RALEIGH, NC - A locally owned pharmacy chain is offering free flu shots to those who can't afford them. The three-day giveaway comes after the peak in what many medical experts are calling an aggressive flu season.
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Among the victims is 6-year-old Emily Muth of Cary. She died Friday afternoon just days after being diagnosed with the flu.
Muth's death brings the statewide flu death toll to 42. Statistics like those inspired Josef's Pharmacy to give away 100 flu vaccines to customers.
ORIGINAL STORY: Cary girl, 6, dies days after flu diagnosis
By mid-afternoon, Josef's Durham location had dispensed dozens of vaccines.
Cary girl's flu death sends shockwaves
Many customers showed up after hearing Emily's heartbreaking story on ABC11.
"That hit home in a way that never hit home before because this is my first flu season that I'm a mom," said Kat Slager. "I have an 11-month-old baby at home. She has a flu shot. But having your kid pass away from something like the flu is just terrifying."
RELATED: Cary parents speak out on GMA after losing 6-year-old daughter to flu
Terrifying, yet mostly preventable, according to one local pharmacist. But some parents still question the safety of vaccines.
"One of the misconceptions with the flu shot is that you can get the flu from the shot and the flu virus is dead virus. You're not going to get the flu," said Jonathan Harward.
Experts said it takes two weeks for your body to build up full immunity to the virus. If you do get sick, it's likely you contracted a different strain within the two-week period. Luckily for us, there's a flu vaccine for multiple variations of the virus.
"There's actually a quadrivalent that covers four strains. You can ask for that," said Harward.
Not asking at all could be asking for an unfortunate outcome.
"I hate to see, especially a child, not get a flu vaccine that can prevent a potentially life-threatening disease," said Harward.
Looking for critical symptoms of flu
Dr. David Weber with UNC Hospitals' Infectious Diseases expects to see more cases of flu and therefore, flu-related deaths before the end of the season.
"Both influenza itself and secondary bacterial infections can progress quite rapidly, meaning over hours to days," Weber said.
While the very young, elderly, and those with underlying medical conditions should seek a medical professional for any signs or symptoms of flu, Weber said everyone else shouldn't hesitate to call their doctor if they experience the following:
"Getting better and then starting to get worse which might suggest a bacterial infection, inability to hold down fluids or liquids, very high fever, any confusion, children with profuse diarrhea who are not feeding or poor feeding, or seizures," he said.
Legally, pharmacists can't give the flu shot to children younger than 14. Those children must get the shot from a doctor.
The flu clinic continues Wednesday at Josef's on Roxboro Street from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.