Influenza Cases Rise, Flu Shots Encouraged - 8 News NOW

Influenza Cases Rise, Flu Shots Encouraged

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LAS VEGAS -- As flu cases continue to rise across the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging Americans to get a flu shots as soon as possible. Three people in Clark County have already died.

Patricia Linares, 19, gave birth to her first child just a few weeks ago and at the advice of her doctor she also got her first flu shot.

"He asked me if I wanted to get the shot because I was breastfeeding," Linares said. "That way the baby doesn't get sick."

Doctor Noah Kohn runs the Children's Free Clinic of Southern Nevada. He offers free flu shots to children and wants to see more of them in his office before they actually get sick.

 "Flu season has been pretty bad. We have seen a lot of kids, some of them quite sick," Dr. Kohn said.

He says many people still believe a flu shot can make them sick, but it's a misconception that could prove deadly.

"We had a handful of children we have sent to the hospital this year," he said.

Sally Martinez's three children recently started getting annual flu shots. As a single mom, with no job or insurance, prevention is the key.

"It's pretty worrisome when you hear a lot of cases out there with people getting sick and dying from it," Martinez said.

It's a similar story for 16-year-old Juan Qunitero who says he's getting his flu shot for the first time because he doesn't want to get sick like some of his friends.

"They don't go to school and they come back all tired and stuff," Qunitero said.

Kohn says it's not too late to get a vaccination. Flu season runs through May and children as young as 6 months old can be immunized.

Kohn says this years vaccination is more effective than ever because for the first time it covers four strains of flu, including H1N1. That particular strain, according to the CDC, can disproportionately affect young children and middle-aged adults.

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