The flu affects millions of individuals each year, but did you know that some people are more at risk than others? All patients should do their part to avoid the flu this flu season, but it’s important to know who’s at a higher risk. According to the CDC, these are the facts you need to know. 

The Younger the Patient the Higher the Risk

The CDC reports that patients under the age of 18 are twice as likely to get the flu than adults. Additionally, patients from 0-4 years old are at the highest risk in the underage category. This increased risk can be attributed to multiple things including a weak immune system, poor hygiene, and exposure to peers who also have weak immune systems and poor hygiene. When a child this young develops the flu it’s especially dangerous because they’re unable to clearly verbalize their symptoms. 

Protecting Against the Flu

Anybody over the age of 6 months old is able to receive their flu vaccine. Those under 6 months of age are at an especially high risk since they can’t get vaccinated and depend entirely on those around them to vaccinate. Regardless of your age, you should receive your flu shot a month before flu season begins. Even pregnant women and elderly people are able to receive a flu vaccine! Other methods of prevention include:

  • Handwashing – handwashing should be done regularly and last the length of time it takes to say your ABC’s. Teach children the importance of handwashing from a young age and if they’re too young to do it alone, help them wash their hands. 
  • Vampire Sneezing/Coughing – sneeze and cough into your elbow rather than the palm of your hand, teach children to do the same. 
  • Avoid handshakes and other unnecessary contact during flu season. 

Know the Symptoms

Sometimes even the best prevention isn’t enough which will leave you to treat the symptoms until the flu passes. Be on the lookout for these symptoms: 

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Stuffy nose
  • Achy muscles 
  • Headache
  • Sudden fatigue
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms

If you’re in need of a flu vaccine or treatment for flu symptoms, your local urgent care can help! Call or stop in today to make sure you’re protected. If you begin to notice flu symptoms, seek treatment quickly to see the best results. Patients under the age of 4 should be monitored especially close for signs of fatigue and fever.