CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) — Getting an annual flu vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from getting the flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If you are at higher risk of developing serious flu complications, the flu vaccine is most important and should be your first priority. When you get vaccinated, you reduce your risk of getting sick with the flu and possibly being hospitalized or dying.

The following is a list of factors that are known to increase a person’s risk of getting the flu:

  • Adults 65 years and older
  • Children younger than 2 years old
  • Asthma
  • Neurologic and neurodevelopment conditions
  • Blood disorders (such as sickle cell disease)
  • Chronic lung disease (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD] and cystic fibrosis)
  • Endocrine disorders (such as diabetes mellitus)
  • Heart disease (such as congenital heart disease, congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease)
  • Kidney diseases
  • Liver disorders
  • Metabolic disorders (such as inherited metabolic disorders and mitochondrial disorders)
  • People who are obese with a body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher
  • People younger than 19 years old on long-term aspirin- or salicylate-containing medications.
  • People with a weakened immune system due to disease (such as people with HIV or AIDS, or some cancers such as leukemia) or medications (such as those receiving chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer, or persons with chronic conditions requiring chronic corticosteroids or other drugs that suppress the immune system)
  • People who have had a stroke

Other people who are at higher risk:

  • Pregnant people and people up to 2 weeks after the end of pregnancy
  • People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  • People from certain racial and ethnic minority groups are at increased risk for hospitalization with flu, including non-Hispanic Black persons, Hispanic or Latino persons, and American Indian or Alaska Native persons
  • Although all children younger than 5 years old are considered at higher risk of serious flu complications, the highest risk is for those younger than 2 years old, with the highest hospitalization and death rates among infants younger than 6 months old.

Information on groups at higher risk from COVID-19 is available here.

For more information, visit https://www.cdc.gov/flu/highrisk/index.htm.