DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas County Health and Human Services is reporting the first pediatric flu-related death in Dallas County for the 2018-2019 season.

The patient was 4-year-old Ashanti Grinich from Garland.

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Ashanti Grinich (courtesy: Martell Grinich)

Her parents told CBS 11 she had a cold a week ago Sunday.  By Tuesday, they took her to the emergency room.  She died last Thursday from the flu and pneumonia, they said.

“She wasn’t even running fever at this time, we just knew she was very sluggish and she wasn’t eating,” said Martell Grinich, the child’s father.

“When I think about my baby, that tears me down man. (crying) That’s what I was living for,” he said. “I told her I wasn’t gonna let nothin bad happen to her. I used to preach that to her.”

This is the seventh flu-related death in Dallas County for the 2018-2019 season.

“We cannot predict the intensity, severity or duration of the flu season from year to year,” said Dr. Christopher Perkins, DCHHS Health Authority/Medical Director. “The best way to protect yourself and others is to get your seasonal flu shot.”

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It is not too late to receive the flu vaccine. DCHHS recently announced free flu vaccines for children at all six immunizations clinic locations.

DCHHS is also extending free flu vaccines to adults and seniors at the following clinic locations and community events while supplies last:

Main DCHHS Building 2377 North Stemmons Freeway, First Floor, Dallas, Texas 75207

February 7, 2019 (Thursday) at Paul Quinn College-3738 Simpson Stuart Rd, Dallas, TX 75241

February 8, 2019 (Friday) from 10 am to 12 pm at NTX Fest Fair Park Briscoe-Carpenter Livestock Center, Dallas, TX

February 15, 2019 (Friday) from 10 am to 12 pm at Pleasant Grove Library-7310 Lake June Rd, Dallas, TX 75217

The City of Garland offers low cost or free flu vaccines to those who qualify.  For more information click here.

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“Getting your seasonal flu shot is your first line of defense against the flu virus, especially if you have underlying medical conditions”, said Interim Director Ganesh Shivaramaiyer. “Practicing good hygiene which includes frequent hand washing, covering your coughs/sneezes with a tissue or into your elbow and staying home if you have flu-like symptoms”.