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Kristina Duda, R.N.

NIVW: The Flu and Chronic Health Conditions

By December 6, 2012

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People with chronic health conditions are at an increased risk for getting the flu and developing complications if they get it. Specific chronic health conditions may be anything from Heart Disease to Cancer. Anything that causes you to have a weakened immune system puts you at risk for the flu.


Anyone who has cancer is at increased risk for severe flu symptoms or complications. If you have cancer or have a weakened immune system due to recent cancer treatments, talk to your doctor about whether or not the flu vaccine is appropriate for you.

Chronic Fatigue/Fibromyalgia

People with Chronic Fatigue or Fibromyalgia often have concerns about vaccines. From our Chronic Fatigue/Fibromyalgia Guide, find out more about whether or not flu shots are right for you.


Having diabetes predisposes you to many other conditions and complications. It is often more difficult for your body to recover from illnesses and infections and the flu is no exception. If you have diabetes, talk to your health care provider about getting a flu shot.

Heart Disease

The flu is a dangerous illness for people with heart disease. When your heart doesn't function as it should, it puts you at risk for serious complications from other illnesses, including the flu.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Like other chronic illnesses, rheumatoid arthritis weakens your immune system and puts you at risk for complications from the flu. Find out what our Arthritis Guide has to say about flu shots.

If you have a chronic illness or condition that isn't listed here but affects your immune system, talk to your health care provider about getting a flu vaccine. For most people, they are the best line of defense to protect yourself from the flu.


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