Peak flu season is still a couple of months away, but the CDC says to go ahead and get your shot. There is no 100 percent guarantee, but health officials say it is still the best line of defense.

Dr. Tom Price, former Secretary of Health and Human Services for the Trump Administration, says, "Vaccine effectiveness ranges somewhere between 40 and 60 percent each year. And that means that a person's risk of getting sick with the flu and needing to see a doctor are 40 to 60 percent less than someone who didn't get vaccinated, which are pretty good odds."

Price says last year's flu vaccine prevented an estimated 5.2 million cases of the flu.

This year more doses will be available and doctors hope more people will take advantage of those extra doses. Last year less than half of people across the country got their flu shot.

Channel 3 stopped by the local health department. Special projects supervisor, Sharon Goforth says while everyone over the age of six months should get their shot and some groups are more at risk.

Sharon Goforth, Hamilton Co. Health Department nurse, says, "Our younger population, our older population, and anyone with a chronic medical condition."

Goforth says 90 percent of flu deaths occur in those over the age of 65, which is why there is a major push to get people in that age group vaccinated.

The most recent statistics available show in 2014 there were eight flu-related deaths in Hamilton County. That number dropped to four in 2015.

In addition to getting the flu vaccine, keep in mind these other tips like avoiding people who are sick.

Goforth says, "The other thing you can do to protect yourself is to make sure you are mindful of people you are around who may be ill, especially with the flu."

And we can't say it enough: don't forget about always washing your hands.

Goforth says, "That's one of the biggest things you can do to make sure you are not transferring things to yourself, touching surfaces, those are contaminated, we touch our face, our mouth, our nose."

Also, if you become sick with symptoms like fever, cough and body aches, seek medical care, cover your cough or sneeze, and keep your immune system healthy, by eliminating tobacco products, having a healthy diet, and staying active.

If you are on the fence about getting the flu vaccine this year, health officials say don't chance it. Each each year 111 million work days are lost due to the flu.

The CDC is recommending everyone get their flu shot by the end of October. Here's a reminder: as of last year the nasal spray is no longer recommended. For more information on where you can get the shot, click here.

Flu vaccine will be available at all health department locations:

  • 3rd Street Main Campus
  • Adults - call for appointment 209-8340
  • Children - walk-in; call 209-8050 for more information
  • Ooltewah Health Center - walk-in; call 238-4269 for more information
  • Sequoyah Health Center - walk-in; call 842-3031 for more information
  • Birchwood Health Center – walk-in or appointment; call 961-0446 to make appointment or for more information.