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Flu Center

Flu Causes and Risk Factors

Risk factors
Each year, up to 36,000 people die each year from flu-related complications, and more than 200,000 people require hospitalization.   If you are a young child, have a weak immune system (due to HIV or medication), or are elderly (age 50 or older), you are more susceptible to catching the flu.  Other people susceptible to catching the flu, or have to be extra careful include the following:

  • children on long-term aspirin therapy
  • people with a chronic disorder, such as diabetes or heart, kidney or lung disease
  • pregnant mothers
  • resident of a nursing home or other long term care facility
  • siblings, parents, teachers, or other people who are in close contact with young children
  • workers in health care facilities during flu season 

If you do develop flu, you are more likely to develop the following:

  • Acute sinusitis
  • Bronchitis
  • Ear infections
  • Encephalitis
  • Pneumonia

But how can you know if you are experiencing a case of the flu or other illness? Learn to identify the symptoms of flu by reading the Flu Symptoms section that follows. For more information regarding duration of flu symptoms, read on. 

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