They say flu season starts in October and ends in the spring, usually April or May. This is the end of September and a mass flu clinic will be done in Paris and Booneville next week.

But that leaves one big question unanswered. What kid of flu season will we have?

“That’s the one million dollar question,” said Dr. Jason Richey of Paris, who practices medicine at the Mercy Clinic in Paris.

But there is good news. Australia often times mirrors our flu season.

“A TV program recently said Australia has a mild flu season,” Dr. Richey said last week. “Last year was the worst flu season we’ve had since 1994. We could have a mild season because Australia did.”

But there is one thing Dr. Rickey knows for sure.

“Don’t skip the flu vaccine this year,” he said. “Definitely get the flu vaccine especially if you are high risk — suffering from COPD, a cancer patient, you have diabetes or you are a child.”

The flu season here begins in October and peaks in February, Dr. Richey said. He also stresses that anyone can get the flu and the flu shot is recommended if you are above six weeks of age.

“We’ve already seen the flu here in this area,” he said. “It’s less than five cases. It began here four to six weeks ago.”

Of course, the weather will have something to say about how much flu we see this year. If it’s a mid winter, we’ll see less.

“The harsher the winter, we’ll see more flu viruses,” he said. “Those viruses love a cold environment.”

Dr. Richey also said that Mercy may open a Saturday clinic here in anticipation of flu season.

“I think we’re going to do a Saturday clinic here,” he said. “We’ll take care of a lot of people with that. Oh my gosh, we were busy last year. We did a (Saturday) clinic at Mercy in Fort Smith last year.”

Following the mass clinic next week in Paris and Booneville, the Arkansas Health Department Unit in Logan County will start clinics in the schools on Oct 15.