Flu shots may help prevent heart attack or stroke according to research

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Posted: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 5:22 pm | Updated: 11:14 am, Wed Oct 23, 2013.

As we welcome in fall, it's an unpleasant reminder "flu season" is here along with those cooler temperatures. And, that also means the debate over flu shots is back.

Like it or not, tis the season to roll up your sleeves and get a flu shot. Now, studies involving more than 6,500 participant find those with compromised immune systems may have more compelling reasons to do so, and, the CDC reports if you have heart disease or have had a stroke, you need to take steps to fight the flu.

Chippy Nalluri of Heart Specialists of Sarasota said, "Your body is more stressed and if you have a heart condition, or if you're ill in some other way it further depletes your body and you get sick and you could even die."

And, there are more compelling reasons for those with certain conditions to avoid the flu and get their shots

"In patients with heart disease we have found that if you get the flu shot your chance of having a heart attack is actually reduced by up to fifty percent." Said Dr. Nalluri. "It can cause severe inflammation and we think perhaps that this inflammation can cause a rupture of the plaque in the blood vessels of the heart."

Flu symptoms can stress your heart and make it work harder, said Cindy Stutler, R.N. of Doctors Hospital of Sarasota. "A lot of times you have a high fever, you get dehydrated your sick." She added.

Chronic conditions including asthma, stroke or compromised immune systems may pose more risk of complications caused by the flu "You can be severely ill, you can get pneumonia, you can get a bacterial infection." She said.

But, there are simple ways to help protect yourself from the flu, said Stutler. "Wash your hands, cover your eyes, nose and mouth so you don't get the droplets in your eyes, nose and mouth. Use tissues, and throw your tissues away and use the hand gel." And, consider your risk when in crowded environments such as schools or hospitals. "The more you stay out of public places where people are ill, the safer you're going to be. And if you display symptoms dont be a hero. Stay home. She said.

So, how compelled should you be to get a shot?  Dr. Nalluri Said,  "Getting the flu shot can reduce the complication of having the flu by 60 percent and the risk of dying by eighty percent."

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