Like death and taxes, at least one thing is certain of the approaching season: the flu.
In an attempt to suppress the rapidly spreading virus, the Fulton County Health Unit is taking part in a statewide, one-day mass flu vaccination clinic.
Free influenza shots will be administered at the Salem High School Gymnasium from 9 a.m. to noon Nov. 10.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the average flu season generally begins in November and lasts through May.
Though individuals who contract the highly contagious virus often recover within a few days, influenza can develop into life-threatening illnesses such as pneumonia.
The flu is spread from person to person in "respiratory droplets" via coughs and sneezes. This occurs when individuals come into contact with a cough or sneeze from an infected person or touches infected respiratory droplets on an object and then touches their own mouth or nose before washing their hands, said the CDC Web site.
The influenza vaccination is 70-90 percent effective against infection and can decrease the severity and side effects in individuals who get infected.
Not only does the clinic provide area residents the opportunity to get free flu shots, but it is also an exercise of Fulton County's mass dispensing plan, according to an Arkansas Department of Health press release.
If Arkansas was to experience a pandemic flu or similar disaster, public health response teams, healthcare providers, county governments and emergency management groups would be expected to "mobilize quickly and activate their emergency response plans." This one-day event will ensure that Fulton County's emergency response teams will be ready with an organized plan if a threatening scenario was to occur, the press release said.
After this free clinic, vaccination shots will be $20 per person for anyone not enrolled in Medicare or Medicaid or the Vaccines for Children Program.
For more information about the free vaccinations or influenza contact the Fulton County Health Unit at 895-3300 or to www.cdc.gov/flu.