SARASOTA (FOX 13) - The flu hit Yasia Gurley's household hard last year. This year, she's ready for it: When her kids went for their yearly checkups, she said "yes" to the flu shot.
"It's scary because they are so young and they can tell you, but they can't tell you so much,” she offered. “And then the fever.”
The Florida Department of Health said it's never too early to get vaccinated. In fact, they urge everyone over 6 months old to be vaccinated by Halloween.
"Flu is here year-round and everyone is at risk all the time -- one of the reasons why it is really important to get the vaccine," said Michael Drennon, a disease intervention specialist with the Sarasota County Health Department.
Drennon said while the shot won't protect you 100 percent of the time, it will lessen the effects and vaccinated children are 60-percent less likely to die from the flu.
"Even if they are perfectly healthy and they do get sick, the illnesses is usually very mild if they've had the flu vaccine. Also, we want to prevent the spread of the flu," said Drennon.
The urgency comes after the first reported child death from the flu in Florida this year. Officials won't say where the child lived, but they do confirm the child was not vaccinated.
Sarasota County and others are already seeing an uptick in flu cases.
"Hillsborough County also reported two outbreaks of influenza or influenza-like illnesses at a school or a camp," said FOX 13 medical reporter Dr. Joette Giovinco.
Giovinco said it's just as important for parents to be vaccinated too, because it safeguards other family members.
"Babies can't get vaccinated until they are 6 months of age, so it's really important for family members to get vaccinated. It works like a cocoon around that child to help them from getting the flu," she continued.
No-cost vaccines for children from birth through age 18 are provided through the Federal Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program.
The Florida Department of Health can help you find the flu shot in your area: http://www.floridahealth.gov/programs-and-services/prevention/flu-prevention/locate-a-flu-shot.html
You can visit www.sarasotahealth.org for details about adult vaccines and no-cost vaccines for certain age groups, including young adults aged 19-26.