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Knox County Health Department offers free flu vaccinations

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - The Knox County Health Department is offering free flu vaccinations. They are encouraging everyone to protect yourself and your loved ones this season.

This effort is coming after the state's Department of Health said three children have died of the flu in the state so far this season. Two of them were in East Tennessee.

Dr. Martha Buchanan, the director of the Knox County Health Department, said they are seeing more cases of the flu in Knox County.

Knox County Health Department is providing free flu vaccinations while supplies last at all three of its locations: the main location at 140 Dameron Avenue, West Clinic at 1028 Old Cedar Bluff Road, and Teague Clinic at 405 Dante Road.

To reduce wait time, appointments are recommended by calling (865) 215-5070. Clinics are open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Dr. Buchanan is urging parents to get protected, too. She said it is even more important if their baby is younger than six months and therefore, cannot get vaccinated.

"They need to protect that baby with a cocoon of people who are vaccinated around them so they are less likely to make that very vulnerable baby sick."
she said.

If you do get sick, she said one of the best things to do is stay home and rest.

Hospitals in East Tennessee are seeing an increase in flu cases. Dr. Buchanan urges people to call their doctor first before going to the emergency room.

"If you have shortness of breath, if you're fever is very high and you are getting sicker and sicker, you might consider going to the emergency room,"
said Dr. Buchanan.

Flu symptoms can include a fever, sore throat and even fatigue. The Knox County Health Department says most people with the flu do not need medical care or antiviral drugs.