With flu season fast approaching, a variety of flu immunizations are available through the Pratt County Health Department.

Getting a flu vaccination is not only a good way to help prevent getting the flu but it also helps prevent other problems that can arise when people don't believe in vaccinations, said Deb McGraw, Pratt County Public Health director.

During a recent immunization conference McGraw attended, a guest speaker shared the story of how she did not believer in flu immunizations and did not get her 15-year-old son immunized.

He was taking part in an athletic camp and had developed the flu. He was pushed to continue doing the exercises and eventually died from flu complications.

He died because she had not given him an immunization that could have prevented disease.

When parents refuse to get their children vaccinated for any immunized preventable disease, they put that child at risk and other children as well.

If a child has not been immunized, they can become a danger for infants that can't be immunized.

Children that haven't been immunized might also have to miss school because their systems would vulnerable to those diseases that could have been prevented.

So it is in the best interest of all children to get the entire regular immunizations as well as getting the flu shot to protect them disease, McGraw said.

Flu vaccinations are available now at the Pratt County Health Department on South Main.

Usually, flu vaccinations are given from mid October to the end of December. This had been the suggested time for best coverage.

However, recent data indicates that flu vaccinations were designed to protect for an entire year so they can be given as soon as they are available and the recipient will be protected for all of flu season, McGraw said.

Three immunizations are available through the county health department: Nasal for $42, injection $33 and Fluzone for $51 for those 65 and older.

Nasal is an easy method for children because it doesn't involve injections. A simple spray and that is all, McGraw said.

The Fluzone is a more concentrated dose and is used for those whose immune system doesn't react as well to a regular injection. This is the first year for Fluzone and so far the response has been positive.

"People have been pleased," McGraw said.

The Pratt County Health Department is open from 8 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

No appointment is necessary. The person just needs to come to the office during regular business hours and bring an insurance card or cash or they will work out a payment plan.

Since patients are seen on a first-come, first- served basis, the person may have a short wait until the staff can administer the shot.