If you have heart disease, you need to take special care of your health during the flu season. People with heart problems are especially at risk for complications from the flu.
Because of this risk, it is important to get yourself vaccinated against the flu.
What is the flu?
The flu is a very common viral infection that can cause symptoms such as fever, chills, fatigue, a dry cough, a runny nose, a sore throat, muscle aches, and a loss of appetite. It is much more than a bad cold. Many people feel unable to work or carry on as normal if they have the flu. It is spread by droplets from the coughs and sneezes of people who have it. You can also pick up flu by touching something like a door handle if someone who has flu has touched it before you. Some people with flu develop very serious complications, even if they’ve been in good health before getting sick.
Why is the flu more serious for people with heart disease?
If people with heart disease catch the flu, they are at high risk of developing serious complications, such as stroke and heart attack. Studies have shown that the risk of having a heart attack is 6 to 10 times more likely in the week following a respiratory infection such as the flu. In addition, people with heart disease are at risk of developing dangerous infections, such as pneumonia.
How can you protect yourself against the flu?
You can help protect yourself by getting a flu vaccine as soon as it is available. This will help protect you should the flu season start early. Because the flu viruses can change every year, it is recommended that people get vaccinated every year. A new vaccine is made each year to help protect you against the flu strains expected to be most common during the upcoming flu season. You can get your flu vaccination as long as cases of flu are occurring in your community. It is also highly recommended that family members and caregivers of those with heart diseases get flu vaccines each year as well.
To schedule your flu vaccination,
contact your health care provider.
How does the flu vaccine work?
The flu vaccine will not cause the flu but does help activate your immune system to fight off the flu virus. When you get a flu vaccination, your body’s immune system recognizes the flu virus and fights it. The next time your body comes across the flu virus, it will quickly launch an attack to kill the virus.
To find out more
about the flu vaccine,
talk with your health care provider.