FRESNO, Calif. – If the flu bug has landed in your home or office, doctors say, it will hang around for awhile.

People who got a flu shot this year may escape the fever, sore throat, headache and body aches that are bringing people to doctors’ offices.

The vaccine offers a good protection for influenza A, the most identified strains that are circulating this year, said Dr. Dee Lacy, an infection specialist at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Fresno, Calif. However, it doesn’t protect as well against influenza B, the less common strain, she said.

Antiviral medications can help if given within 48 hours of the start of symptoms, but some cases of resistance to the medications have been reported worldwide.

Lacy said the drugs are being reserved for those who are more likely to get complications from the flu – the really old or really young and people with chronic health conditions.

If you are short of breath or your flu becomes worse after several days, seek care from a doctor or emergency room.

Infants or young children:

Follow your pediatrician’s recommendations.

If the child has labored breathing or appears excessively sleepy, seek immediate care.

Older children:

Follow your doctor’s recommendations; many times a child can be nursed at home.

Keep the child home from school.

Make sure the child drinks fluids to prevent dehydration.

Give acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce fever. Do not give children aspirin.

If the child has labored breathing, seek immediate care.

To stay well:

Wash your hands.

Wash telephones, computer keyboards and other shared instruments.

Use tissue and cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing.

When ill, stay home to protect others.

(c) 2009, The Fresno Bee (Fresno, Calif.).

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Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

AP-NY-02-25-09 0853EST

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