available for the first time this season. However, when they will arrive in the store is unclear.
"I'd probably wait until later in the season, like November or December," said White Oak Pharmacist Shane Wagner. "Because October is the beginning of flu season (according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), September would be a good time."
Jessica Barnes, wellness ambassador for the Rite Aid at 301 Greene St., Marietta said the store staff will be available at a booth at the Washington County Fair Aug. 31 through Sept. 3. Also on Sept. 3, staff will be at The O'Neill Center in Belpre for a flu season presentation.