Cold & Flu Prevention

5 Things That Boost Your Flu Risk

The HealthCentral Editorial Team Mar 28th, 2012 (updated May 19th, 2014)
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Here we look at five groups of people who have a higher risk of contracting the flu and who might benefit from being vaccinated against it.

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Are you at greater risk?
Are you at greater risk?

Cold and flu season is here, a time when many people wonder if they should get a flu vaccination. Though your doctor can best advise you on this issue, there are some people for whom flu shots are especially recommended.

Here we look at five groups of people who have a higher risk of contracting the flu and who might benefit from being vaccinated against it.

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Chronic illnesses
Chronic illnesses

People who suffer from such chronic conditions as asthma, cystic fibrosis, chronic heart conditions, chronic renal failure, or chronic suppurative lung disease have a greater risk of coming down with the flu.

This is also true for people who take medications that suppress their immune systems.

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Children in school or daycare
Children in school or daycare

If you have children who are in school or daycare, you're probably well aware that your children are more likely to be exposed to flu and other viruses.

And if your children are exposed to these contagions, you will be too!

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Work that involves travel or crowds
Work that involves travel or crowds

If you spend a lot of time traveling for work in airports, buses, or other kinds of mass transportation, you have an increased chance of catching the flu.

This is also true if your work involves dealing with large groups of people on a regular basis, such as if you work in a retail store, supermarket, or school.

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Smoking
Smoking

Smoking damages people's health in a number of ways, including increasing their risk of cancer and other conditions.

But smoking also significantly increases people's risk of catching the flu because it weakens the immune system, making them more vulnerable to the flu virus.

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Work in health care
Work in health care

The risk of developing the flu increases with the number of people you encounter every day. Health care providers are even more at risk because many of the people they meet every day may actually have the flu or have been exposed to it.

Health care providers may also accidentally expose others to the flu if they've been exposed and don't know it.