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Doctors Say Flu Vaccine Could Prevent Heart Attacks

"With some recent studies it's actually been shown that people who get the flu shot actually have a lower risk of having heart attack, strokes especially people who have a history of coronary artery disease," said Dr. Chris Vaccari, cardiologist, Hagerstown Heart.

HAGERSTOWN, Md. - It's that time of the year again when temperatures are dropping and flu season is in full swing. But the flu shot may be protecting you from more than just the flu. 

WHAG's Kirstin Garriss talked with doctors about a new study that makes a connection between the flu vaccine and your heart health.

The flu season is here and many people will roll up their sleeve to get a shot to protect them against influenza, but that shot may also help some people avoid a heart attack.

A Canadian study found people who did not get a flu vaccine were almost twice as likely to suffer a major cardiac event within a year, than people who were vaccinated.

"With some recent studies it's actually been shown that people who get the flu shot actually have a lower risk of having heart attack, strokes, especially people who have a history of coronary artery disease. So it kind of strengths our recommendation for people to get the flu shot," said Dr. Chris Vaccari, Cardiologist at Hagerstown Heart. 

The study also showed that patients with a recent history of heart disease had a 13 percent lower risk of another cardiac event when they got a flu shot.

"There are a lot of different studies on you know kind of unusual treatments for heart disease including antibiotics and things like that so it's clear there are some times affects of treatment outside of what we would normally think are the target for the vaccines," said Dr. Vaccari. 

And for years doctors said they've suspected a connection between inflammatory processes and heart disease.

"The link between inflammatory processes and heart disease is something that we don't completely understand yet but certainly there always does seem to be this link between people having some sort of viral infection then the subsequent development of a heart issues," said Dr. Vaccari. 

And doctors say people shouldn't take for granted the severity of the flu and recommend getting the vaccine, especially during this time of the year.

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