Flu Shots could Prevent Stroke

Deanne Stein Health Guide
  • I have become such a nag these days to my husband. It's not because we're caring for a newborn and walking around like zombies from lack of sleep, although that doesn't help matters either. I've been on him to get his flu shot. He hasn't been consistent in getting it every year, like I have. I wasn't consistent until my stroke. Now my neurologist recommends I get it. So, each year my son and I go down to the health department and get our free flu shot. This year, it's especially important because we have a newborn in the household, and she can't get a flu shot until she is six months old. My doctor strongly urged all of us to get the vaccine this year so we don't get her sick.

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    According to the Centers for Disease Control, a flu shot each year is the best way to protect you from getting the flu. There are people who should get the vaccine because they are at a high risk for complications from the flu. They include children aged 6 months until their 5th birthday, pregnant women, people 50 years and older, people with certain chronic medical conditions and people living in nursing homes. People who care for those considered high risk should also be vaccinated. People who shouldn't be vaccinated are those who are allergic to chicken eggs, children less than 6 months of age or people who have an illness with a fever.


    Since my stroke, I have been getting the vaccine each year to lessen my chance of getting the flu. But according to the American Heart Association, the vaccine not only protects against the flu, but also could help prevent stroke. Follow this link to check out the AHA's study. French researchers conducted a study several years ago and found the flu vaccine may offer significant protection against stroke in people 75 years old and younger. Research has show that stroke and heart attach are related to infections that cause clots in the arteries that run from the brain to the heart. So, researchers believe the vaccine may protect against stroke by reducing the occurrences of infections. Also, vaccinated patients may have better lifestyles, which would also help prevent stroke.


    The vaccine is also a benefit to heart patients. According to the AHA, studies show that death from the flu is more common among people with cardiovascular disease than any other chronic condition. Some doctors even believe the flu shot could prevent thousands of flu-related complications and deaths each year among heart disease patients. People with heart disease are at an increased risk of complications from the flu, including pneumonia, respiratory failure, heart attack and death. The flu can also cause dehydration and worsen heart failure, diabetes or asthma.


    Always check with your doctor first before getting the flu vaccine. The best time to get it is in September through November, but it is not too late. Doctors say you can still benefit by getting vaccinated now through January. The flu season peaks in January, February and March.

  • In the meantime, I will keep on my husband. He's not opposed to getting the vaccine, he just has a demanding job and honestly I think he simply forgets. But I may have to put him in the car and drive him down to the health department myself.

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    http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3000472 link for stroke study

Published On: January 07, 2008