ARLINGTON (CBS 11 NEWS) – The small lobby of the Neighborhood Clinic on Collins in Arlington was cramped with patients Monday, many of them sniffling and coughing with flu-like symptoms.

When asked if the number of patients was larger than normal Dr. Larry Sprowls said, “Oh goodness, yes! It’s been two to three times the normal load on most days.”

Sprowls said almost all of the patients coming to the clinic are suffering from flu or respiratory illnesses. “Last year was pretty bad, this year is worse,” he said.

The small Arlington clinic is seeing up to 60 more patients a day than normal.

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Doctor’s say now is the time to be extra conscious of preventing the flu and that’s the message Arlington fire fighters are delivering door-to-door.

“We’re asking businesses to display this sign with the three ‘C’s,'” Arlington firefighter Lee Tovar told workers at a north Arlington nail salon as he showed them a stack of flyers.

(credit: City of Arlington Fire Department)

(credit: City of Arlington Fire Department)

Arlington firefighters are spreading the city’s public health message through the areas around their fire stations.  The message: clean your hands, cover your coughs and sneezes, and contain the virus by keeping ill people at home.

“Getting the message out there is very important,” Tovar said.  “Clean, cover, contain.  If we can just do that it will eliminate some of the infectious disease that’s going around.”

And in an effort to convey the message to everyone, the city is posting posters in three languages.  With so much worry about the flu, the signs are welcome in most businesses.

“It’s been amazing where they’re allowing it [poster] right away,” Tovar said.  “They think its great we’re getting involved in the community.  Citizens love it, especially now that it’s available in Spanish, English and Vietnamese.”

Click here to view Arlington’s public service announcement about preventing the flu.

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