Almost anyone can benefit from getting vaccinated. But for some people, getting an annual flu shot is vital. The CDC says that anyone whose life could be endangered by the flu should line up for a shot each fall. This high-risk population includes:
- Anyone 65 or older.
- Residents of nursing homes or chronic-care facilities.
- People who have been diagnosed with any type of heart or lung disease, including asthma.
- Anyone who has had metabolic or kidney problems, including diabetes.
- People who've been treated for blood or immune disorders.
- Children older than 6 months who are being treated with aspirin therapy (in order to prevent a serious condition known as Reye's syndrome that can follow a viral infection).
- Women who will be in the second or third trimester of pregnancy during the flu season.
A vaccination is also a must for anyone who could spread the flu to a high-risk person. That means doctors, nurses, and all health-care workers. But it also includes anybody who spends time with sick or elderly people during the flu season.
Other good candidates are breast-feeding moms, people infected with HIV, and overseas travelers any time of the year.
Who Should Not?
It's a pretty small category of people for whom the flu shot isn't a good idea. If you're allergic to eggs, which are used in making the vaccine, talk to your doctor about alternatives, and follow the preventive measures to avoid the bug.