Ben Russell, NBC 5 News
Some North Texans rang in the New Year with the influenza, while others got the flu shot before 2014 ended. It's been an earlier than normal flu season across Texas.
New Year's Eve unfortunately is not cause for celebration for a growing number of North Texans who are sick with the flu.
Hundreds of people in Dallas-Fort Worth have already been hospitalized with influenza, according to information provided by county health departments.
The H1N1 strain of influenza, commonly known as swine flu, is blamed for at least five deaths in the state including three confirmed cases in Dallas County.
The rise of flu cases is understandably leading to a rush at health clinics and pharmacies for flu vaccinations.
"I hadn't been able to get a shot [at many locations] because a lot of them are out and there's been a run on them," said Daphna Yackey, of Arlington, recalling her efforts to find a flu shot on New Year's Eve.
Yackey and several others did get their vaccination at the Arlington Public Health Center where lines have been long in each of the last several days, according to a nurse at the facility.
Demecia Williams, of Grand Prairie, brought her two sons, 13-year-old Rodrick and 5-year-old Angel, for their shots.
"I just wanted to go ahead and get it out of the way," Williams told NBC 5 about her decision to vaccinate her sons.
Both boys have asthma, Williams said, which makes them more vulnerable to harsher symptoms of the flu.
Once vaccinated, it typically takes about two weeks to reach maximum protection. With flu season traditionally at its peak in January or February, there is still time to protect yourself this year.