Doctors are recommending that everyone eligible get their flu shot by the end of this month.

Last week, 11 News reported there were already three hospitalized cases of the flu in El Paso County - earlier than anticipated.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says October 31st should be the deadline to get the shot. As previously reported, this year the mist is not available. That's because according to research, it's not as effective as the shot.

11 News spoke with Walmart pharmacist Jennifer O'Brien. O'Brien says to get your flu shot sooner than later, because it takes two weeks to kick in. If get your shot and become sick right after, you've likely already been exposed before the shot.

O'Brien says so far this year, all 10 Walmart pharmacies have filled two to three prescriptions for flu medication in Colorado Springs. She says this also seems to be the trend in the Pueblo area, although no one has been hospitalized in Pueblo for the flu yet.

“We want to get the flu shot because no one wants to get the flu, and we also want to keep everyone else safe that is around," O'Brien says.

11 News spoke with one woman who plans to get the shot very soon.

“I definitely plan on it, because I do feel it’s really helpful. I’ve noticed that every time I’ve gotten it, and there was a time years ago where I never got it and I always seemed to get the flu,” says Linda Diskman.

For those who argue that they never get the flu, O'Brien says it's only a matter of time.

"Even if you’ve never had the flu, we can always be exposed to it, so it’s only a matter of time before you may be unlucky enough to come into contact with it and at that point, it is very possible that you can get the flu,” says O'Brien.

She recommends anyone older than six months get the shot, which is covered by most insurance plans and medicare.

"If you are younger, the elderly or have any chronic conditions, you are at a higher risk for developing the flu or complications from the flu," says O'Brien. “Once you come into the pharmacy, there’s a form you fill out. All pharmacies pretty much have that. It asks how you’re doing, making sure you’re eligible and you’re OK. After that, it just takes a couple minutes. We get the shot prepared, and we go ahead and administer it at the pharmacy.”

Contrary to popular belief, the season does not just start once it gets colder outside.

“The flu season primarily comes when people are in close contact. It’s not caused by changes in weather. You don’t get sick from being cold. However, when we’re cold, we’ll typically stay indoors more," says O'Brien.

On Friday, the Colorado Department of Public Health provided the following list of things to know about the shot this season:

• The CDC recommends only injectable flu shots this year. The nasal flu vaccine (FluMist) is not recommended this year.

• Some children 6 months through 8 years of age need two doses of flu vaccine four weeks apart. Ask your health care provider how many doses your child should get.

• People with egg allergies no longer have to wait 30 minutes after receiving a vaccine. People who have experienced only hives after exposure to eggs can get their shot at any location offering licensed flu vaccines. People who have severe egg allergies (symptoms other than hives) also can get any licensed flu vaccine, but it should be given in a medical setting and supervised by a health care provider.

• Some flu shots protect against four kinds of flu and some protect against three. There also is a high-dose flu vaccine for people 65 and older that can create a stronger immune response. However, it’s better to get the shot your provider has now rather than wait for a different product.

• Recent data suggests vaccine protection may wear off late in the flu season for people age 65 and older. However, since flu cases often start to increase in October, CDC recommends all age groups get the vaccination by the end the month for optimal protection.

Throughout the month of October, there are multiple events in the area, including free flu shot clinics.

On October 15, Walmart is holding its annual Wellness Day, with free screenings and extra pharmacists on hand to give immunizations. For more information, click here.

Penrose-St. Francis Health Services is also providing clinics throughout the month, while teaming with various community partners. These clinics are for adults and children older that 4 years of age. Anyone can attend, including those who are uninsured, under-insured or without vaccine coverage. You can read the list below or call Pikes Peak United Way at 211 for more information:

• Colorado Springs Fire Department
(375 Printers Parkway, Colorado Springs, CO 80910)
Saturday, October 8, 2016
9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

• Mission Medical Clinic
(2125 East La Salle Street, Colorado Springs, CO 80909)
Saturday, October 15, 2016
8 a.m. – noon

• TriLakes Cares
(235 Jefferson Street, Monument, CO 80132) Thursday, October 20, 2016 noon – 3 p.m.

• Antioch Community Church
(5855 Boone Road, Yoder, CO 80864
Saturday, October 22, 2016
7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

• Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church
(2715 East Pikes Peak Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO 80909 )
Saturday, October 22, 2016 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.
And Sunday, October 23, 2016 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

• Westside Community Center (gymnasium)
(1628 West Bijou Street, Colorado Springs, CO 80904)
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

• Cimarron Hills Fire Department
(1885 Peterson Road, Colorado Springs, CO 80915)
Thursday, October 27, 2016 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.

• SET Family Medical Clinic
(2864 South Circle Drive, Suite 450, Colorado Springs, CO 80906)
Friday, October 28, 2016
10:00 a.m. – noon


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