Flu Shot Misses Strain

Wednesday, February 6th 2008, 7:54 pm
By: News On 6

The state health department says there's a strain of Type-B flu virus circulating in Oklahoma that was not covered by this year's flu shot.  The News On 6's Steve Berg reports when the U.S. develops a flu vaccine each year, it looks at what viruses are most prevalent in the Southern Hemisphere, which has its flu season before ours.  But it's not unheard of for a strain of the flu to sneak through.

"It will change and become more prevalent and that's what's happened with the B-strain this year," said Tulsa County Health Department's Janice Sheehan.

Still, Sheehan says you should go ahead and get your shot because it still protects against three other kinds of flu.

"Absolutely, because there are other flu viruses, strains, that are in that shot.  And just because you get one doesn't mean you can't get another kind," said Sheehan.

Cheryl Fink decided to take the health department up on their offer.

"There are so many different strains of the flu, but I guess it protects you against one of the strains," said Fink.

"Actually, three," said one nurse.

"Oh, three. See!" said Fink

So far, it appears the renegade strain of the Type-B flu is not that widespread, but that could change.

"We'll just have to wait.  We're just probably a week into this.  So we'll have to wait and gather more data before we can gather any numbers," said Sheehan.

Type-B flu also tends to have milder symptoms, and if you do get it, Sheehan says you can ask your doctor for antiviral medications which can help if taken within two days of the first symptoms.

"It will be easier as you go through the symptoms from the flu if you are on the anti-virals.  You're symptoms won't be as bad, and you'll also get over it quickly, or more quickly I should say," said Sheehan.