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Time for Flu Shots

The Tennessee Department of Health is encouraging all Tennesseans not to wait to get their annual flu vaccinations as the best prevention against getting or spreading the flu virus.

“The elderly, people with chronic medical conditions, pregnant women, and young children are all at risk of severe complications if they get the flu,’’ TDH Commissioner Ralph Alvarado, MD, FACP said. “Flu activity is expected to grow from this point forward, in Tennessee and nationally. So, please don’t delay getting a flu vaccine. It’s the best way to protect yourself, your family, and your neighbors.”

All Tennesseans, six months and older, are eligible to get the flu vaccine. Nationally, 7.5 million illnesses, 105,000 hospitalizations, and 6,300 deaths could be prevented annually if more people choose to get a flu vaccine. The flu vaccine is safe and effective and can protect against the most common types of circulating flu viruses, and the flu’s worst symptoms.

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County Health Departments will offer free flu vaccines to the public beginning Nov. 1, 2023, at more than 100 locations across Tennessee. Visit TDH’s Fight Flu webpage to find a TDH location, and its address and hours of operation, where the flu vaccine will be free, beginning Nov. 1, 2023. No appointment needed.

The Fight Flu ‘23 event is TDH’s annual, large-scale preparedness exercise where medical staff and teams at county health departments statewide practice their emergency response plans using free flu vaccine for the public.

Avoid close contact with those who are sick with the flu. If you become sick, limit contact with others as much as possible and stay at home. Wash your hands often with soap and water, and cover your nose and mouth with a tissue, or with your arm at the elbow, when you cough or sneeze.

If you do get the flu, your doctor may prescribe antiviral drugs as treatment. Antivirals can make flu symptoms milder and shorten the time someone is sick with the flu. Antivirals are not available as an over-the-counter flu treatment and should be taken only as prescribed by a physician or health care provider.

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Flu symptoms can range from mild to severe and include muscle aches, fever, fatigue, sore throat, cough, headaches, and stuffy or runny noses.

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