With the dreaded flu season upon us, Vanderburgh County health officials are strongly urging residents to get their flu shots early this year as a precautionary measure against the nasty bug.

According to the Vanderburgh County Health Department, both St. Mary’s and Deaconess Hospitals are currently fully stocked with the 2012/2013 vaccine, as well as vaccines for children being made available through the health department.

Health officials say that getting a flu shot now should provide resistance to the virus for a full year.

Contrary to popular belief, the flu can rear its ugly head as early as October and run on a strong path of destruction through the winter months of January and February before finally losing momentum sometime in May.

“The flu season, it will come, and there’s no way to predict whether it will be a good or a bad year,” said Dr. John Myers, from St. Mary’s Convenient Care in Newburgh.

Now through November 7, Deaconess is offering flu shot clinics for current patients during normal business hours without an appointment.

St. Mary’s is offering flu shots for walk-ins at its Convenient Care facility in Newburgh and at St. Mary’s Medical Center.

Children ages 6 months up to 18 years can receive flu shots Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday at the Vanderburgh County Health Department. Appointments are necessary but walk-in hours are available.