SEARCY, Ark. (KTHV) -- Flu season is here and several cases of the flu have already been reported throughout the state of Arkansas.

The Health Department is opening free flu health clinics early this year in every county to try and help combat the virus. They said the flu shot is a very simple process that could save your life.

All you have to do is go to the clinic, fill out a form, and the shot itself is over before you know it. It stings a little, but they said it's not bad at all.

RN Cora Godwin, clinic coordinator at White County Health Department, said there’s one side effect to expect.

“You can expect soreness on your arm as a side effect and whatever you take for minor aches and pains you can take a dose of that after the shot,” she said.

There's a few changes you need to know about when you go to get your shot this year according to Dirk Haselow, who works for the Arkansas State Health Department.


“There are a variety of preparations for the flu vaccine including a nasal spray that people get squirted up their nose, but this last year they've decided that vaccine didn't work as well so what is out there right now is only the injectable forms,” he said.

In an average year, he said one-third of Americans get the flu.

“It kills about 25,000 people a year on a good year and in a bad year it can kill three to four times as many,” he said. Clinics aren't the only ones getting a head start.

“School clinics are going to open statewide next week,” Dirk said. The Health Department said in some cases the shot may not prevent the flu, but it still helps. “It's much more likely to keep people out of the hospital or out of the grave,” he said.

Flu vaccines will be readily available any day at any of the clinics across the state and they are free.

For a full list of free flu clinics across Arkansas, click here.