This article comes from our electronic archive and has not been reviewed. It may contain glitches.

Call it a shot of prevention. Fall is already in full swing, and the official start of winter is a mere 75 days away. Face it: Crisper, colder days will soon be a reality.

Most adults are good about buying the proper coats, gloves and scarves for their children. And many parents make sure their children are immunized.

But too often adults forget to take the necessary precautions for their own good health -- until they get sick. Now is the time to take a proactive approach to good health this winter. All adults should consider taking a flu vaccination to ward off serious illness.

Money's not an issue. The Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center offers the flu vaccinations free, although they do request a donation of up to $5 to offset supplies.

Don't use time as an excuse. The county health department offers the shots on a walk-in basis. Flu shots are available from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 4 p.m. at 1121 Linden in Cape Girardeau. The department has also scheduled a number of satellite clinics in the region.

In the past, high-risk people were particularly targeted for flu shots. But today the health department is seeing greater numbers of people not considered high risk. It is available to anyone who wishes to avoid catching the flu.

Employers are pushing the shots to help cut down on lost days due to sickness. Persons living with or caring for high-risk individuals should also consider the vaccination.

The past two years, Charlotte Craig, who directs the county health department, has made a special push to immunize First Responders, firefighters and police officers.

Typically, the flu is an upper-respiratory illness that can require three or four days of bed rest. High fever and chills can affect appetite and fluid intake. The complications from flu can prove especially deadly for senior citizens and other people with chronic illnesses.

The health department is also offering pneumonia shots this year in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Health. These vaccinations are only recommended for those 65 and over, anyone with long-term health problems or people taking drugs or treatment that lower the body's resistance to infection.

Let's shoot down another excuse: You can't get the flu from the vaccination. The viruses in the vaccine are dead.

Last year the Cape Girardeau County Health Department gave 5,000 flu shots. With your help, those numbers should grow this year.