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      Doctors encouraging flu shots with rising flu cases and deaths

      Doctors at the Grand Traverse Children's Clinic in Traverse City are encouraging people to get a flu shot event though flu season has already begun.

      "All the flu that's going around all over, it's not something to mess with," said Sandra Dwyer, grandmother of a patient at Grand Traverse Children's Clinic.

      According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 20 children around the nation have died from the flu already this year. There have been four pediatric deaths in Michigan alone.

      It is part of the reason Rodger Horner said his grandson got his first ever flu shot this season.

      "Mom wanted it to be, she works in the pharmacy, so she wanted him to get protected this year because it's really, really bad," Horner said.

      Kelly Johnston said she and her three kids already got their flu vaccines. She said she can't afford for her family to get sick because of her health condition.

      "I was concerned because last year I went through cancer treatment and I wanted to make sure that I could stay as healthy as possible with an immune system that's not functioning fully just yet," Johnston said.

      Dr. Andrew Tursman, M.D. of Grand Traverse Children's Clinic in Traverse City said they have had a high volume of calls over the past few weeks from people who are treating flu like symptoms.

      "Children are more susceptible to the complications with flu, the more serious complications with flu, such as pneumonia and more serious respiratory ailments," Dr. Tursman said.

      Since August the Grand Traverse Children's Clinic has administered over 5,000 flu vaccines.

      "There's been an increased interest in flu over the last couple of weeks because of increased cases," Dr. Tursman said.

      If a child has the flu, Dr. Tursman said you should contact your healthcare provider if they have a fever for 5 to 6 days, problems breathing, or if they are having difficulty keeping down fluids.

      "It's still a good idea to get your flu shot even though we're into the flu season already," Dr. Tursman said.

      Dr. Tursman said some steps you can take to stop the spread of flu is to not bring a sick child around others until their fever is broken for more than 24 hours. Make sure they cover their cough and thoroughly wash their hands.

      The Grand Traverse County Health Department is holding a walk-in flu clinic Friday, Jan. 18. The clinic goes from 8:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. You can find more information on the website HERE .

      You can find more information about Grand Traverse Children's Clinic HERE .