The Jefferson County Health Unit, 2306 Rike Drive, will offer flu vaccinations at the local health department from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27.


People should bring their insurance cards to the flu vaccine clinic. If they don’t have insurance, or the insurance doesn’t cover flu shots, the vaccine will be free, according to a news release.


“We want Jefferson County residents to stay healthy this flu season, and getting a yearly flu vaccination is the best line of defense,” said Angela Parker, Administrator at the Jefferson County Health Unit. “We encourage everyone to come to the mass clinic or the local health unit to get their flu shot.”


Annual flu vaccination is recommended for most adults and children six months and older. The flu virus changes from year to year, and this year’s vaccine protects against the flu viruses that are expected to cause the most illness this flu season, according to the release.


The local health unit is part of the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH.)


“The flu should not be taken lightly,” said Dr. Jennifer Dillaha, medical director for immunizations at ADH. “We are encouraging everyone to get a flu shot to protect themselves and their families, because it is hard to predict in advance how severe the flu season is going to be.”


People of all ages can get the flu. Certain people are more likely to have serious health problems if they get the flu. This includes older adults, young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), people who smoke, and people who live in nursing homes, according to the release.


ADH strongly recommends that people in these groups get a flu vaccine. Friends, family members and people who provide care to people in these groups should also get a vaccine — not only to protect themselves, but also to decrease the possibility that they might expose people to the flu.


The flu vaccine is safe and doesn’t cause the flu. Some people may have mild soreness and redness near the site of the shot and a low fever or slight headache. There are very few medical reasons to skip the flu vaccine. These include life-threatening allergic reactions to a previous dose of the flu vaccine or an ingredient in the vaccine. People with allergies to vaccine ingredients can often receive the vaccine safely, if it is given in a doctor’s office where they can be monitored, according to the release.


The flu is easily spread through coughing or sneezing and by touching something, such as a door knob, with the virus on it, and then touching their nose or mouth. Good hand washing habits are important in preventing the flu; however, the best way to prevent the flu is to get the vaccine.


Details: Jefferson County Health Unit, 870-535-2142 or www.healthy.arkansas.gov or www.flu.gov .