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Local Hospitals Scramble To Deal With Surge In Flu Cases

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Emergency rooms continued to be flooded Tuesday with people sick during this year's deadly flu season.

In New Jersey and New York, six children have died from the virus -- including one in Lefrak City, Queens.

An emergency flu clinic administering free vaccines was originally scheduled to open at 3pm but was forced to open early due to high demand. Many of the people who showed up to Elmhurst Hospital were parents with their young children.

"The flu is really bad, it's getting really bad," father Mohammad Khan said. "So I'm not taking a chance, definitely not for my daughter. Not for myself."

Some people at Elmhurst were nervous with people sick all around them. The hospital provided free shots on Tuesday, at one point even had to make another run to re-stock.

Meanwhile, the New Jersey Department of Health confirmed that a second child, a six-year-old girl from Hudson County, died from the flu. The North Bergen School District says they're disinfecting all surfaces, sinks, and doorknobs with bleach solution.

"We are going to do another round of flu shots because not everyone had them in the fall," Dr. George Solter said.

Dr. Tracy Catlin at Lenox Hill Hospital says she's seen more patients in the emergency room for the flu than in years past.

"I see at least eight to ten patients a day who test positive for the flu," she said. "If you have trouble breathing you're not able to tolerate food or liquids you have a high fever that won't come down lethargic altered mental status then you should definitely be going to an ER as opposed to an urgent care or the clinic."

She adds it's fine to head to the emergency room regardless of the severity of your symptoms.

"We're the first line and last resort for some patients and we're happy to take care of anyone," she said.

Some medical centers have been reporting a shortage of Tamiflu. Dr. Catlin says to deal with that, they've been writing people paper prescriptions so they can go to any pharmacy that has the medication.

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