Who Is at Risk

Who Is at the Greatest Risk From the Flu?

Most people who get the flu will have only mild illness. They will not need medical care. However, some people may experience flu complications. Those individuals should talk to a healthcare provider about whether they need to be examined and treated if they get sick with flu-like symptoms. These high-risk groups are:

  • Children under age 5, especially children younger than 2
  • People 65 years and older
  • People who have chronic conditions including diabetes, kidney disorders, liver disorders, neurological disorders (including nervous system, brain and spinal cord), neuromuscular disorders (including muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis)

The following people should take special precautions during flu season:

  • People who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant
  • Family members of those who cannot get the flu vaccine because they are too young or have a history of negative reactions to the vaccine
  • People who have had an organ transplant
  • People with any of the following conditions:
    • Cancer
    • Chronic lung disease, including asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
    • Blood disorders (including sickle cell disease)
    • Heart disease
    • Weakened immune systems (including people with AIDS)

Anyone, whether they have existing health conditions or not, can develop severe illness from the flu. Anyone concerned about symptoms, discomfort or illness should consult a healthcare provider.

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