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Are You High-Risk for Flu Complications?

Are You High-Risk for Flu Complications?

While flu can cause serious illness for anyone, some groups of people are more susceptible to experiencing serious complications, hospitalization, even death, if they get sick with flu. These individuals are also more at risk for complications from COVID-19. Getting the flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses and keeping you healthy.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older receive a flu vaccine every year, especially high risk individuals in the following groups:

Pregnant Women

Due to changes to the immune system, heart and lungs during pregnancy, flu is more likely to cause severe illness in expecting mothers. Getting the flu shot during pregnancy has been shown to help protect you from the flu during pregnancy and can help protect your baby for several months after birth.

Children, Ages 6 Months to 5 Years

Children under 5 years, especially younger than 2 years, are at high risk for serious flu-related complications. About 80% of reported child deaths occur in children who have not been fully vaccinated. A flu vaccine can be life-saving.

Adults, Ages 50 and Older

About 30% of adults 50 to 64 years have a medical condition that puts them at high risk of serious flu complications. For adults over 64 years, a weakened immune system also increases this risk. In recent years, adults 50 and older have the highest rate of hospitalizations. In fact, during most years, most influenza-related hospitalizations and deaths occur in adults 65 years and older.

Immunosuppressed Individuals

For people with chronic medical conditions—such as heart disease, diabetes and asthma - and suppressed immune systems from cancer or HIV/AIDS, flu complications are a serious threat. Complications range from pneumonia, bronchitis, intensified symptoms of chronic medical conditions and a weakened ability to fight off infections. Studies have shown that the flu shot is associated with reduced hospitalizations.

In summary, the flu shot can provide benefits to everyone (link to 5 reasons to get the flu shot this year), including high risk individuals. September and October are the best months to get the flu shot in order to provide protection throughout flu season.

Protect yourself, your family and your community by getting the flu shot. Select North Oaks primary and specialty clinics in Hammond, Livingston, and Independence also are providing flu vaccinations. To locate the clinic convenient to you, click here. To find out more about getting the flu shot, speak to your health care provider or visit www.northoaks.org/flu.

In addition to vaccination, good health habits can help prevent the spread of the flu and other respiratory illnesses. Click here for 8 Things To Do To Fight The Flu.

Think you or a loved one may have flu? Here's what to do

For more articles about this year's flu season, please visit our Flu Season blog.