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High-Risk Groups for Flu Complications

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Flu viruses can infect anyone, but some groups of people are more at risk for serious complications than other groups.

High-risk groups for the flu are people that develop severe symptoms leading to hospitalization and, in some cases death. These groups should make every effort to get seasonal flu vaccinations to prevent infection.

High-risk groups for the flu

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the following people are at high risk for developing flu-related complications:

  • Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old 
  • Adults 65 years of age and older 
  • Pregnant women 
  • Also, American Indians and Alaskan Natives seem to be at higher risk of flu complications

People who have medical conditions including:

  • Asthma
  • Neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions [including disorders of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerve, and muscle such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy (seizure disorders), stroke, intellectual disability (mental retardation), moderate to severe developmental delay, muscular dystrophy, or spinal cord injury].
  • Chronic lung disease (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD] and cystic fibrosis)
  • Heart disease (such as congenital heart disease, congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease)
  • Blood disorders (such as sickle cell disease)
  • Endocrine disorders (such as diabetes mellitus)
  • Kidney disorders
  • Liver disorders
  • Metabolic disorders (such as inherited metabolic disorders and mitochondrial disorders)
  • Weakened immune system due to disease or medication (such as people with HIV or AIDS, or cancer, or those on chronic steroids)
  • People younger than 19 years of age who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy
  • People who are morbidly obese (Body Mass Index, or BMI, of 40 or greater)