Influenza is a common respiratory condition that has a history of developing into epidemics and pandemics. Individuals at risk of influenza and related complications include older people, young children and individuals with chronic renal, cardiac and respiratory diseases. Influenza can begin suddenly and is accompanied by fever, chills, aches, pains, headaches, fatigue, cough and generalized weakness that can last up to 14 days. Complications of influenza include secondary bacterial pneumonia, post-influenza encephalitis, changes in cardiac electrocardiogram and secondary bacterial infections, such as Staphylococcus aureus-induced myositis. The influenza vaccine is the main form of treatment. Suitably qualified nurse prescribers and nurses who supply and administer the vaccine under patient group directions should be sufficiently knowledgeable about the virus and how its transmission can be prevented in order to educate patients at risk of developing influenza about the role of the vaccine in the prevention of the disease.