Could you be at high risk for Flu?
Influenza (Flu) is a contagious respiratory illness. It can cause mild to severe illness. Severe outcomes of flu infection can result in hospitalization or death.
Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at higher risk of significant flu complications.
Most people who get sick with Flu will have mild illness, will not need medical care or antiviral drugs, and will recover in less than two weeks. Some people, however, are more likely to get flu complications that can result in hospitalization and sometimes death. Pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections and ear infections are examples of flu-related complications. Flu also can make chronic health problems worse. For example, people with asthma may experience asthma attacks while they have Flu and people with chronic congestive heart failure may experience a worsening of this condition triggered by Flu.
People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with certain chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older.
Children younger than 6 months are at high risk of serious flu illness but are too young to be vaccinated. People who care for infants should be vaccinated instead to keep young children safe from Flu.
This list includes many of the health and age factors that are known to increase a person’s risk of getting serious complications from Flu:
- Neurologic and neurodevelopment conditions
- Blood disorders (such as sickle cell disease)
- Chronic lung disease (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD] and cystic fibrosis)
- Endocrine disorders (such as diabetes mellitus)
- Heart disease (such as congenital heart disease, congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease)
- Kidney diseases
- Liver disorders
- Metabolic disorders (such as inherited metabolic disorders and mitochondrial disorders)
- Those who are obese with a body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher
- Those younger than 19 years old on long-term aspirin- or salicylate-containing medications.
- People with a weakened immune system due to disease (such as people with HIV or AIDS, or some cancers such as leukemia) or medications (such as those receiving chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer, or persons with chronic conditions requiring chronic corticosteroids or other drugs that suppress the immune system)
- People who have had a stroke
Other people at higher risk for the Flu:
- Adults 65 years and older
- Children younger than 2 years old
- Pregnant women and women up to 2 weeks after the end of pregnancy
- People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities