Seasonal influenza is an acute respiratory infection caused by influenza viruses, which circulate in all parts of the world. In Austria, around 4,000 deaths associated with influenza infection were registered in winter 2022/23. (source WHO source Ages)

For further information please contact your physician or pharmacist.

Key facts

  • Influenza (Flu) is caused by the group of viruses of the family Orthomyxoviridae.(1)
  • Outbreaks of influenza are known since ancient times.(1)
  • Three types of influenza viruses, influenza A, B and C are capable of infecting humans.(1)
  • In the elderly, infants and in people with chronic diseases influenza is associated with high mortality.(1)

What is Influenza?

Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.(2)

Where does Influenza occur?

Influenza epidemics emerge seasonally and typically occur during the winter seasons of the northern and southern hemispheres.(3)

Who is at risk of contracting Influenza?

Any person can get influenza through the droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk.(2) Less often, a person might get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching his/her own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes.(2) Individuals with a weak immune system, children, persons aged 65 and older(2) and immunocompromised patients are particularly vulnerable to influenza infection.(3) People at higher risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant people, people with certain chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease, and people 65 years and older.(4)

What are the symptoms of Influenza?

Sign and symptoms of flu include chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headache, and fatigue. Influenza may or may not be accompanied by fever.(2,3)

How can Influenza be treated?

  • The best way to reduce your risk from seasonal flu and its potentially serious complications is to get vaccinated every year.(4,5) The annual influenza vaccination is recommended for everyone who wants to protect themselves.(5) Flu vaccines help to reduce the burden of flu illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths on the health care system each year.(4,5)
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.(4)
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.(4,5)
  • Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.(4)
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water.(4,5)
  • If you are ill, stay at home and seek medical help if necessary.(4,5)


  1. Taubenberger and Morens.The Pathology of Influenza virus infections. Annu Rev Pathol 2008; 3:499-522.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Key Facts About Influenza (Flu). Online available: (Last accessed December 2023)
  3. Soema et. al. Current and next generation influenza vaccines: formulation and production strategies. Eur J Pharm Biopharm. 2015 Aug; 94:251-63
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Online available: (Last accessed December 2023)
  5. Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection. Online available: (Last accessed December 2023)

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