DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – As the number of flu cases – and flu-related deaths – in North Texas climbs, health officials say they are bracing for another concern: holiday travel.

When flu season and the holiday travel season pack a one-two punch, health officials say they know what’s coming.

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“It’s Christmastime, New Year’s, and people are going to be around large groups of people – family, friends,” said Marisa Gonzales of Dallas County Health and Human Services.

And with the spread of holiday cheer comes the spread of disease.

Three people have already died in Dallas County this season due to the flu.

“It’s already been a really bad season, and an early season at that,” said Gonzales.

So they’re trying to vaccinate as many people are possible before they hit the roads or the skies.

Flu shot (credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

At the Mexican Consulate on Thursday, nearly 100 people got free flu shots without needing an appointment.

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“I want to get one every flu season, because I don’t want to feel the way I felt when I had the flu last year. It was horrible,” said Fernanda Roman.

“I have two new kids – one one month old and a year-and-a-half,” said Carlos Ramirez, who also got a flu shot. “When opportunity arises, you take it. It’s free. Why not?”

Health officials say the flu shot plus good hygiene are the best ways to stay healthy. They encourage everyone six months and older to get one – with rare exceptions. And they say it’s not only for your sake but for those around you.

“I am going to be around a lot of kids and family members, so I want to go ahead and prevent them from getting sick,” said Roman.

“It’s not only about me. It’s about my community as well,” said Helena Vaquera.

The Health Department will be offering free flu vaccines for adults and children at all of their immunization clinic locations.

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