They're the questions that comes up this time every year: How bad is the flu season going to be this year? Do I really need to get a flu shot? and Will there be enough vaccine to go around?

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This week on the weekly, local public affairs program, Southern Tier Close Up, communicable diseases nurse educator for the Broome County Health Department, Maryanne Yourden addresses those questions and more.

The flu season will be getting started soon with the cold weather perfect for the virus to infect the warm, moist tissues of the human nose and lungs with potentially serious or deadly consequences.

Yourden says its recommended anyone over the age of 6 month be vaccinated against the latest strain of the influenza virus, which varies from year to year and can even mutate part of the way through the flu season.

While research is being done to try to find a vaccine that doesn't have to be modified based on whatever strain shows up in the Southern Hemisphere, scientists aren't there yet.

Yourden also points out there is a more potent vaccine for people over the age of 65 who have a harder time fighting off the flu.  She says there have been rumors of a shortage of that vaccine and some outlets may not have the stronger shot but it is get to get the weaker vaccine than have no protection at all.

You can hear more from Yourden on the flu, how to prevent it and even information on affordable vaccines on the Southern Tier Close Up Saturday at 12:15 p.m. on News Radio 1290 WNBF and on the Broome County Health Department website.