Who Is Most at Risk of Flu Complications?

Influenza, or flu as it's usually commonly called, is a pretty unpleasant virus to have. Some people claim to have the flu every time they get a common cold, but, while colds aren't very nice, they won't usually have you as ill as the flu will. With actual flu, you can expect stiff and achy muscles, a fever and high fatigue on top of the usual cold symptoms.

For most people, as nasty as it is, the flu isn't a serious condition. However, there are some groups of people who could be at higher risk of complications if they contract the flu. If you fall into one of these categories, it's important that you arrange to have the flu vaccine each year before the season begins, so you can minimise your chances of getting sick. A medical centre can usually provide this service.

Pregnant women

When women are pregnant, their immune systems aren't working at their most effective. Because of this, pregnant women are not only more likely to get the flu, but also they're more prone to pneumonia and other complications. And these complications can be serious both for the mum and the baby, leading to premature births or babies with a low weight.

People over 65

Flu is sometimes more serious in older people because they're weaker than younger adults. There may be a higher risk of breathing problems, and hospitalisation is fairly common.


People with asthma should take care with anything that causes problems with their airways, and the flu certainly fits that category. It can trigger attacks, and there's a higher risk of developing pneumonia.

People with immune disorders

HIV and other conditions that impair the immune system make it very difficult for the body to fight off influenza. This typically makes cases more severe, with an increased risk of further complications. However, you should consult your doctor to make sure you're a good candidate for the vaccine.


Firstly, people with diabetes have a greater risk of pneumonia than other flu sufferers. Secondly, the flu can increase blood sugar levels, which makes it difficult to control diabetes and can cause issues with that condition, too.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Indigenous people of various age groups are statistically more likely to experience serious complications as a result of contracting the flu, in addition to having higher rates of infection. This is partly due to lifestyle factors, and partly because of a higher prevalence of other medical conditions with risky interactions with the flu. The 5-14 age group is the least at risk, but it's still recommended that people of these ages are vaccinated to protect others around them.