Stop any random person on the street right now and ask if they’ve had the flu in the last six weeks and you’ll likely get a yes out of them.  City of Wichita Falls Public Information Officer Barry Levy says health officials are advising area residents to get a flu shot, if they have not already done so.

According to a press release today, there has been a marked increase in flu activity in North Texas. The Health District has had several reports of positive rapid flu screens as well as increased emergency room visits and school absences due to influenza like illness.

Flu vaccine is available at the Health District, 1700 3rd Street, on a walk-in basis, Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. A prescription will be required for those under the age of 65 requesting a pneumonia shot.  Pregnant women requesting the flu shot will also need a doctor’s prescription. The flu vaccine takes approximately two weeks to provide effective protection.

The Health District also recommends the following steps to help decrease the transmission of the flu virus: frequent hand washing, covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing and staying at home when sick. For more information please contact the Health District at 761-7841.