With flu season approaching, health officials are urging people to get flu shots while Madison researchers continue to try to improve the annual vaccine and prepare for pandemics — work boosted by new funding from the Gates Foundation.

Influenza typically picks up in November or December and peaks in January or February while continuing to circulate until spring. Everyone six months and older should get a flu shot or the nasal spray vaccine, preferably by the end of October, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The flu can be dangerous for many people, including pregnant women, young children, people age 65 and older, and others whose immune systems aren’t working well,” Jeanne Ayers, health officer for the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, said in a statement last week. “Getting your flu vaccine protects you and so many others in your community, and helps prevent missed school or work.” Read the full story here.