By Allison Derks, Ozarks News Journal

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that the best way to protect yourself from the flu virus is to get vaccinated each year. The 2014 flu season was no different.

Dr. Leah Reinhard is a pharmacist in Springfield.

“Everybody got a Quadravalent, meaning it protects against 4 strains of flu or a trivalent shot, depending on what was available at the time when you got the shot. It protects against the major flu vaccinations that we anticipate coming in the year,” said Dr. Reinhard

Kathryn Wall works with the Greene County Health Department.

This has been a very unique flu season. Its hard to say from one year to next what a new flu  season is. Especially since h1n1 has emerged. There’s really no such thing as a normal flu season,” said Wall.

If you did decide to get a flu shot, you still could be at risk. A small mutation in the flu virus has lead people coming back to pharmacies like these.

“The major strand that we believe mutated is h3n2. And unfortunately the cdc cleared the vaccine and shortly there after the mutation happened,” said Dr. Reinhard.

“And that means that what was in the community changed just a little bit so now that vaccine isn’t a perfect match anymore. It’s just a little bit ineffectual,” said Wall.

Since the shift in the virus, consumers are wondering if they should still get the vaccination. Dr. Reinhard challenges those people to see the bigger picture.

“There’s a concept called heard immunity meaning that if you are all vaccinated, there is no where for the flu to go. Or for a virus to cause infection and it limits the outbreak of a virus because it doesn’t have a host to transmit it,” said Dr. Reinhard.

These health professionals can offer a few tips on how to stay out of your doctor’s office as this flu season comes to a close.

“Best thing to do is still get a flu shot. Of course we always recommend that. If you haven’t had one yet, we still recommend that because there are as many cases of flu in February as there are at the start of flu season in October. So please still get a flu shot, but proper hand washing, hygiene in that manner, is a very key importance,” Dr. Reinhard.

“But really the best thing you can do is if you’re sick, stay home, take care of yourself and then you’ll be ready to go when you’re done with it,” said Wall.

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