Annual Flu Vaccination is Critical for Adults with Heart Disease and Other Chronic Health Conditions

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Annual Flu Vaccination is Critical for Adults with Heart Disease and Other Chronic Health Conditions
In the US, one in four deaths is caused by heart disease, making it one of the leading causes of death. To help raise awareness about the importance of heart-healthy lifestyle choices, including annual influenza (flu) vaccination, American Heart Month is observed each February.
Flu is particularly dangerous for adults with heart disease and other chronic health conditions, including lung disease and diabetes, even when these conditions are well-managed. Weeks after initial infection, flu can cause an inflammatory reaction that can exacerbate underlying conditions, potentially leading to stroke, hospitalization, progressive disability, and even death.
In fact, more than 30 million US adults have heart disease and are at six times increased risk of heart attack within seven days of flu infection. Additionally, many of the underlying health conditions that place adults at greater risk for flu-related complications are also linked to increased vulnerability to COVID-19.
An annual flu vaccine is often overlooked as one of the most effective measures to prevent a cardiovascular event. A recent survey by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) found that nearly one in four US adults at high risk for flu-related complications said they did not plan to get vaccinated during the 2020-2021 flu season.
While flu vaccinations are typically administered in the fall, it is not too late to get an annual flu vaccine. In fact, flu activity often peaks between December and February, and seasonal activity can extend until April.
American Heart Month is the perfect time to help protect yourself and your loved ones with an annual flu vaccine, especially if you have heart disease or other chronic health conditions. If you have not yet received a flu vaccine this season, talk to a healthcare professional.
To learn more about the risks of flu and COVID-19 in adults with chronic health conditions, visit


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