Medical Center of Aurora - October 03, 2018

Still on the fence about getting a flu shot this year? Well, if the sore throat, fever, runny nose and chills aren’t enough to convince you, this might: getting the flu vaccine may also protect your heart.

An analysis of studies involving nearly 7,000 people found that participants who got the flu shot were 36 percent less likely to have a heart event, such as a heart attack or hospitalization, compared to those who didn’t get the vaccine. In those with a history of heart disease, the risk was 55 percent lower. And the risk of dying from heart disease was reduced 20 percent.

How the vaccine may protect your heart

When you come down with the flu, you typically feel aches and pains. These discomforts are actually caused by inflammation as your body fights the flu. Researchers believe that inflammation can trigger plaques in the arteries to erupt, leading to a heart attack or other cardiac event. By preventing the flu, the vaccine protects you from that harmful inflammation.  

So head on over to your nearest pharmacy and get your flu shot today. Protect yourself, your loved ones and your heart!

Already got your shot?

There are plenty of other surprising ways to lower your risk of heart disease:

  • Safeguard your smile. Research suggests there’s a link between flossing regularly and preventing heart disease. 
  • Try turmeric. This spice has been shown to help prevent arterial plaques from gaining a foothold in blood vessels. 
  • Use your vacation days. Getaways that offer stress-reducing downtime may help prevent heart disease.
  • Choose dark chocolate. Flavonoids found in chocolate with the highest cocoa content are thought to help protect against heart disease. 

 The Medical Center of Aurora is a leader in healthcare. To learn more about when to head to the hospital, click here.

This content originally appeared on Sharecare.com.