Guest Post: Could Your Flu Shot Help Your Heart?

 

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 ABCNews.com, 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.

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