Updated: Sep 26, 2019
Most people who get sick with the flu will have mild illness and will recover in a less than 2 weeks. However, others may get serious flu complications that can result in long-term illness, hospitalization and even death.
We all know someone who is vulnerable to catching the flu. Individuals with weakened immune systems and certain chronic conditions have the highest risk. Skipping your annual flu vaccine can leave you and others around you vulnerable to the illness – leading to long-term illnesses, hospitalization and even death.
Who is at a high risk for developing serious flu complications?
Flu is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant woman, because of the changes in their immune system, heart, and lungs. Flu may also be harmful for a pregnant woman’s developing baby. Fever, a common flu symptom, may be associated with neural tube defects and other adverse outcomes for a developing baby.
Getting vaccinated not only protects the mother, but it also helps protect a baby after birth from flu, since the mother passes antibodies on to the developing baby during her pregnancy.
Adults 65 years and older are more likely to experience serious flu complications, because their immune system is weakened. They are at an increased risk of heart attack and stroke – even weeks after recovery. In recent years, it is estimated that between 70% and 90% of seasonal flu-related deaths have occurred in people 65 years and older. *
Getting the right vaccination can help protect older adults against the flu by creating a stronger immune response. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about specifically designed vaccines for your age.
People with Chronic Conditions
People with Asthma
Even if your asthma is mild or symptoms are well-controlled with medication, flu infection can be more serious for people with asthma since they already have sensitive airways. Complications can include increased inflammation of the airways and lungs, asthma attacks, pneumonia, and other respiratory diseases.
People with Heart Disease
People with heart disease and those who have had a stroke are at a higher risk of developing serious flu complications. Complications include increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.*
People with Diabetes
People with diabetes (type 1 and type 2) are more likely to experience serious flu complications because diabetes can make the immune system weak. Complications include pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infection, ear infections, and fluctuating blood sugar levels.
The flu can make chronic health conditions worse. Getting vaccinated can help protect the people around you who have these chronic conditions from experiencing serious flu complications.
Protect yourself. Protect others. Get your annual flu shot today!
For more information regarding Flu Vaccine, please visit www.cdc.gov/flu
*Content from Center for Disease Control and Prevention