If you have heart disease or have suffered a stroke, the flu can be serious. That’s because you are more likely to develop flu-related complications. Getting a flu shot every year is the best way to protect yourself from the flu.
If you’ve ever had influenza—commonly known as the flu—you know it can hit fast and leave you feeling miserable, achy and barely able to get out of bed. For most of us, the flu is a big nuisance, making us miss work and put plans on hold.
But if you have heart disease or have suffered a stroke, the flu can be much more serious. That’s because you are more likely to develop flu-related complications, including sinus and ear infections, pneumonia, or heart attack. More rarely, you could also develop inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis) or the protective sac around the heart (pericarditis).
In fact, many people with heart disease and other chronic health conditions die from the flu each year. Infections like the flu or pneumonia can place added strain on the heart and other organs. But getting vaccinated against the flu can prevent many of these deaths.
Getting a flu shot every year is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from the flu. It can help keep you from getting sick and suffering related complications.
Each year, the flu strikes up to 1 out of 5 Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The infection, which spreads easily through tiny droplets in the air when someone coughs or sneezes, sends more than 200,000 people on average to the hospital for flu-related complications yearly.
Getting a flu shot is your best protection. According to the CDC, during the 2017 flu season, vaccination prevented:
- 7 million flu illnesses
- Over 100,000 flu-related hospitalizations
- 8,000 flu deaths
Just like eating heart-healthy foods, exercising regularly and following up with routine health visits can help protect your heart health, so can rolling up your sleeve and getting a flu shot each year.