Torontonians can reduce their risk of getting sick with the flu by attending one of Toronto Public Health's free flu vaccine clinics offered from October 27 to November 18 at nine locations across the city. The flu vaccine is also available in doctors' offices and at more than 450 Toronto pharmacies.Every year, between 10 and 20 per cent of Canadians are infected with influenza and more than 12,000 are hospitalized."Getting a flu shot is the best way to protect yourself and others from getting sick,” said Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Toronto’s Acting Medical Officer of Health. "Washing your hands often, sneezing or coughing into your sleeve, avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth with unclean hands, and staying home when you are sick are also effective ways of reducing the spread of the flu."Influenza – the flu – can spread among people before symptoms even appear. Typical symptoms include sudden onset of high fever, chills, sore throat, cough and muscle aches. Other common symptoms include headache, loss of appetite, feeling tired and runny nose. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea may occur, especially in children.While most people will recover within a week to 10 days, the flu can make pre-existing medical conditions such as asthma and heart disease worse, and can develop into more serious health problems such as pneumonia, and in rare circumstances can prove fatal.Certain groups are at higher risk for developing complications from influenza and should make sure to get the flu vaccine every year. They include people with chronic health conditions, residents of nursing homes and other chronic care facilities, people 65 years of age and older, children six months to five years of age, healthy pregnant women and indigenous people.The flu vaccine is free for people six months and older who live, work or attend school in Ontario. For the full flu vaccination clinic schedule, call 416-338-7600 or visit http://bit.ly/1FwZ8rs. Individuals can also book an appointment online at www.tphbookings.ca and follow @TOPublicHealth and #FluFighter on Twitter.