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Why Your Heart Loves the Flu Shot

Why Your Heart Loves the Flu Shot

Still on the fence about getting a flu shot this year? Well, if the sore throat, fever, runny nose and chills aren’t enough to convince you, this might. Getting the flu vaccine may also protect your ticker.

An analysis of studies involving nearly 7,000 people found that participants who got the flu shot were 36% less likely to have a heart event, such as a heart attack or hospitalization, compared to those who didn’t get the vaccine. In those with a history of heart disease, the risk was 55% lower. And the risk of dying from heart disease was reduced 20%.

How the vaccine likely protects your heart
When you come down with the flu, you typically feel aches and pains. These discomforts are actually caused by inflammation as your body fights the flu. The researchers believe that inflammation can trigger plaques in the arteries to erupt, leading to a heart attack or another event. By preventing the flu, the vaccine protects you from that harmful inflammation.  

Already got your shot? There are plenty of other surprising ways to lower your risk of heart disease:

  • Safeguard your smile. Research suggests there’s a link between flossing and heart disease.
  • Try turmeric. This Indian spice has been shown to help prevent arterial plaques from gaining a foothold in blood vessels.
  • Use your vacation days. Research shows that regular getaways may prevent heart disease.
  • Choose chocolate. Flavonoids found in dark chocolate, the kind with the highest cocoa content, are thought to help protect against heart disease.

So head on over to your nearest pharmacy and get your flu shot today. Not only will it protect you from getting sick, your heart will love you for it.

Medically reviewed in April 2019.

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