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4 facts to know about flu and race

A healthcare worker draws vaccine from a vial while a patient waits.

Nov. 20, 2020—Anyone can get the flu. But not everyone is at the same risk for serious illness. Some racial and ethnic groups face greater risks.

Consider these four facts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for example:

1. A CDC study found that Hispanic or Latino people are more likely to be exposed to the flu than non-Hispanic white people. That may be, in part, due to greater exposure through jobs that involve interacting with the public. Or it could also be because of housing issues, such as crowded living conditions.

2. Another study found that non-Hispanic Black, non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native, and Hispanic or Latino people are all at higher risk for being hospitalized with the flu. Black patients were hospitalized more often than any other group.

3. Another CDC study found that people living in high poverty areas are at higher risk for more serious illness from the flu. These economic inequalities may partly explain why patients from some racial and ethnic minority groups end up in the hospital more often.

4. Unfortunately, people from Hispanic or Latino, non-Hispanic Black, American Indian or Alaska Native, and Asian backgrounds are all less likely to get flu shots than non-Hispanic white people are, according to CDC. But a flu shot is the best way to prevent infection and serious illness from the flu. And with COVID-19 circulating at the same time as the flu this year, it's more important than ever to get a flu shot.

It's not too late to ask your doctor or pharmacist for a flu shot. Call to make an appointment today. And if you've already had yours, check in with your loved ones and neighbors to make sure they're protected too.

How does the flu spread? Check out this infographic to find out.

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