BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The flu is running rampant. It’s already sent thousands of people to the hospital. Across the country, 20 children have died.

Meghan McCorkell has the growing concerns in Maryland.

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As flu cases pile up, pharmacies are rushing to get enough doses of the flu shot to go around.

If you haven’t come down with the flu yet, you probably know someone who has.

“It’s hitting pretty fast. I mean when it hits you it knocks you quick,” said one resident.

Maryland is among 45 states declaring widespread flu activity.

At the Rite Aid on Loch Raven Boulevard, they’re bringing in flu shot doses in mass quantities.

Pharmacist Lisa Zawada said Baltimore-area pharmacies have been moving around inventory to make sure their customers can get vaccinated.

“It can spread fast, especially with kids in schools and people at work,” said Zawada. “Today, alone, I’ve done more flu shots than I have in the last couple days.”

In Massachusetts, Boston’s mayor has declared a public health emergency, and with demand for the vaccine edging higher coast to coast, doses are in short supply.

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“I’m down to my last shot,” said one doctor.

Near Dallas, a concerned mom spent weeks waiting for her pediatrician to get a vaccine for her child.

“They kept telling me call in a few weeks and see if it’s in or whatever and I was like, ‘Alright, I’m going to have to look around and see if I can find it somewhere else then,'” said parent Miriam Olascoaga.

Hospitals are overwhelmed by patients. Doctors said part of the problem is people with less extreme cases who don’t need urgent care crowding the emergency room.

“Many other people can safely be managed at home, again, taking fluids, drinking as much as they can of clear liquids, ibuprofen and Tylenol,” said Dr. Paul Biddinger of Massachusetts General Hospital.

The health industry is still urging all Americans over 6 months old to get vaccinated.

“You never know, so protecting yourself is the best way, instead of having to treat it when you get it,” said Zawada.

Now we’re not even halfway through the traditional flu season, so there may be many more of these dangerous cases to come.

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Anne Arundel County has just announced a free clinic Monday afternoon. It starts at 3 p.m. at the Glen Burnie Health Center. Click here for more information.