Health Watch - Flu: Other Medical Issues

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about protecting yourself and your family before flu season starts. Vaccination recommendations often refer to “underlying medical conditions” that mean people are most in need of vaccination. What does that mean?

Dr. Jeffrey Kahn, a pediatric infectious disease expert at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says underlying medical conditions are those that are risk factors for a more serious infection associated with influenza. In other words, people who have these conditions are more likely to get sicker from the flu. These conditions include asthma, chronic lung disease, diabetes, pregnancy and any illness that suppresses the immune system. Cancer can also be a risk because the treatment often weakens the immune system.

People with these conditions are more vulnerable to infection. Patients with underlying medical conditions should talk to their doctors about any vaccinations they need, including a flu shot.  

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September 2010


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