It may seem hard to believe, but the flu season is just around the corner. That means it's time to get a flu vaccine.

On Monday, all Gundersen Health System locations across the area began offering the flu vaccine, including the clinic in Harmony.

Gundersen is offering three different options for receiving this year's flu vaccine:

• Traditional flu vaccine - is a shot injected into the muscle and is available for anyone six months old and older.

• Intradermal flu vaccine - is a shot that is injected into the skin instead of the muscle. The intradermal shot uses a much smaller needle than the regular flu shot. It is approved by FDA for use in adults 18 to 64 years of age.

• Nasal Spray - is a mist that is injected into an individual's nasal passages and is available for individuals, ages 2 to 49 years.

Also this year there is a quadrivalent vaccine. This vaccine has two strains of Influenza A and two strains of influenza B.

According to Dr. Randi Berg, M.D., Gundersen Harmony Clinic, young children are more prone to get seriously ill from influenza B so they will be targeting this group with the new vaccine.

Certain medical conditions may prevent one from getting the vaccine of choice. If one has questions, consult with the nurse administering the vaccine or a primary care provider.

"Anyone who wishes to reduce his or her chances of catching the flu should be vaccinated," advised Dr. Berg. "It takes about two weeks for someone to develop protection from vaccine. Their immunity lasts about six months."

She says it is especially important for people who are considered at high risk for problems with the flu to be vaccinated including, those who are age 65 and older; people with health conditions such as heart or lung problems, kidney disease, cystic fibrosis, diabetes anemia, asthma, cancer and HIV/AIDS; pregnant women in their second or third trimester; children between 6 and 23 months of age; residents of long-term care facilities or healthcare workers who work in patient care areas.

The flu season usually starts slowly in November and can run as late as April in the United States. Most people who get the flu are sick for four to five days, but others, especially those with other health problems, may need to be hospitalized.

To schedule a flu vaccine, call the Gundersen Harmony Clinic at (507) 886-8888. For more information call the Gundersen Flu Line at (608) 775-0364 or go to