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Heart Disease and the Flu

Flu season is now here! It is important that those at risk for complications from the flu get vaccinated, even this late in the flu season. Having heart disease puts you at risk for serious health complications if you get the flu.

Here's what you need to know if you have heart disease:

  • If you get the flu you are at increased risk of having a heart attack.
  • Get the flu vaccine. It is your best protection against the flu.
  • If you have heart disease you should get the flu shot, not the nasal spray.
  • If you have flu-like symptoms, contact your health care provider immediately.
  • In addition to following treatment recommendations from your health care provider, you should continue taking your prescription medications.
  • If you notice changes in your breathing contact your health care provider or go to an emergency room immediately.

Why does having heart disease put me at risk for getting the flu?

Heart disease can make your body too weak to fight off the flu. The flu can make your heart disease worse. If you contract the flu you are at increased risk of having a heart attack.

Heart disease also increases your risk of experiencing flu-related complications such as pneumonia.

How can I protect myself from getting the flu?

Getting the flu vaccine is the most effective way to prevent the flu. The nasal spray vaccine is not safe for people with heart disease. You should get a flu shot.

Because you are at an increased risk of getting pneumonia, talk to your health care provider about the pneumococcal vaccine. The pneumococcal vaccine will protect you against pneumonia. In addition to getting vaccinated, follow flu.gov's everyday steps to keep yourself healthy this flu season