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Heart to Heart: Protecting Yourself from the Flu When You Have Heart Disease

psa about flu and heart disease
Posted on February 22, 2023
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It is extremely important that those with heart disease receive an annual flu shot. Unfortunately, people with heart conditions are more likely to become very sick if they get the flu. The good news is that the annual flu vaccination can help prevent complications, hospitalization, and even death.

Complications from the flu are more likely in people with heart disease, often leading to:

  • Pneumonia
  • Bronchitis
  • Lung Failure
  • Heart Attack
  • Death

If you have heart disease, protecting yourself from the flu should be a top priority as there is a high connection between flu and heart disease.
10x increased risk of heart attack within 1-3 days of flu infection.

Inflammation in the body increases the risk of a heart attack weeks after an acute flu infection.
The flu triggers as many as 1 in 5 heart failure hospitalizations during months when influenza viruses are circulating at high rates.
During a recent flu season, sudden, serious heart complications occurred in 1 out of every 8 flu patients.
Among adults hospitalized with flu during recent flu seasons, heart disease was one of the most common chronic (long-term) conditions—about half of the adults hospitalized with flu have heart disease according to the CDC.

So how can you protect yourself?

Flu vaccination can reduce the risk of cardiac death by up to 50% for people with heart disease. Flu vaccination can reduce major cardiovascular events by 43%. Flu vaccination can be equally or even more effective at preventing heart attacks than other behavioral modifications or medications such as: statins (19-30%), antihypertensive therapy (17-25%) and smoking cessation (32-43%).

The flu vaccine has also been shown to reduce the risk of getting sick with flu as well as reduce the risk of having serious flu outcomes like staying in the hospital or being admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU). Flu vaccination has also been associated with lower rates of some cardiac events among people with heart disease, especially among those who have had a cardiac event in the past year.

If you or someone in your circle has heart disease, prioritize getting the annual flu vaccine. It is such a simple and easy way to protect yourself!

Reminder: People with heart disease should not receive the nasal spray flu vaccine. However, if you are between ages 2-49 and high blood pressure is your only cardiac condition, the nasal spray vaccine may be an option.

Talk to your healthcare provider today about which flu vaccine is best for you or your loved ones.


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