In most cases influenza is a benign illness but for elderly people, pregnant women and people with chronic diseases, the complications of flu can be dangerous. Vaccination remains the best way of preventing the complications of flu and hospitalisation.
Risks only for at-risk people
For people without risk factors, there are no major risks attached to influenza in Belgium.
- ear infections
- sinus infections
- encephalitis (brain infection)
- septicaemia (blood infection)
DID YOU KNOW? The complications of influenza can be due to bacteria and, in this case only, the infections are treated with antibiotics. A reasoned and responsible use of antibiotics preserves their usefulness for times in which they are really needed, such as for bacterial infections.
The mortality rate for influenza is more often than not due to the complications and concerns the elderly more than others: about 97% of deaths caused by influenza are of people aged 65 and over and 86% of deaths caused by influenza are of people suffering from chronic illnesses.