LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) -

Flu season is almost here, and health officials say now is the time to protect yourself.

Gundersen health system is opening up its flu shot clinics, starting Monday. Nasal spray is not recommended this year, a change from previous years.

Officials at Gundersen say taking preventative steps against the flu affects everyone around you. They also say anyone that has a lot of contact with other people should be getting vaccinated, especially children and students.

"School is a very communal setting, and we don't want them to be taking the germs home from school and exposing individuals that are very vulnerable to serious illness from this disease,” said Gundersen Health System Infection Preventionist Marilyn Michels.

Mayo Clinic Health System also opened its flu vaccine clinics as well. Health officials say the vaccine is for everyone, not just those more vulnerable to the virus.

"Unfortunately, thousands of people die in the United States every year from influenza, you know not third world, developing countries. Right here in the United States. So it's really, really important, it's really easy, it's cost-effective,” said Mayo Clinic Health System Infection Preventionist Kellee Dixon.

In addition to the regular vaccine, there's also what's called the Fluzone High-Dose vaccine. It's for patients 65 years and older. It contains an increased amount of the active ingredient found in influenza vaccines and produces a more powerful immune response against the virus.