Chronic medical conditions increase risk for flu complications

MECOSTA, LAKE COUNTIES — If you are living with certain chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, or asthma, you are at higher risk of developing serious complications from flu, such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and other illnesses that can lead to hospitalization or even death.

Even if your chronic condition is well-controlled, flu can makeyour condition worse; it can trigger asthma attacks, increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, and make your blood sugar harder to manage. Flu vaccination is recommended to protect you from severe flu-related illness and help keep your chronic condition under control.

Every year, flu is responsible for millions of illnesses, tens of thousands of hospitalizations, and thousands of deaths. Last flu season, nine out of 10 adults hospitalized with flu had at least one reported underlying medical condition. The most commonly reported underlying medical conditions in patients hospitalized for flu include heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and chronic lung disease.

A flu shot reduces your risk of getting sick with flu, but even if getting a flu shot does not completely prevent flu infection, some studies show that it can help reduce the severity of illness and prevent complications that can result in hospitalization and death.

Getting vaccinated against flu is always extra important for people with certain chronic conditions, but as the U.S. battles the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever. Flu and COVID-19 together could overwhelm our medical systems.

A flu shot this season can help protect you from flu and reduce your risk of needing medical care for flu-related complications. We can all do our part to reduce the spread of flu and protect our loved ones and our community from flu, saving medical resources to care for COVID-19 patients.

There’s still time to get a flu shot.

“Flu season is upon us, but we haven’t seen a large influx of cases yet, which means a flu shot can still help reduce the risk from flu,” said Dr. Jennifer Morse, medical director for District Health Department No. 10.

Hundreds of millions of flu shots have been safely given in the United States for decades. Data show that getting a flu shot is the best way to protect against flu.

Reduce your risks from flu this season. Get vaccinated now to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community from flu. We can all fight flu. Make it your priority today.

Call 888-217-3904 to schedule your flu shot with DHD No. 10.

Residents with questions about vaccines, including the flu vaccine, can visit IVaccinate.org. For more information about flu activity in Michigan, visit Michigan.gov/flu.