The Arkansas Department of Health will hold a mass flu shot clinic in Berryville on Wednesday, Oct. 24 at the Carroll County Fairgrounds from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
While there is very little flu activity thus far in this part of the state, the Centers for Disease Control recommends that everyone age 6 months or older receive a flu shot.
Flu activity is expected to increase in the coming months, and a flu shot is the easiest way to prevent the sickness.
The people most affected by the influenza virus are pregnant women, the elderly and young children.
"Getting an annual flu vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and your family against the flu," said Arkansas Department of Health Director Dr. Paul Halverson.
Flu symptoms include fever, headache, extreme fatigue, sore throat, achey muscles, dry cough, runny or stuffy nose, nausea and vomiting.
Walk-in and drive-thru flu shots will be available to Carroll County residents at the mass flu shot clinic.
For residents who have insurance, the ADH will ask their insurance company to pay for the cost of giving the vaccine. Anyone who has insurance, Medicare, Medicaid or ARKids First should bring their insurance cards with them so that the Department can file with their insurance company. Anyone who does not have insurance or whose insurance company does not pay will receive the vaccine at no charge.
Children eight years and younger should expect to need a second dose of vaccine for full protection. In some cases they may be able to get by with one dose, and a health care provider can help determine it is needed. Parents will need to contact a local ADH health unit or health care provider, to see if vaccine is available and take their children in for a second dose four weeks after the first vaccination.
Over the last 50 years, flu vaccines have been shown to be safe, the Health Department says. An average of 100 million doses of influenza vaccine is used in the United States each year, and flu vaccines have an excellent safety record.
Reactions to flu vaccines might include a mild soreness and redness near the site of the shot and perhaps a little fever or slight headache. The nasal spray vaccine's side effects may include runny nose, headache and wheezing, but the flu vaccine cannot give you the flu, health officials say.
There are very few medical reasons to avoid the flu vaccine. They include life-threatening reactions such as anaphylaxis to a previous dose of the flu vaccine or to eggs, or a history of Guillain-Barre syndrome. Persons with a non-life threatening egg allergy may be vaccinated but need to see a doctor specializing in allergies.
For more information contact the Arkansas Department of Health at 501-661-2169.