5 Conditions That Make You More Susceptible to the Flu

ImageCare Radiology provides preventive imaging in New Jersey. We recommend to all of the patients we see, whether you are here for a lung screening or a mammogram, to get your flu shot every year. It protects you, and it protects other people.

A family of three who have all received their flu vaccine and are showing off the bandage.

The flu is highly contagious.

It affects your nose and throat and can even cause lung issues. When someone carrying the flu virus coughs, sneezes, or even just talks, that can send tiny droplets that land on another person and spread the virus.

The symptoms of the flu can include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches

The flu varies in severity depending on the person affected. For some, it could lead to more severe complications.

National Influenza Vaccination Week takes place from December 5 through December 9.

In honor of this week, we will discuss five conditions that can cause someone to be more susceptible to getting the flu and experiencing more extreme symptoms.


Pregnant individuals experience changes in their immune system, making them more susceptible to respiratory infections, including the flu. Additionally, the flu can have more severe consequences during pregnancy, making it crucial for expectant mothers to take preventive measures.

Age (Young or Elderly)

The young and the elderly are more vulnerable to the flu due to developing or weakened immune systems. Infants and young children may not have fully developed immune responses, while older individuals may experience a decline in immune function, increasing their susceptibility to infections.

Underlying Health Conditions

Those with autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or diabetes, often have compromised immune systems. This weakened defense mechanism can make them more vulnerable to infections, including the flu, and may lead to more severe and prolonged illness.

Immunodeficiency Disorders

Conditions that directly affect the immune system, such as HIV/AIDS or certain cancers, can significantly increase susceptibility to the flu. Individuals with compromised immune systems may struggle to mount an effective defense against the influenza virus, leading to a higher risk of infection and complications.

Chronic Respiratory Conditions

People with chronic respiratory conditions like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or cystic fibrosis are more susceptible to respiratory infections, including the flu. These conditions can weaken the respiratory system, making it harder to fight off infections and increasing the risk of severe flu-related complications.

Even if you are not experiencing the above conditions, getting your flu shot is still a smart idea. Chances are you know or interact with people who fit into one or more of the above categories.