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Groups at High Risk for Flu Complications


Updated October 13, 2012

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

The flu is not fun for anyone. Fever, fatigue and coughing fits will knock even the healthiest person down. But certain groups of people are at higher risk for complications from the flu than others.

The flu can be more than an inconvenience to these people. It can lead to things like pneumonia, bronchitis, hospitalization and even death. Groups that are at high risk for complications from the flu include:

  • Adults over the age of 65
  • Children younger than 2 years old
  • Those with chronic health conditions (any age) such as diabetes, asthma, heart disease and lung disease
  • Pregnant women

For those with chronic health problems, the flu can lead to worsening of those conditions.

The best way to avoid the flu is with a flu shot. Everyone in these high risk groups should be vaccinated with a flu shot, not the nasal spray flu vaccine. If you can't get a flu shot, make sure those around you are vaccinated and talk to your health care provider about starting antiviral medications if you are exposed to the flu.

Of course, the flu can be very serious for people not included in the list above as well. It's more than just a bad cold and claims the lives of thousands of people every year. Do what you can to avoid this serious illness.


"Seasonal Flu." Flu.gov. US Department of Health and Human Services. 28 Dec 10.

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