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Free flu shots available in Arkansas as number of flu-related deaths increases

As of February 8, the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) is reporting 125 flu-related deaths, which includes three children. (MGN Photo)

Arkansans can get free flu shots, regardless of a patient's insurance status, as the state continues to see a high number of flu cases and flu-related deaths.

As of February 8, the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) is reporting 125 flu-related deaths, which includes three children.

ADH says the flu shots will be given at local health units. Locations to local health units can be found on the ADH website at www.healthy.arkansas.gov/health-units.

Many doctor's offices and pharmacies also have flu shots available, though ADH says pharmacies do not give flu shots to children younger than seven-years-old.

"Even in years where the flu shot is not perfect, it is still the best protection from the flu that is available," ADH says.

Flu symptoms include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, muscle or body aches, fatigue and a headache. Some children may also experience vomiting and diarrhea.

Health officials report influenza antiviral prescription drugs can be used to prevent or treat influenza if started soon after symptoms begin.

ADH says you can help prevent the spread of the flu by washing your hands, avoiding people who are sick, coughing into your elbow, avoiding touching your face and eyes, and staying home when sick.

Groups of people at a higher risk for developing complications from the flu include children aged two-years-old and younger, adults aged 65-years-old and older, pregnant women, people with suppressed immune systems, people with chronic health problems, and residents of nursing homes or other chronic area facilities.

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