Vaccines still available as flu season nears its peak

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GRAYSON COUNTY, Tex. -- Flu season has almost hit its peak, but if you have not gotten your vaccine yet it's not too late. Health officials say an outbreak could be coming. Mystic Matthews has tips to avoid the bug.

Flu season started back in October, and the Grayson County Health Department says they kicked it off with a drive-through flu shot clinic.

The staff says they vaccinated about 800 people, but in a county of about 150,000 people that's just not enough to prevent an outbreak.

Sore throat, fever, aches and pains are all symptoms of influenza, but they can all be prevented or at least minimized by getting the vaccine.

“This is a very serious illness. Not like getting a cold. People die from the flu. Everybody needs one, especially people over 65, young kids and anyone who has a compromised immune system,” Jana Bennett, pharmacist and owner of the Medicine Shoppe in Sherman says.

Bennett says if you haven't gotten your shot, it’s not too late.

“Really the flu hasn't hit here yet so there's still time. It takes two weeks for your immune system to respond to vaccine so if you get it now you should be fully protected.”

According to the Baylor College of Medicine, the number of cases in Texas is growing this flu season. Bennett says she saw two cases in Texoma just last week and says an outbreak similar to the one seen last December could be coming.

“We’re definitely coming up on the height of flu season. We've only seen a couple cases here so far, so yeah, January and February are going to be primetime flu season."

The Grayson County Health Department and pharmacies like the Medicine Shoppe offer flu vaccines on a daily basis without an appointment. The cost is anywhere from $25 to $30.

Nancy Hill, a registered nurse at the Grayson County Health Department, says the fee is well worth it.

“The affects of flu on old and young require hospitalization. A flu shot cost $20-25, Medicare/Medicaid provide it free."

Bennett says in the years past there have been flu vaccine shortages but not this year.

“Some years in the past, vaccine been in short supply but this year there is no excuse. Plenty of vaccine, everybody should get one. It’s not too late."

Besides getting a flu shot, Bennett says anyone over the age of 65 should also get a pneumonia shot because the flu can lead to pneumonia. You can get both of those shots at the same time.

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