Local health experts recommend getting flu vaccine as soon as possible

The flu season is almost here and local health experts are recommending people get vaccinated.

Local health experts are preparing for another flu season after more than 700,000 people were hospitalized last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It was one of the worst flu seasons we have had in close to 20 years now,” said Dr. Charles Peters, a consultant pediatrician with Mayo Clinic Health System in Onalaska.

The CDC control shows 180 children died from the virus last year, and 80 percent of those children did not receive a flu vaccine.

“Most flu seasons will start late November into December,” said Megan Meller, an infection preventionist at Gundersen Health System. “Last year was a little odd because we started seeing cases in the middle of October.”

Peters said parents should get their children vaccinated sooner rather than later.

“We are strongly encouraging parents to bring their children in for the influenza vaccine,” Peters said.

Doctors recommend people between the ages of 6 and 23 get the vaccine along with adults 65 and over, pregnant women and anyone with underlying health problems.

“The best that we can do is just to be prepared and make sure that we have as many people vaccinated as possible before the flu season really ramps up,” Meller said.

Peters said there are also some other common flu prevention tactics to keep in mind.

“We also strongly encourage people to engage in good hand-washing and to cover their mouth if they sneeze or cough,” Peters said.

Meller said the bottom line is to make sure the community is a healthy place for everyone.

“We want to keep people healthy and we want to make sure that something like the flu doesn’t catch people off guard and potentially ruin the rest of their year,” Meller said.

Flu Shot Options

Gundersen Health System

The flu shot clinics will be held on Gundersen’s La Crosse Campus on Level 3 of the Main Clinic and in the lower level of the Gundersen Health System Onalaska Clinic. Both sites will be open Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., through Nov. 21. No appointments are needed.

Flu shots are also available for anyone age 2 and older at ExpressCare clinics, located in the Village Shopping Center and in Crossing Meadows Shopping Center in Onalaska. Gundersen clinics throughout the area are also offering the flu vaccine. Also, Cass Street Pharmacy will offer flu shots for anyone 6 years old and older.

Mayo Clinic Health System

La Crosse Flu Vaccine Clinic

608-392-9633

Ages 3 and older

October 9 – November 15

Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday – 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Closed Monday and Friday
Regula Conference Room, first floor of the Professional Arts Building, 615 10 th Street South

Appointments are encouraged, but walk-ins are also welcome.

The regular flu shot, senior high dose and limited nasal-spray will be available. Insurance will be filed.

Clinic at Belle Square
232 3 rd Street North
608-392-7400
Ages 3 and older
Vaccine available. No appointment necessary.

Pediatric and Family Flu Vaccine Clinic

La Crosse Pediatrics Department, 800 West Avenue South
608-392-9881

Open to all 6 months and older

Thursday, October 18: 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Tuesday, November 27: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Onalaska Flu Vaccine Clinics

191 Theater Road
608-392-5000

Open to all ages

Tuesday, October 16, 5:15 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday, October 20: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Wednesday, October 24: 5:15 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday, November 3: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

La Crescent Clinic
524 North Elm Street
507-895-6600
Open to all ages
October 12, 22
November 1, 2 and 16
Call for an appointment during regular clinic hours.

Holmen Clinic
1303 Main Street South
608-526-3351
Open to all ages
Flu vaccine available starting October 24.
Call for an appointment during regular clinic hours.