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Saturday, January 4, 2014 - 12:32am
Last week only 10 states reported spreading flu activity. This week that number has now jumped to 25.
Experts say it's been a typical season but H1N1 has been the most common strain.
In El Paso alone, there have been over 400 reported cases of the flu. New Mexico’s flu season doesn't start until February, but some people in Las Cruces are already doing all they can to make sure they don't get sick this year.
"In about two weeks, I plan to go to Texas and i heard that there is a flu epidemic or flu outbreak in Texas, so I thought I better make sure I am covered before i go down there," said Norma Balderrama, who got her free vaccine Friday.
And even though Dona Ana County hasn't reported more than a few flu cases, experts say now is the time to get the vaccine.
"We are right on schedule; we want to get people immunized before our flu season starts," said Debby Hanas, immunization nurse for the New Mexico Department of Health in Las Cruces.
The Center for Disease Control says everyone older than six months should get a vaccine every year, especially people in the following groups because they are at high risk of having serious flu-related complications or because they live with or care for people at high risk for developing flu-related complications:
• Children 6 months through 4 years of age
• Pregnant women (any trimester)
• People age 50 and older
• People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, lung or heart disease.
• People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
• People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu
• American Indians and Alaskan Natives
• People who are morbidly obese
• Healthcare and early childhood personnel
People in these groups should also consider seeing their health care provider to be evaluated for antiviral medication if they develop flu symptoms.
Even if you don't normally get sick, the vaccine will help stop the flu from spreading to other.
"Like babies less than six month of age. Babies that aren't completely vaccinated,” Hanus said. There are some people that cannot get vaccinated, so you want to protect everyone around you by vaccinating those that can be vaccinated."
Even if you don't like shots or needles, that is no excuse. A new alternative to getting the traditional flu shot is a nasal vaccine. It's quick, painless, and it works exactly the same."
"It was supper easy,” said Samantha Gardea. “I literally just walked in, she sprayed me and i walked out."
This year’s vaccine protects against four strains of flu, which will help you from getting sick.
If you missed the clinic Friday, there will be another one at St Genevieve Catholic Church Parish Hall, 1025 E Las Cruces Ave., in Las Cruces on January 17th.
There will also be a free flu clinic in El Paso next Saturday, January 11th. Centro San Vicente in the Lower Valley will be giving free flu shots to people between 18 and 64-years-old from 8 a.m. to noon on January 11th.
The shots will be administered at the Alameda Health Center, located at 8061 Alameda while supplies last. If you need more information, contact Clara Castrellon, Chief Nursing Officer, at (915) 859-7545 ext. 1244.