Colds and flu

Updated 11 July 2014

Who is most at risk for flu complications?

There are certain groups who are at high risk for flu complications.


The majority of young, healthy people will not develop flu complications.

However, well-recognised complications can affect the following high-risk people:

  • the very young, particularly toddlers younger than a year
  • the very old (more than 90 percent of deaths related to influenza occur in the elderly, 65 years or older)
  • pregnant women (mid to late pregnancy)
  • those with heart disease
  • those with respiratory (chest) disease
  • those with HIV, or others who are immune compromised (e.g. people with tuberculosis.)

Reviewed (2006) by Dr Jane Yeats MBChB, BSc(Med)(Hons)Biochem, FCPathSA(Virology).


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Flu expert

Dr Heidi van Deventer completed her MBChB (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) degree in 2004 at the University of Stellenbosch.
She has additional training in ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) and PALS (Paediatric Advanced Life Support) as well as biostatistics and epidemiology.

Dr Van Deventer is currently working as a researcher at the Desmond Tutu Tuberculosis Centre at the University of Stellenbosch.

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