The flu outbreak across the country has reached epidemic levels. Valley health officials are now urging people get vaccinated before it becomes a problem here.
The flu season is hitting full force across the country. 47 states have reported widespread activity. So far, 20 children have died from the virus nationwide. Four people have died in California. The outbreak hasn't reached the Valley yet, but health officials fear it's just a matter of time.
Fresno County Health Department Assistant Director David Luchin says, "We anticipate we're around the corner from seeing the increased activity of this influenza, so what's nice is we've got a warning here. We've got time to get the vaccine."
"For me, my son has asthma so this is going to keep him out of the emergency room for the next couple months," says Shannon McCarthy.
Shannon McCarthy isn't the only one airing on the side of caution. The Fresno County Health Department has been bombarded with people.
"I want to say we saw around 80 people Thursday and 30 Friday morning," says Luchini.
Pharmacies are having a hard time keeping up with the rush of people. Some Walgreens and CVS pharmacies were out of vaccines Friday. But pharmacists say not to worry. These are only temporary shortages.
Walgreens pharmacy manager Ani Estefanian says, "We are going to be well prepared. We have a count and anybody who runs out everybody knows that, and we are bringing new shipments in."
Places where germs spread easily are also prepared. Inside the Gb3 gym, the flu season is spurring extra precaution.
Gb3 general manager Sean Clinton says, "We have constant crews cleaning throughout the entire day. We provide hand sanitizer to all of the members to clean coming and going from the gym."
Officials say the best way to prevent the flu from spreading, is to stop it before it starts.
Luchini says, "You not only get it so that you stay healthy, but you're also trying to protect those around you."
Officials say the sooner you get a flu vaccine, the better. It does take ten to 14 days for the vaccines to fully kick in.