Guest Post: Could Your Flu Shot Help Your Heart?

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flu shot

You might have already talked to your doctor about getting a flu shot this year in an effort to combat seasonal illness. Now, this vaccine is readily available in places like health clubs, neighborhood pharmacies and community clinics, too. On a related note, the Women’s College Hospital and University of Toronto collaborated on a study, which found that influenza vaccine could reduce the risk of heart attacks, whether or not a person who received the vaccine had a prior cardiovascular risk.

During the study, researchers looked at clinical trials from the 1960s to the current time and noticed that the vaccine cut down on deaths of all types by approximately 40 percent, and that people reduced their probability of a major cardiac problem by half. Also, the study analyzed over 3,000 patients, and the pool was split almost evenly between people who had prior cardiac problems, and those who did not.

Helpful with Cardiac Implants?

There was also a study at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, which looked at the effects of the influenza vaccine on patients who had cardiac defibrillators implanted inside of them. The study was inspired when lead researchers discovered that their patients tended to have more incidents of needing assistance from their defibrillator during flu season.

The results showed that individuals with implanted defibrillators who received the flu vaccine were about three percent less likely to be reliant on their defibrillator. Researchers seemed optimistic at this evidence, and said that it could be good news for people who have already potentially compromised their lifespan.

Shots for the Needle-Phobic

If one of the reasons why you’ve been putting off your flu shot is because of the needle, there’s a new method to explore. Fluzone intradermal offers a new way to administer the flu vaccination. It uses a very short needle that’s less than 1/10 of an inch long, and only about as thick as a strand of hair. In an article on, Dr William Schaffner, the chairman of preventive medicine at the Vanderbilt School of Medicine also mentioned that the vaccine might also help patients avoid the persistent deep muscle aches that are common with standard flu shots. That’s because the intradermal versions go just under the skin’s surface.

Things to Ask Your Doctor

The possibility of a flu shot reducing the risk of heart problems adds to the already established recommendations that certain groups of the population, such as young children and women who are pregnant, should receive the flu vaccination. It’s also suggested for people who have prior health problems, because when flu strikes, symptoms can be worse for these individuals. If you work in the healthcare field, it’s particularly important to get vaccinated, especially since your potential level of exposure to the flu is so much higher than that of the general population.

However, if you have an allergy to eggs, tell your doctor. Some versions of the flu vaccine include a type of egg protein. Also, speak up if you’ve had a suspected adverse reaction to the flu vaccine before. It might not have been connected to receiving the shot, but it’s good for your doctor to be informed, anyway.

Thanks to advancing technology, the flu is no longer something that you automatically have to start worrying about whenever winter approaches. Be proactive and get vaccinated today.


Kara Martin writes for nursing blogs that feature articles on nursing jobs and higher education including the benefits of second degree nursing programs.

© 2012, Seasoned Citizen Prepper. All rights reserved. On republishing this post you must provide link to original post.


4 Comments  to  Guest Post: Could Your Flu Shot Help Your Heart?

  1. Suni says:

    Rourke This is a really good article. The problem I have taking a flu vaccine is that each Year the CDC is guessing as to what flu will hit in any peculiar year and or region; so it is hit or miss as to whether the peculiar vaccine will work. Case in point some people get the vaccine and still get the flu, although it usually is a milder case but not 100% of the time, some will still get the full force flu. Another thing I have a problem with is the preservatives that are used to preserve the vaccine. In some vaccines they do use small amounts mercury (Thimerosal is what it is called) .
    Last time I heard mercury is not something I want injected into my body. I do think this is something each of us need to decide for ourselves and I do thank you for posting the article. Mercury in Vaccines

    • Rourke says:

      Suni -

      The flu shot is and likely always will be a controversial subject. There are theories out there that suggest it is very beneficial, and there are those that suggest you may just grow a 3rd arm.

      Your right - everyone needs to make their own decisions. I have gotten the flu shot every year for the past 10 years - EXCEPT for last year and this year. No reason other than I just didn't do it.

      Appreciate your thoughts - Rourke

  2. Harriet says:

    Sorry, can't be with you on this one. I have to say I haven't researched the efficacy of influenza shots over the last two years but did prior to that time. Last time I reviewed the situation I could find no evidence other than media releases similar to the article above and they wouldn't convince me to take the shot. When I looked at the actual research it didn't say what the drug company and their medical reps said they said. There just was no evidence that they worked. I'm sorry but a 3% reduction in a 1% risk is just so small as to be infinitesimal. It just doesn't make up for the additional pain and symptoms (dismissed as side effects) that come so routinely as a result of the shots. Suffering from influenza type symptoms for five days (ie side effects) is a high price to pay when the illness might only be that long anyway and the risk where I live is only 2% annually despite shrill claims to the contrary.

    And one year a friend was instructed to give his children the shots. He asked to see the inserts that came with the drug before he would allow it. There in plain English was the statement, "There is no evidence that ... (this drug) reduces influenza." He walked out of the doctors surgery much to the astonishment of both doctor and nurse. They couldn't understand why he wouldn't just comply.

    • Rourke says:

      Harriet -

      No problem. That is one thing we should feel lucky about is that the flu shot is available and can be taken by choice.

      Thanks for your comments and sharing your thoughts!