Do you have a long-term health condition? If so, you are at high risk of serious illness if you get the flu. In past flu seasons, as many as 80 percent of adults hospitalized from flu complications had a long-term health condition. Asthma, diabetes and chronic heart disease were among the most common of these.


Your medical condition makes it more likely that you will get flu complications such as pneumonia. The flu also can make long-term health problems worse, even if they are well-managed. People with asthma or chronic congestive heart failure may experience worsening of their conditions. Diabetes (type 1 and 2) can make the immune system less able to fight the flu and can raise blood sugar levels.


Check with your doctor promptly if you have a high risk condition and you get flu symptoms. Common symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Your doctor may prescribe antiviral drugs to treat your flu illness.


The following is a list of top health and age factors that are known to increase a person’s risk of getting serious complications from the flu:


  • Asthma
  • Blood disorders (such as sickle cell disease)
  • Chronic lung disease (such as COPD and cystic fibrosis)
  • Endocrine disorders (such as diabetes)
  • Heart disease (such as congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease)
  • Kidney disorders
  • Liver disorders
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Morbid obesity
  • Neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions
  • Weakened immune system due to disease or medication (such as those with cancer or on chronic steroids)
  • Adults 65 years and older
  • Children younger than 5 years old
  • Pregnant women and women up to 2 weeks after the end of pregnancy
  • American Indians and Alaska Natives


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If the flu knocks you off your feet, remember that we are here to help. We can send an aide to look after you and your home to keep everything safe, clean, and comfortable while you recover.

Flu Complications Serious Illness

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