We all know exercise, a healthy diet, routine doctor visits, and low levels of stress all have an important role in protecting your heart’s health. But did you know getting your annual flu shot is also another significant piece of the puzzle? Read below to find out why.
Yes! Flu Can Trigger Heart Attack or Stroke
Even typical influenza infections can create a cascade effect in your body that leads to a heart attack or stroke. This is caused by the increased levels of inflammation that occur in response to the flu, which may then cause elevated blood pressure, swelling, or sometimes even blood clots.
It can also make your typical cardiovascular symptoms worse. In fact, some studies found that the risk of a heart attack is up to 10 times greater the week following a flu infection!
Flu Vaccine Lowers These Odds
Luckily, getting a flu shot can lower your odds for vascular complications. Simply getting your vaccine gives you a 40% lower odds of getting the flu at all. Plus, it lowers the likelihood of getting severe illness in most people, which may cause dangerous levels of inflammation.
In general, studies show that vaccination may lower your risk of cardiovascular events even if you do catch the flu. Patients with more severe coronary disease had a markedly decreased risk for vascular events thanks to the shot.
Just make sure you get it done annually for maximum protection. Influenza is constantly changing and new upgrades of the vaccine are needed to prevent the most prevalent strands each year.
Get It Before Peak Flu Season to Offset Early Spread
The advised flu shots are available to the public before flu season starts. Flu season has generally been associated with the fall and winter months, although it sometimes lasts until spring. However, with Covid-19 cases that rise and fall throughout the year, it can be even more difficult to predict.
Many doctors advise that you get your flu shot in early fall, especially for higher-risk patients. This gives your body enough time to create antibodies, which often develop to their highest benefit around the two-week mark after your shot. However, if you get your shot too early, your antibodies may have decreased by the time the flu becomes more widespread.
Another benefit of getting your vaccine is that it helps boost herd immunity. This means that there is a smaller chance for other vulnerable people to catch the virus because fewer people will be carrying it to their surroundings.
The most vulnerable patients will be those who are under the age of two and adults over the age of 50 with cardiovascular health issues or other more serious conditions. However, all people age six months and older are recommended to get the shot, especially those with any other medical conditions.
Even with this concern, many people under the age of 65 skip out on the flu shot each year. If you’re committed to living a healthy lifestyle, why not take a few extra minutes to get your annual flu vaccine and potentially avoid serious complications in the future?