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CDC Declares Flu Epidemic

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DALLAS, TX -- Okay, now that another New Year celebration is in the books, some of you may be regretting taking a few shots. But, here's one shot you shouldn't shy away from -- the flu shot.

“I was watching the news yesterday and they were talking about it, and they were talking about how if you haven`t gotten your flu shot you should come and get it,” Ashly Gonzalez said.

That’s not a bad idea. The CDC says the flu has reached epidemic levels; meaning there have been more flu related deaths than in previous years. Yeah, kind of scary.

In fact, Columbia University set-up an interactive flu map online, showing the hardest hit spots in the U.S. If you look at DFW, you’ll see we’re lit up like New Year's.

The map also gives a flu forecast, projecting that the first week of the new year. Dallas hospitals can expect up to 13,000 new cases.

“It worries me because you never know who has it, and you never know if you`re going to get it. So, it's better to be protected then not be protected at all," Gonzalez said.

Protected is exactly what Dallas Health officials want you to be. So it's time for the obvious advice we always seem to get this time of year: wash your hands on a regular basis!

Of course, don’t fear the needle, and get a flu shot. But, it may not be enough. 15 kids , including three in Texas, have died from flu-like symptoms.

So, the shot won't completely protect you....although Gonzalez speaks for most of us, saying: “At least its something, What if it`s the one strand you get? at least you`re protected against it.”

You can get the shot for little or no cost at Dallas County Health Services, as long as you’re a low-income family, or don`t have health insurance.

So, do yourself a favor and don`t drop the ball on your health this new year.