93390236 North Texans Urged To Get Flu Shots Early

A patient receives a flu vaccine. (credit: FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images)

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Temperatures have barely gotten out of the triple-digits and a lot of North Texans are thinking it’s too early to get a flu shot, but health officials disagree.

In Fort Worth, Mayor Betsy Price set the example by getting her shot Thursday at the Tarrant County Health Department.

Mayor Price had some words of encouragement for those people who aren’t enthusiastic about being stuck with a needle.

“People really shouldn’t worry about it. As shots go it’s a very easy shot and it really does help protect you,” she said. “It’s not bad. I mean really, it’s a small stick but it’s not one of those shots that burns going in, or anything like that.”

Experts say the severity of the flu can vary from season to season. The West Nile Virus hit early because of the mild North Texas winter and now there’s concern the same thing will happen with the flu.

“Flu season usually begins in October and runs through May, but as we all know we’ve seen some variations on that over the last few years,” Tarrant County Health Department Director Lou Brewer explained.

Influenza is especially dangerous to those with asthma, diabetes, heart disease, weakened immune systems and adults over the age of 65, but Brewer is urging everyone to get ahead of the curve when it comes to flu vaccinations and not let excuses get in the way.

“I just can’t say enough about how important it is to do this early. Don’t wait ‘til we’re already in the flu season,” she said. ““We’ve heard people say ‘I got the flu shot and then I got it anyway.’ It does take about two weeks to build up immunity after you have the flu shot.”

Unlike a few years ago, the supply of flu vaccine is plentiful and more accessible to those with or without insurance. Walgreens is partnering with health departments across North Texas to offer free flu shots for people who are underinsured or uninsured.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that anyone over the age of six months get a flu vaccination every year.