Influenza (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.
Marshfield Clinic Health System location for information on how to get your flu shot.
Note: Influenza and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses caused by different viruses. Because some of the
symptoms of influenza and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis.
Contact your primary care provider if you have flu-like symptoms to learn the best treatment for you.
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 influenza-related complications:
- Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old.
- Adults 65 years of age and older.
- Pregnant women (and women up to two weeks postpartum).
- Residents of nursing home and other long-term care facilities.
- Also, American Indians and Alaskan Natives seem to be at higher risk of influenza complications.
People who have medical conditions including:
- 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)