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Free flu vaccine? Yes, free flu vaccine!

What is better than free? As a grand finale to National Influenza Vaccination Week, the Shelby County Health Department (SCHD) will administer FREE flu vaccines (while supplies last) to children and adults on Saturday, Dec. 8, from noon to 4 p.m. near the front entrance of Southland Mall, 1215 Southland Mall.

The event is open to the public, and families with children are especially encouraged to attend.

"This year's National Influenza Vaccination Week provides an important opportunity for our community to understand the importance of receiving their annual flu shot," said Yvonne Madlock, director of SCHD.

"Getting vaccinated is the single best way for individuals to protect not only themselves against the flu but their loved ones as well. Additionally, many may be interested in receiving the highly effective pain-free inhaled flu vaccine, FluMist, which does not require an injection."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone age 6 months or older receive an annual flu vaccine, particularly those at greater risk of serious flu-related complications like pneumonia that can lead to hospitalization and even death, such as the following:

• Children under the age of five and especially children under the age of two;

• Pregnant women;

• People with chronic illnesses like asthma, diabetes (types 1 and 2), or heart and lung disease;

• Adults over the age of 65; and

• Individuals who care for anyone in one or more of the high-risk groups listed above.

Others who should especially receive the vaccine are:

• Individuals who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities

• Individuals who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including health care workers and household contacts.

Symptoms of influenza include fever, cough, sore throat, running or stuffy nose, muscle aches (a hallmark of flu which is not present with a cold) and fatigue.

The flu vaccine is available at the SCHD, physicians' offices, pharmacies and other retail locations.

For more information, go to www.shelbycountytn.gov and follow the Shelby County Health Department on Twitter, http://twitter.com/ShelbyTNHealth.

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