With influenza season arriving, Saint Louis County Department of Public Health urges all county residents six months of age and older to get vaccinated against the seasonal flu by the end of October if possible.

“Getting the flu vaccine and encouraging your loved ones to get vaccinated are important steps in protecting yourself, your family and the community against the flu,” said Dr. Fredrick Echols, director of the Communicable Disease Control Services at the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health. “Even if you encounter a flu strain not included in the vaccine, having been vaccinated will help decrease the severity of your symptoms and the length of your illness.”

To help combat seasonal illness, the county health department is hosting two flu vaccination clinics on Saturday, Oct. 27, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. One will be held at the South County Community Health Center, 4580 S. Lindbergh Blvd. A second clinic will be held at John C. Murphy Community Health Center, 6121 N. Hanley Road in Berkeley.

Flu shots are also available at the South County Health Center and other clinics during regular hours of operation. Visit www.SaintLouisCountyFlu.com to find other locations.

The costs of the vaccine through the clinics are as follows:

• Uninsured children will receive the vaccination for free; uninsured adults will pay $25.

• Insured adults and children will be billed through their medical insurance provider.

Adults with a severe egg allergy should be vaccinated in a medical setting and be supervised by a health care provider.

Every year, the seasonal influenza vaccine offers protection against different influenza types, based on recommendations from experts who determine which types are most likely to be circulating in the fall.

In addition to getting a flu vaccination, the county health department recommends other standard precautions against getting the flu. They include:

•  Wash hands frequently with soap and water.

•  Cough and sneeze into a tissue or into your sleeve.

•  Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth.

•  Try to maintain a distance of three feet between others.

•  Stay home when you are sick or think you may be getting sick.

If individuals think they may have the flu, the department recommends that they contact their health care provider. Flu symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headaches, chills, tiredness or fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.htm.