Pharmacies, walk-in clinics, and doctor’s offices alike, have started to open up free seasonal flu shot clinics across the Greater Toronto area.

Between 3.4 and 8.6 million Canadians experience the flu each year, particularly seniors, children and those with chronic health conditions.

Health Minister Deb Matthews encourages Canadians to take proper precautions to prevent sickness by getting the flu shot. She will be attending an event Thursday to kick-off of the flu-vaccination season.

The event is being held at Shoppers Drug Mart (Yonge and Carlton location) on Thursday, Oct. 24 at 2:15 p.m.

Locations

The first of the flu shot clinics will open in Toronto on Oct. 31. For a full list of dates, locations, and times visit the City of Toronto‘s Public Health website. York Region, Peel Region, and Halton Region will also be hosting free flu shot clinics. Dates, locations and times are available online.

To find the closest flu shot clinic to you, the Ministry of Health offers a search engine based on your address or closest intersection.

Symptoms

Influenza is preventable and typically starts with a headache, chills and cough. Those are quickly followed by fever, loss of appetite, muscle aches and fatigue, runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes and throat irritation. Children are most likely to experience nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Most people will recover from the flu within a week to ten days, but some are at greater risk of developing more severe complications such as pneumonia.

For more information on how you can protect yourself and family from infection during flu season visit Health Canada.