Should heart disease patients get the H1N1 (swine) flu shot?

People with heart disease are at high risk for flu-related complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control, so it's especially important that they get a flu shot each year. There's no specific H1N1 (swine) flu shot. Instead, the seasonal flu shot includes protection against H1N1 and is recommended for everyone ages 6 months and older.
Diana K. Blythe, MD
Heart patients should get the H1N1 flu shot. In fact, anyone who is weakened by a chronic disease is more at risk for getting a worse case of the flu, or influenza, and the flu shot should be part of their basic medical care. However, rest assured that you do not need an extra flu shot. After the 2009/2010 flu season where it was a separate shot, H1N1 will be part of the regular seasonal flu shot if coverage is needed.

The H1N1 strain is now part of the regular seasonal flu vaccine which is recommended for all individuals over the age of 6 months. Patients with certain underlying medical conditions, including heart disease, are at greater risk from complications should they get infected with the flu, and therefore it is particularly important that they receive the flu vaccine every year.

As of summer 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that patients with heart disease receive the shot vaccination for the H1N1 (swine) influenza strain that emerged in 2009. The presence of heart disease increases the risk that a patient who contracts the H1N1 influenza will be hospitalized. These patients should also not allow concern over the H1N1 influenza to overshadow concern about the seasonal flu. The seasonal flu increases the risk of heart attacks and other complications in patients with heart disease.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.