“Don’t wait – vaccinate!” That’s the slogan taking hold this month as the flu season is coming, and the first and most important step in preventing the spread of flu is to get a vaccine each year.

The County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health will present two free flu vaccine clinics in the city of Santa Clarita, with shots provided at no charge for those who don’t have health insurance or those whose healthcare providers do not offer flu vaccines. Clinics will be provided on Thursday, Oct. 18, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Canyon Country Community Center, 18792 Flying Tiger Drive; and Monday, Oct. 22, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Newhall Community Center, 22421 Market St.

Flu vaccines are for everyone six months and older, especially for healthcare workers, at-home caregivers, pregnant women, new mothers, elderly people, children under five and those with chronic medical conditions. The flu vaccine has been shown to reduce flu-related illnesses and the risk of serious secondary infections that can result in hospitalization or even death. The flu can cause mild to severe symptoms and complications, and infections can come on suddenly.

Health professionals say the best way to prevent the seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year, but good health habits can help stop the spread of germs and prevent the flu.  

When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and wash your hands often to protect yourself from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth because germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches one of these areas. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.

Call your health care provider before getting vaccinated if you have questions about a severe egg allergy or if you have another illness before the vaccine clinic. If you don’t have a regular provider, call 2-1-1 for a list of no-cost or low-cost providers.

Clinic dates and times are subject to change. For more details, call (661) 287-7040.