Who are at risk for flu complications?

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Who are at risk for flu complications?

It is a known fact that the flu typically affects high risk individuals through secondary infections or other complications. Some are at high risk for the flu complications. The symptoms of flu typically start 2 days after being exposed to the virus. The symptoms include:

flu complications
Chills is one of the symptoms of flu.
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Muscle aches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Ear pain
  • Diarrhea

There are certain groups that are at high risk for getting the flu. It is important to be aware of these high-risk groups so that you can find a way to protect yourself in case you are included in one of the groups.

Children below 2 years old

Due to the underdeveloped immune system of young children, especially those below 2 years old, they are more prone to suffer from the complications from the flu. The complications that can develop include dehydration, pneumonia, ear infections and sinus problems. If flu is suspected, it is important to seek immediate treatment to prevent these complications.

Adults starting at the age of 65 and older

Just like with young children, the elderly are also susceptible to the complications of flu since they are unable to prevent infections and viruses due to the weakened bodily defenses. Even infection can worsen long-term health issues such as asthma, heart diseases as well as the inflammation of the brain.

Diminished immune system

Individuals who are suffering from HIV or AIDs have a weakened immune system. Understandably, these individuals are also at higher risk for complications from flu since their bodies are not strong enough to fight off the infection.


During pregnancy, it increases the likelihood of serious flu-related complications not only to the mother, but also to the unborn child. Fever is the most common symptom of flu and must be treated right away since it can cause adverse effects on the child.

Individuals undergoing aspirin therapy

Those who are undergoing aspirin therapy are at higher risk for complications especially children and teenagers.


Individuals who have certain diseases face a higher risk for developing infections since their immune system is lowered. It can be caused by certain treatment or diseases. The diseases that put individuals at risk for infections include:

  • Lung diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiac diseases
  • Kidney diseases
  • Blood diseases
  • Liver diseases
  • Metabolic diseases

Individuals who have these diseases must be given priority when getting annual flu shots. It is important to consult a doctor right away if the symptoms of flu are present. Take note that the initial 48 hours after the onset of the symptoms is the right time for the delivery of treatment.

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Even though these groups typically describe types of individuals who at high risk for serious complications of flu, there are certain exceptions based on the specific strain of the flu virus. A good example is the H1N1 flu pandemic back in 2009 in which the complications led to the deaths of some adults aged 20-30 years old. It was considered rare and flu viruses are not capable of harming healthy individuals in this age group. The older individuals are protected from the H1N1 flu since it is quite similar to the flu virus back in 1950s, thus the older individuals might have retained immunity than the younger individuals.

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