Protect Yourself Against Influenza
Posted 12/07/2012 01:00AM

Who's at Risk for the Flu?

A senior sits with a nurseAre you or a member of your family at increased risk of getting the flu or having flu-related complications? People that fall into the following categories should get vaccinated and take special steps during flu season:

• A weakening immune system makes seniors—adults 65 years and older— more susceptible to the flu. For seniors, the seasonal flu can be very serious, even deadly. Seniors have two options for vaccination: a regular or high-dose flu shot.

Children are at higher risk for the flu because their immune systems are not fully developed. Some children between 6 months and 8 years old require two doses of flu vaccine. The second dose should be given at least 28 days after the first dose.

Pregnant women
Pregnant women should get the flu shot, not the nasal spray. If a pregnant woman gets the flu shot during pregnancy, it will provide some protection to her baby after birth. Once the baby is born, breastfeeding will help her baby stay healthy during flu season.

People with Disabilities
• Not all people with disabilities are at high risk for the flu. You are at high risk if you have limited mobility, may come in contact with a sick caregiver, or are unable to communicate symptoms.

People with Health Conditions
• People with health conditions, including arthritis, asthma, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, or HIV/AIDS, may be at higher risk for flu-related complications.

• Flu season varies by location. Travelers should research the current flu threat level where they are going. The U.S. vaccine will protect against the major flu viruses found in other parts of the world.

Be sure to check with your health care provider about your specific situation and treatments.

Everybody can do their part to help prevent the spread of germs and protect themselves from the flu. Follow us on Twitter (@FluGov) for a different flu tip each Friday (#FluTips).

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