Flu shot could fight heart disease

By Shayna Brouker • Published: January 16th, 2014
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

If the chills, shakes, aches and fatigue of suffering from the flu aren’t enough to get yourself vaccinated, maybe the vaccine’s benefit to your heart health is. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, those who get the influenza vaccine are one-third less likely to have heart issues, such as heart failure or a heart attack. People with heart problems were also 55 percent less likely to face another episode if they got the vaccine than others with heart problems who did not get vaccinated.

The flu puts people with heart disease at a higher risk for heart attack, and the vaccine is highly recommended for those who have heart disease. University of Toronto researchers found that those who got the flu shot were 36 percent less likely to have a heart event and 20 percent less likely to die from one than those who hadn’t had a vaccine.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that up to one-fifth of Americans get the flu every year. The vaccine is recommended for anyone over the age of six months and anyone highly susceptible to complications, such as those with chronic heart and lung problems. You should get the flu shot in September or October to allow two weeks for the antibodies to take effect. The introduction of these antibodies can have some unsavory side effects, like a low-grade fever, fatigue and muscle aches — but the benefits outweigh the risk. There are a few different ways to get it, too: namely a traditional flu shot or a nasal spray vaccine. Talk to your doctor about which is best for you, and then reap the benefits of kicking that flu to the curb and helping your heart.